Making Herbal Medicinal Tinctures – Skullcap for Anxiety and Sleep

skullcap herbI am taking a holistic nutrition course in herbal medicine at the moment that has inspired me to make my own medicinal tinctures at home using herbs and plants. As I learn, I find that I am developing an affinity towards certain herbs. One that has caught my attention is Skullcap.

Skullcap is a plant that has sedative and relaxing effects on the nervous system, making it one of the best “nervine tonics” for the relief of tension, nervousness, anxiety and depression. This gentle yet effective herb is beneficial for those with anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia. Skullcap contains scutellarin flavonoids, which are especially calming, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic volatile oils.

How to take it: Skullcap can be made into a tincture and used whenever needed, for sleep or for calming the nervous system. As a tincture, 1 tsp can be taken twice a day, or at bedtime to help with sleep. Skullcap can also be steeped in boiled water for 15 minutes as a medicinal tea (1 Tbsp of herb per cup of water).

Making your own tinctures is super easy and much cheaper than buying them. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A reliable source for purchasing herbs – Gaia Garden is fantastic with a massive selection of organic herbs

2. 40-50% vodka, or if you can get your hands on overproof alcohol – even better!

3. Glass mason jars and smaller tincture bottles, muslin/cheesecloth for straining

How to do make a tincture:

Fill a mason jar 1/3 – 1/2 full of dried herbs (if using fresh herbs, fill the jar to the top). Pour vodka in to fill the jar, stir and close tightly with lid. Shake daily for a week, and store away from sunlight. After 3-6 weeks, strain out the herb using cheesecloth and bottle your tincture. It will literally last forever. Don’t forget to label your bottles!

making skullcap tincture




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