Herbal vinegars

sarah121
sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Making Herbal Medicine

Has anyone tried making herbal vinegars at home? If so what would be your top tips eg;

  1. Which are your favourite vinegars to try (red wine, apple cider, balsamic)
  2. Which herbs do you like to use for both flavour and health benefits?
  3. Do you have any tips around sterilisation, preservation, getting rid of the stench from the empty bottles!!!

I'm happy to share my recipes and would love to hear what's worked (or didn't work) for you!

The reason I'm asking is because I'm currently putting together a new workshop and am looking to discover what frustrations people have. If you were attending a workshop what would you expect to learn? What would you like to know about herbal vinegar making?!

Comments

  • Leslie Carl
    Leslie Carl Posts: 255 ✭✭✭✭

    I use celery to get rid of onion smell. Maybe it would get rid of the stenchy bottle smell too. I had a smelly bottle that I wanted to keep so I blended up a stalk of celery in some water and filled the bottle with it and let it sit for a day. When I washed it out, the smell was gone.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    If I am making a herbal vinegar that is primarily a medicinal vinegar then I will always use ACV. If it is to be used primarily as a food vinegar, then I will experiment with different vinegars. I like wine vinegars for infusing fruit for salad dressing. I make a saskatoon white wine vinegar that is super as a salad dressing base. Wine vinegar is nice if you are making a fruit shrub for a drink base (you could add herbs to your fruit shrub as well).

    As to which herbs to use. It depends on what you are using your vinegar for.

    Digestive vinegars are good to add to salad dressings so you get a digestive aid in your salad before dinner. Dandelion root, Fennel seed, Caraway seed, Burdock root, Turmeric root, Ginger root, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Oregano, Tarragon. etc. Or make Herbal Bitters using vinegar instead of alcohol; using Hops, Gentian root, Dandelion, Mugwort, Yarrow, etc. The combinations are endless. Mint sauce that so many people have with lamb or fresh peas is essentially a mint vinegar with a bit of sweetener. Peppermint is well known as a herbal treatment for digestion issues.

    If you want it to be used for colds & flus then a fire cider type of recipe is great. Or if you prefer, leave out the onions, garlic, etc. and just use herbs that have an affinity for respiratory issues, such as thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano, etc.

    An adaptogen vinegar can be made with any combination of Astragalus root, Tulsi, Rhodiaola root, Ginseng, Ashwaghanda, etc.

    Vinegar is really good at extracting minerals from certain plants. Horsetail vinegar is very good for the hair, both internally and used as a hair rinse and can help support healthy bones. Lamb's Quarters (aka Pigweed) is extremely high in calcium and Vitamin A. Nettle vinegar is high in minerals and will help with seasonal allergies and support for the adrenals. Evergreen needles are high in vitamins and rich in terpenes that are good for the respiratory tract.

    As to odours left in your jar. I have never had an issue getting rid of the smell in any kind of a glass jar or bottle. Wash really well in hot soapy water (maybe two washings). Rinse with boiling water (or if you want to really sterilize, boil the bottles in a canner for a few minutes). Air dry. Or you could try rinsing the washed jar with a bit of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @torey - You are another 'walking Encyclopedia' - Thank you both so much.

    EDIT: re "Vinegar is really good at extracting minerals from certain plants. Horsetail vinegar is very good for the hair, both internally and used as a hair rinse and can help support healthy bones. Lamb's Quarters (aka Pigweed) is extremely high in calcium and ..." - Can you point me to the Reference(s) that confirms these statements, please.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @rainbow

    Wow! You ask all the tricky questions.

    Vinegar has been used for centuries as a menstruum for herbal medicines.

    To start with you might want to try The Grow Network's Vinegar e-book. Page 117.

    Another vinegar e-book can be found at: https://thesandwichlife.typepad.com/files/herbal-vinegars.pdf

    If you want more information regarding vinegars in general you can try: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1750-3841.12434

    A good historical reference for herbal vinegars is: Acetic Acid as a Menstruum and Solvent by J. P. Remingtion in the American Journal of Pharmacy (1835-1907) (Mar 1897):121

    Herbal monographs on Horsetail can be found at: http://www.chaofbc.ca/monograph-horsetail-equisetum-spp/ or https://draxe.com/nutrition/horsetail/ or http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Horsetailherb.html?ts=1572191126&signature=5089680141f641f4b0749003aa589ed2 or http://iosrphr.org/papers/v7i2V1/D0702013142.pdfhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/equisetum

    The following book has good information on Horsetail and making a horsetail vinegar: Botanical Medicine for Women's Health, 2010 Aviva Romm (with several other authors including, Susun Weed, Simon Mills, David Winston, etc.) available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/equisetum

    A list of constituents of horsetail can be found at: http://www.swsbm.com/Constituents/Equisetum_arvense.txt

    A list of constituents for nettle can be found at: http://www.swsbm.com/Constituents/Urtica_dioica.txt

    A list of constituents for Lamb's Quarters it can be found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486584/

    A list of constituents for Evergreens can be found at the following sites: http://www.swsbm.com/Constituents/Pinus_strobus.txt and https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26849507_Chemical_composition_and_antifungal_activity_of_the_essential_oil_of_Douglas_fir_Pseudosuga_menziesii_Mirb_Franco_from_Serbia and https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2647905/

    Hope that helps with your research into medicinal vinegars.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Good morning @torey -- Well, this EXTENSIVE list is sure another ! boatload 🤩 of information as well. Thank you.

    However just glancing over it, it does not seem to contain the Specific answer to my question ? - Unless I am missing it somewhere ?

    My question to you re " Vinegar is really good at extracting minerals from certain plants. Horsetail vinegar is very good for the hair, both internally and used as a hair rinse and can help support healthy bones. Lamb's Quarters (aka Pigweed) is extremely high in calcium and ..." - Can you point me to the Reference(s) that confirm these statements, please."

    iow, I see most Herbal practitioners make General Claims, such as "HERBS are especially High in minerals". - Really? - Yes,

    ( I know many HERBS have L.O.N.G. Taproots w/ which they can PULL minerals UP from deeper in the earth )

    Particularly since Clinical Herbalists deal with chronically-sick Individuals & their families day in, & day out. - Handed their challenges, Please DO keep this in Mind: Plants can manufacture some vitamins and amino acids but they can NOT manufacture minerals. If any mineral is not in the soil where the plant is grown, it’s not in the plant no matter how good of a reputation that plant has for a particular mineral, if it’s not in the soil IT’S NOT IN THE PLANT ! - and NO amount of vinegar will be able to 'extract' what simply is NOT present.

    And mind you: NONE of this ^ SERIOUS Health Dilemma is anything new. Aux contraire, it has been SCIENTifically proven since at least 1936 :

    • Senate Document 264 of the 74th Congress, 2nd Session 1936 – View Full ReportView Conclusions
    • Medical Research Council (1940) (1-3) and M.A.F.F. (4,5) – View Reference These books provide statistics on the chemical composition of foods available to us as a nation between the period 1940 to 1991.

    For those of you who, like me, are more VISUAL, than kinesthetic, here:

    And as to the Nature of my questions: I ask Probing questions, Yes. Why? - To get to the 'essence' of a matter.

    For any LONG-life learner (including myself), asking Probing questions is Quite Appropriate.

    Hence, this Eminently-VITAL question: Please state the Reference(s) that confirm ... exactly what minerals & their amounts that Vinegars extract.

    Thank you.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @rainbow

    I'm sorry that you didn't find the references that you were looking for in the ones I listed. I thought I had provided sufficient evidence on the properties of vinegar as a solvent. The use of vinegar as a menstruum is taught at most herbal schools as part of the pharmacy modules and they usually research their information quite well. They generally teach the science of herbalism as well as traditional teachings and anecdotes. It has been part of my training as a Master Herbalist, with a number of different teachers using a variety of textbooks on the subject. Aviva Romm, author of the book Botanical Medicine for Women's Health, is a Medical Doctor as well as a herbalist so comes from a scientifically trained background. I don't think she would be making these "claims" about the use of horsetail vinegar unless they were substantiated.

    As to the chemical constituents of different plants, I believe I did give links to sites that give those constituents, three of which are recognised scientific journals. I agree that a plant can only contain the minerals it is able to extract from the soil it is growing in; so these constituent lists are general, for what would be optimal growing conditions. Everyone has to know the soil they are growing in. I happen to know that the soil in my area is very alkaline, containing high amounts of iron and copper salts but with a deficiency in selenium. So I would expect the plants to reflect that and it does; an analysis of range grasses in our area shows a deficiency of selenium in the feed.

    This has been a good learning experience. I doubt I will be offering any advice in the future on the subject of vinegar or probably any other herbal medicines. My apologies for any misunderstandings.

  • Jannajo
    Jannajo Posts: 173 ✭✭✭

    Vinegars (anything acidic) can add to de-mineralization of teeth and this is what happened to me...xylitol is from a bark of a tree which helps to coat the teeth and provide relief (to sensitivity)...gum also and mouthwash I use to help ....all w xylitol.My holistic dentist provided this info. i have no references, just some experience....using too much vinegar, really daily (on my air-fryer cooked potatoes).

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi again @torey You gave LOTS of references, for which I am thankful, & now say I missed the answer to my Specifc question. Supposing that is true, it would be me that may need to Apologize; but certainly not you. There is no need for you to apologize, at all. - I don't understand why you would even go there ?

    and re " I agree that a plant can only contain the minerals it is able to extract from the soil it is growing in; so these constituent lists are general, for what would be optimal growing conditions. Everyone has to know the soil they are growing in." - (my bold again, only for clarification)

    Actually this ^ relates Directly to another discussion I started in September: knowing own TEST values to stay healthy :) iow both the General public plus Herbal practitioners can not know What specific minerals... the SOIL(s) that grow their Herbs contain, & also Not know what ESSENTIAL-to-Health minerals people are missing, UNLESS & until they Test, would you Agree ?

    FACT: There is a direct correlation between the INcrease of chronic, degenerative diseases, & the loss of vital minerals & Trace minerals in our soils…

    iow

    that pretty-much planetary-wide Health Dilemma - all Master Herbalists, plus the rest of us are going to REVERSE how... ??

    As now for the past 100+ years proven, how are we All (the majority of humans on planet earth) going to Assure & ENSURE that our bodies are getting each of the 14+ Minerals absolutely necessary for Optimal health ? - We can NO longer ignore them, & hope this entire Disaster somehow goes away... when The FACTS prove otherwise.

    @torey Maybe you think I am silly ?, to continually ask whatever deeply-Probing questions, but I can assure you I only ask them because for us all I am deeply Concerned. How can anyone fault me for this ?

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi @2majomix - Re " Vinegars (anything acidic) can add to de-mineralization of teeth and this is what happened to me. "

    Are you saying that your Teeth were already de-mineralizing ? (as sadly the chronic reality of too many people), & then afterwards you added Vinegars (UNdiluted) to your diet, & so you got more cavities ? - Just asking to understand .

    Further, How did your Holistic dentist recommend ? or suggest ? that you can 🙂 Mineralize your teeth+body for life... the REAL question to answer. And Yes, there is an answer.

  • SuperC
    SuperC Posts: 951 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey thank you for sharing about vinegars. Pine needle evergreen, for respiratory. Can you soak them for how long in ACV before use?

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey your knowledge is a 'good learning experience' for all, I hope you continue to share with those who are interested in learning.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sarah121 -

    re our own Salad-dressings: The HERBs I know really well, because for decades I've been adding lots of fresh Parsley, & Chives, & Spearmint., & Cilantro. - However, for over a year now I've wanted to make our own dressing, but wondering what Vinegar & what Oil to use.

    You mentioned "red wine, apple cider, balsamic" Vinegars, all of which I love. But am not allowed to use Wine-anything, & supposedly the Balsamic is "too strong", & the ACV is "too acidic". - And I don't want to Dilute them, so for a year I have not known WHAT to do.

    Then there's the Oil = Olive oil is too strong for me; but I love Coconut oil, but the better Half does Not like it. I am stuck. lol

    Maybe you have some ideas ?

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    To @Merlin44 & @teachercaryn

    Thank you for your words of encouragement re sharing my knowledge.

    Evergreen needles would be infused in the vinegar for the same length of time as any other vinegar. 4-6 weeks. But test it after a couple of weeks to see how strong it is and if you like it at that stage. Evergreens can be quite overpowering for some. I really like Douglas Fir. Has a bit of a lemony scent. But experiment to see which ones you prefer.

    To @rainbow

    You seem to be very knowledgeable regarding mineral health. Awesome. So are many others trained in different modalities. Herbalists are trained to look for symptoms in a body that could indicate mineral deficiencies and clinical herbalists are trained to read blood work regarding mineral health. Holistic Nutritionists are well trained in mineral health and are able to make assessments based on symptoms. Naturopaths generally have access to medical testing and are able to diagnose mineral deficiencies quite easily. Mineral health is not neglected by other health care practitioners. Sometimes supplements or tissue salts are recommended or the recommendation might be given to see a specialist if it is a serious enough deficiency. Herbalists don’t generally suggest  just one single herb for a mineral deficiency, relying on just the mineral constituents of that particular herb. (There are a few exceptions to that and horsetail is one of them.)  To most practitioners mineral deficiency is only a part of the bigger picture in holistic terms. We are treating the whole package; body, mind and spirit.

    You are justified in your concern over worldwide soil depletion. I did not mean to indicate otherwise and do not think you are silly. All herbalists, and all gardeners for that matter, should have a knowledge of what soil conditions they are growing in. For some, this might mean taking your soil to a lab or government agency to have your soil tested but for some experienced growers, it is easy to “diagnose” soil conditions from the growth of the plants. Just as health care practitioners can see symptoms of mineral depletion in a body, gardeners can see symptoms in plants indicating mineral deficiency in the soil.  

    I wonder what you are recommending that people do to ensure that their food supply or herbal medicines have optimal levels of minerals and the other equally necessary constituents. I haven’t seen you offer any solutions to this issue. But just making people aware is an important first step. Personally, I take an active role in ensuring that my garden soil is in the best condition possible and most home gardeners and organic farmers in my small sphere of experience do the same; improving and replenishing on a constant basis. So I think you are literally “preaching to the choir” here. A good route for all of us might be to direct efforts at lobbying governments and big business (the Monsantos and CILs of the world) against the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, other pollutants and mono-cropping of large farms that are at the root of soil depletion.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @torey re your " A good route for all of us might be to direct efforts at lobbying... against... " - does that mean when Individuals chose+Choose to go a different route, it is Not a good route ? -- Might there be better route(s) ?

    re "You are justified in your concern over worldwide soil depletion." -- Truth be told, my concern is actually with people's Mineral status, & really improving this to where they can of a majority of 'chronic' conditions FREE self. And yes, this is a 'justifiable' & even noble concern.

    This I shortened as I know what happens, re "Herbalists are trained, and clinical herbalists are trained & Naturopaths are trained, or see a specialist. Mineral health is not neglected by other health care practitioners." - Where did I say any of these philosophies & m.o,'s are "not trained" ? -- And

    yes Agreed: "generally have access to medical testing" -- and see own mineral deficiencies quite easily. <-- It's generally easy for nearly any person to learn... about their own bio-chemical Individuality, & get Lab-tested, as Reputable labs tell people their own Mineral(s) status, so he/she can further heal, & Youthen accordingly. - One does not need degrees to gain such self-knowledge.

    re your "So I think you are literally “preaching to the choir” here. -- Apparently not, as 'shooting the messenger' (twice in this thread alone) a few see as far more fun/sport, than actually learning...

    re "You seem to be very knowledgeable regarding mineral health. Awesome." - As a Long-life learner, I continue gaining knowledge, & (not just in 'mineral health'), as well insight in countless other Fascinating endeavors & experiences. And my deepest joys were/are the precious Moments that generally take one's breath away, where people witnessed even if just glimpsed what for us humans is possible,.. - However even after all these, I still need to get my paralyzed Sweetie out of bed, & walking, so we can Share the ice together as sk8ers: one of our passions...

    re "optimal levels of minerals and the other equally necessary constituents. I haven’t seen you offer any solutions to this issue." -- During time here witnessed attentions riveted... on "soil, & gardening, & herb(s)" mostly. Even as during this time offered 1 word here or there, or a couple sentences, or rarely half a page; Related even started 2 discussions. 6/23, 7/19, 8/10, 9/27, 10/2, 10/5, 10/6, 10/9, 10/17, before at last offering in a current thread 10/25, & then here on 10/27 touching on what are solutions...

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @Leslie Carl thanks for the great celery tip! I'm going to give this a try!

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @torey wow! Thank you for this great information! I must admit to never having heard of a saskatoon, I have to look that up! And of course....I never thought of mint sauce as being a vinegar. I'm super glad I put this question out there as I'm learning so much! Herbal shrubs are a great thing to make and I'd like to experiment more with this topic.

    Here's a nice recipe I found online and tried out this week:

    I'm experimenting with a few other recipes as I'd like to make some gifts for Christmas.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @rainbow that sure is a quandary. I would have a try of the apple cider vinegar, as although it is thought of as acidic, it's effect is actually alkalising according to some traditions like ayurveda. I know this might sound a little topsy turvy, but you can compare it to lemon juice which tastes acidic but actually has an alkalising effect. This is known as the Vipak or post digestive effect as explained in more detail in the article below.

    At the end of the day whatever you eat has to sit well with you and taste delicious. Your body knows better than I can advise! Let me know if you solve the dilemma!

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @torey I hope you will continue to share your wealth of knowledge with us. I have gained a lot of value from your posts. From one herbalist to another, thank you for sharing.

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    Does anyone have the link for the Grow network vinegar eBook? I can't seem to find it on the site :)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @sarah121

    These are photos of saskatoons near my house. Also called Juneberries or Service Berries. Amelanchier alnifolia. There are nurseries in the UK that stock these. See Pershore Juneberries. There is a liqueur and a gin being made.


  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @rainbow

    I once again have to offer my apologies to you as I seem to keep offending you, which is definitely not my intent.

    I didn’t mean to indicate that lobbying the government was the only route to take or that other routes were not good ones. I certainly didn’t mean for anything to be interpreted as “shooting the messenger” as you say. I haven’t read any of your posts in the soil discussion, so if I have missed something, again my apologies.

    My only reasons for joining these discussion groups was to share some of my knowledge and learn what others had to offer. I certainly don’t want to create controversy or offend anyone or their beliefs or offend any other training modalities. But it seems that is what has happened. How unfortunate! 

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @torey I've learned a new plant! Thank you so much for sharing your delightful pictures. I shall certainly look this one up! (and also what a beautiful name - service berries!)

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    I have a copy of the e-book but it has a copyright statement saying not to share it in any form. So I contacted TNG and Nikki said she would enter the conversation. She also said you could contact her at [email protected]

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    @torey - Why do you always go negative, like I was 'offended' ?? -- when I merely replied to 7 of your statements. And Much more to the point since you asked me no questions, at all, does that mean you really don't Intend, or want to learn ? from what I have shared. - Have a Wonderful day, & Wonderful Autumn...

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @sarah121 - Yes, I know that both ACV & Lemonjuice are both Alkalizing once inside the body. - But what about in the mouth itself, before they are swallowed. - Can either, or both adversely affect the tooth Enamel ?

  • sarah121
    sarah121 Posts: 129 ✭✭✭

    @torey thank you so much for your kind help. I have contacted Nikki directly. Much appreciated.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @sarah121 You are welcome! Its a good resource for all things ACV.