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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » How I make herbal tinctures for the Buhner protocols

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Author Topic: How I make herbal tinctures for the Buhner protocols
LymeNet Contributor
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I have treated myself successfully with the Buhner herbal protocols for lyme and babesia and am currently treating for Mycoplasma pneumonia.

I make my own tinctures which is a fraction of the price and I know what has gone into them. Some of the protocols are for a year and I did not want to go a year and wonder whether a protocol may have failed because I used ineffective tinctures.

Here is how I do it:
How I make the tinctures:

I’ve tried the vodka and brandy approach and have found that they are inferior to 190 proof alcohol combined with distilled water. Usually the best proportion of water to alcohol is about half alcohol and half distilled water.

The Stephen Buhner books tell the optimal alcohol/ water ratio for the herbs he recommends. I also use “Making Plant Medicine” as a reference for the same. I’ve tried Everclear and do not like it. I’m sure they use chemicals and it shows. I use 190 proof organic grape alcohol that I get from in Oregon. I buy it by 5 gallons to cut down on price but it is very expensive. Regardless, the final product is a fraction of what it would cost to buy tinctures already made. That same business has other cheaper organic alcohols that would probably work just fine but I have not tried them.

I buy the herbs I need mostly from but also from,, and I usually get them pretty whole and grind them in my Vitamix dry grains container for maximum freshness. Powdered or fine herbs could be used to eliminate the need to grind.

I put the herb, usually 4 ounces, into a quart canning jar. Then I add alcohol and distilled water, tightly put on a canning lid, and shake. I then put the jars in the basement in the dark and shake them every day. As the liquid is absorbed and the fluid level in the jar goes down, you may need to add more liquid in same as original proportions. This generally happens within 3 days. If I’m in a hurry, I macerate the herbs for two weeks before filtering but usually I macerate them for six weeks. It’s important to label the jar with name of herb and date. You will forget.

After 6 weeks, I separate the herb from the fluid using a filter that I made. I made my filter by using a quart plastic yoghurt container. Into it I sat a pint plastic cottage cheese container, the bottom into which I had drilled drain holes (about 27 holes of 3/16th diameter).

Next I nest an unbleached coffee filter into the pint container. I pour the raw tincture into the pint container and wait for the fluid to filter out. Then I put the filtered fluid into a separate jar but keep the herb. There are good minerals and substances remaining in the soaked herbs.

To capture all the essence I can, I squeeze the strained herbs with an Oxo potato ricer that has in its bottom a circular, unbleached muslin cloth that I cut out for the task of covering the ricer holes. After squeezing out the fluid, discard the solid herb. I may do a second filtering, as needed, putting the tincture fluid, including the squeezed fluid, through my coffee filter to eliminate more of the residue as needed.

The filtered fluid will likely still contain some residue. So after, I let the herbs sit for awhile to allow the residue to sink to the bottom, then I pour the upper clear fluid into a separate jar and put the rest, which still has some residue, into a smaller container. I let that settle again and keep the clear part, repeating as long as separation is viable. Eventually I dump the now very small amount of liquid containing the residue out. I’m not sure that getting rid of the residue is necessary but I prefer it and it does help with cleaning the amber bottles for reuse.

It’s important to protect the tincture from light so I generally use pint amber bottles:

About buying 190 proof alcohol: Washington state and in Oregon both require a liquor license permit to purchase 190 proof alcohol.
I obtain a permit from the state when I am low on the alcohol and I email it to as required before the purchase. The license is good for a year. I presume does not require a license from a state where one is not required.

The reason I give to my state's liquor licensing people to justify my need for the alcohol is that I am experimenting with a new product. This is in keeping with a website that I have featuring chocolate. The fee for the license in my state is only $5.

I've figured that, even with the expensive alcohol that I buy, the cost is about 1/4 what it would be if I purchased the tinctures online and I do know that what is in mine and that it is of a very high quality.

Good luck everyone.

[ 07-19-2019, 12:03 AM: Message edited by: lymenotlite ]

Posts: 624 | From Spokane, WA | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Please break up your posts into 2-3 sentence paragraphs, as there are people on Lymenet who cannot read large blocks of text due to neurological problems from Lyme.

To do this, click the "Edit Post" button above your post to the right, make your changes, then click "Edit Post" at the bottom. Thanks.

Posts: 8627 | From Illinois | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Thanks for sharing!

Opinions, not medical advice!

Posts: 94088 | From Texas | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Awesome post Lymenotlite! Any update on the mycoplasma/pnuemonia progress with the protocol? I have read the Buhner books and experimented here and there with tinctures and some bulk powder herbs that I converted in capsules. Ive never gone full throttle with the protocol due to cost/complexity mainly but I wish to look more closely at this option to really go after things.

Also - any issues taking that much alcohol per day. You are easily taking .5 teaspoons 3x daily of many tinctures. Seems like the amount of alcohol starts to add up.

Additionally - it looks like the 200 proof organic corn alcohol from the supplier you mentioned is about $290 for 5 gallons vs over $500 for the grape alcohol (which might smell better but these herbs taste nasty no matter how you slice it!)

I am planning on doing a deep dive with the protocol to support a wide array of co-infections with a primary focus of trying to stop painful arthritis and joint destruction in tracks .

Posts: 64 | From minneapolis, san francisco | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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There's no question that I've had great improvement but I still have some brain symptoms, although much lessened. I continue to take one dose every day or two, rather than 3x a day, until the symptoms are completely gone.

The alcohol really is very little and has never been an issue. The herbs are strong on this protocol in particular and I'm feeling better just reducing the dose. My brain is functioning much better.

I recently was able to get rid of a long-term sinus infection and that was draining me.

The price of the alcohol for me in WA state after taxes was more like $670.

Posts: 624 | From Spokane, WA | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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This is incredible what you have done!! I would love to switch over to an herbal protocol. The problem for me is that my brain is reeling just looking at this.

I have all of the books. I dream of just doing herbs because I hate taking all of these antibiotics. I can't afford my LLNP AND all of the herbal tinctures I would need.

I would love to make them but I feel like crap! I'm going to have to think on this. Maybe my hubby could help me.

Lymenotlite, do you feel that you are fully functioning on just the herbs??

Thank you for sharing how to make the herbs!! I'm so impressed by this.

symptoms since 1993 that I can remember. 9/2018 diagnosed with Borellia, Babesia Duncani, and Bartonella Hensalae thru DNA Connections.

Posts: 1466 | From Tennessee | Registered: Dec 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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That sounds very rewarding. I do similar but now grow or collect most of the herbs I use, which usually puts me back into the land of what got me here (ticks).

It is helpful to drop the pH of your solution for the majority of herbs to get a better extraction. Many of the compounds we are after are soluble in acidic conditions. A few ounces of vinegar is usually enough to do it, a little more if you are doing .5 or 1 gallon batches.

Sometimes I will sonicate some of the tougher ones like knotweed which really helps to move the extraction along.

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kidsgotlyme, in Buhner's book Herbal Antibiotics, he states that he no longer makes tinctures for himself because he has gotten extremely lazy. He just uses powedered herbs, mixes them together and drinks them with juice. You could try that.

I'm thinking of going that route myself. Can't use alcohol because my esophagus is so raw from acid reflux. Have been using glycerin, but getting lazy too.

Herbal Treatments for Lyme and Co-Infections:

Posts: 1335 | From Midwest | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I finished the M. pneumonia protocol about a month ago. I went an extra month, so 13 months, because I was still experiencing brain stuff. The week I stopped everything I had a bad gut problem. Maybe my gut got used to the antimicrobials.

So I changed my diet - no sugar and kim chi, etc. The brain stuff seems mostly gone. I'm still tired but things have been clearing up nicely and I'm feeling optimistic. That was my third Buhner protocol - babesia, lyme, and M. pneumonia. They have all worked although I will be keeping my eye on the one I just completed for awhile.

My making of the tinctures was probably more a measure of my desperation then anything else.

My understanding is that glycerine is not as effective as alcohol so my reason for using alcohol instead.

Buhner has a green drink and an energy drink where you use powders. I'm using the green drink right now and I think he used 1/4 cup but that was too much for me so I use the tip of a teaspoon. Hard for me to drink it because of so much powder.

The Buhner lyme formulas use 8-9 different herbs so the bulk of them might be too much to ingest regularly.

Posts: 624 | From Spokane, WA | Registered: Jul 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I would use the alcohol, but my esophagus can't take it,, so the glycerin.

Yeah, to do the protocol with powder, you either tolerate the bitter taste, or use juice.

But however anyone choices to do it, it is best to start with one herb at a time and see how it affects you.

I have really bad reactions to cordyceps, sida, alchornea and andrographis. Haven't tried criptolypsis (sp?)

Formula herbals which most LLMDs use are so hard for me, because many times there is an herb that I can't tolerate and hard to determine which one in a formula.

I seem to have a lot of allergies to these things.

But I love Buhner's approach and will try to use as many of his herbs as I can tolerate.

Lymenotlite, thanks so much for sharing how you tincture the buhner herbs and the sources for the herbs. That will help so many people.

So glad you are doing better.

Herbal Treatments for Lyme and Co-Infections:

Posts: 1335 | From Midwest | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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