This article on mother tincture or teinture–mère is part of a new series on alternative medicines and remedies that are used as a treatment or as a preventive measure against illness, to boost the immune system or as a complementary medicine. These alternative medicines are available in Europe but are also available in most countries and probably where you live too. There will be links on where to buy these products at the end of the article. For most of these links, I have no commercial ties to these soft medicines and receive no benefit from my suggestions. As with any articles I write, my disclaimer: please do not accept my health advice as a substitute for seeking medical treatment.
Ginseng and Echinacea: My First Experience Using Mother Tincture Remedy
A few years ago I went to my GP, (general family doctor) complaining about feeling tired. It was the end of November and the winter hadn’t even opened its eyes yet. But it had been weeks since I felt really energetic. The thought of going through the holiday season feeling worn-out was not something I was looking forward to.
My General Practitioner is a homeopath as well as a medical doctor and after examination, he handed me a prescription for two teinture–mère (in English this is mother tincture) for Ginseng and Echinacea. I went to the pharmacy and ordered the medicine, which had to be specifically made at the Boiron laboratory in town.
I was perplexed. I have heard of Ginseng and Echinacea, (and have taken these two herbs in pill and herbal tea form), but this clear liquid small bottle of mother tincture was a new way to take this herb.
What is a mother tincture? A mother tincture or teinture–mère is the base of a homeopathic remedy
A tincture is a medicine consisting of an extract of a substance diluted in an alcohol solution.
A mother tincture is an extract of a fresh, raw plant or herb (occasionally from dried plant) obtained by maceration of the plant or herb in alcohol and water.
A mother tincture is the first stage in the preparation of a homeopathic remedy dilution. It is the base of which further homeopathic dilutions are done. It the mother or base of a remedy. For extensive details on how mother tinctures are made see this extract from a homeopathic book here: “Mother Tinctures for Homeopathic Preparations” or from reading the rules on mother tinctures from the Father of Homeopathic medicine, Dr. Hahnemann. Or watch this video from Boiron laboratory –video 3 la teinture-mère here (audio is in French, but easy to follow images).
What is the difference between an herbal tincture and a mother tincture?
The main difference is the dilution in the alcohol solution.
The herbal tincture is more powerful because it and has more of the raw material in the tincture medicine compared to a mother tincture in which the mother substance is diluted more. (Note-homeopathic practitioners prefer to use mother tinctures rather than herbal tinctures because they do not think herbal tinctures are as safe as mother tinctures).
An herbal tincture has an alcohol ratio of one part to three or five parts alcohol.
A mother tincture has an alcohol ratio of one part to nine parts alcohol which in homeopathy medicine makes them a 1x potency.
Can I make my own herbal or mother tincture remedies?
Yes you can. Note that the raw material used as the tincture base must be (ideally) free of pesticides and be from a clean source.
Please read the precautions on using tincture remedies for treating illness below.
How do homeopathic mother tinctures work compared with typical homeopathic medicines?
Mother tinctures have a very fast action and the effect can be felt in a few minutes (read my experience with ginseng at the end of this article). These tinctures are well accepted by the body, especially with the digestion system (if taken correctly spaced separately from meals).
Typical homeopathic remedies have a slower action (not immediate).
They are used to spot ‘treat’ illness and symptoms and are not used long-term.
Typical homeopathic remedies are used on a longer-term basis and are prescribed for treating the body as a whole, not just for illness.
They have raw botanical properties and the herbs are perhaps more potent in their natural form.
Typical homeopathic remedies are highly diluted and the raw material from the mother tincture is not detected in its final state.
Use mother tinctures and herbal tinctures with precautions
Using a herbal and mother tinctures from chamomile to help induce sleep is a lighter dose of medicine (and less risk of side-effects), but there are botanical herbs and plants that can have a strong effect on the human body. This is why I recommend that mother tinctures are used with caution and ideally under the advice of a homeopathic practitioner.
- Seek advice from a homeopathic professional before using mother tincture remedies
- Do not overdose on the standard dosage. Usually mother tinctures are taken by prescribed number of drops and taking double dose (or more) is not recommended
- Do not self-medicate for curing strong or chronic illnesses by buying mother tinctures online. As mentioned, seek advice from a medical professional for illness that should be treated by a medical doctor (gallstones, heart problems, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.)
- Do not take mother tinctures over long-periods (typically the dose is for less than one month)
- Mother tinctures usually expire within a month after being opened and then discarded (unlike typical homeopathic remedies which have a much longer shelf life)
- Let your doctor know if you are taking mother tinctures before any surgical operation or other medical treatment, including discussion with your doctor about combining herbal or mother tinctures and taking pharmaceutical medicine
So did my Ginseng and Echinacea mother tinctures actually work?
I did use the Ginseng and Echinacea tinctures with the dose my doctor recommended. I will tell you that the ginseng mother tincture was strong, both really strong in taste (almost unbearable) and strong in its effects (felt it working tout de suite –immediately).
The Ginseng did help me to feel more energetic and the Echinacea seemed to protect against getting colds and flu that winter.
There are a lot of mother tinctures available, should I buy some?
In the precautions above, you can read my advice to seek a homeopathic practitioner for guidance on using mother tinctures as an alternative medicine treatment for various illnesses (especially if you have complex health issues).
But I believe that knowledge is key and it would be useful for you to take some time to read up on mother tinctures and explore the possibility of using this remedy on a lighter basis (in my case for example, I was just a bit tired and needed a pick-me-up).
Here are some books on using homeopathic mother tinctures:
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