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Tinctures & Tonics

Tinctures & Tonics are concentrated alcohol extracts of herbs. They are a convenient form of using herbs medicinally since the dose is usually measured in drops or can be mixed into a glass of water or juice. VitaScript extracts its own line of tinctures and tonics and works with health care providers in recommending specific herbal remedies as well as developing custom blended tonics. VitaScript also has pre-made tonic formulas such as our Allergy and Transition Tonics for common natural medicine needs. VitaScript can also compound alcohol-reduced or glycerin-based tinctures for children or clients who are sensitive to alcohol.
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Tinctures
A tincture is a singular liquid herbal extract in a concentrated solution made by extracting (pulling or "washing") the herb's chemical constituents out of the inert herb fiber (cellulose) with a solution of alcohol and water or glycerine and water. Tincture herbal extracts preserve the biological activity of the herb from which it is made for medicinal purposes.
  1. What is Ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha or winter cherry is the dried root of the plant Withania somnifera, which belongs to the pepper family. Found in India, Africa, and the Middle East, historically, it has been used as a rejuvenative tonic for malnourished people of all ages, male sexual dysfunction, tumors and inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and asthma.

    Modern research indicates it as an adaptogen or a natural substance that adjusts the body to decrease stress and increase resistance to stress. The activity of ashwagandha is believed to be from withanolides, compounds analogous to steroids and have similar action as the compounds found in other adaptogens such as gingko, ginseng and Echinacea. In addition to its stress reducing capabilities, aswagandha also inhibits inflammation, induces sleep and stimulates the immune system.

    Common use and forms of Ashwagandha:

    Ashwagandha can be used in children and adults to relieve stress and thus induce a more natural sleep. Ashwagandha works through the adrenal gland to normalize hormone levels in the body, thus decreasing stress and producing a relaxed body and mind. This can be greatly beneficial to children and adults who have difficulty sleeping due to increased stress.

    Ashwagandha can be used as a tincture or a capsule. For children, the doses are 1-15 drops of the tincture 1 hour before bed and repeat at bedtime. This allows the child to relax, sleep deeper and longer through the night by down regulating stress hormones of the adrenal glands. Effects can occur within one week of use of this herb.

    Adults may benefit from a commercial product, which has 4.5% of ashwagandha extract at 450 mg per capsule. Dosage ranges from 2-4 capsules per day.

    Precautions:

    • As with any herbal product or supplement, notify your health care providers while taking ashwagandh
    • Avoid during pregnancy
    • Large doses can cause drowsiness during the day
    • No known significant side effects of ashwagandha
    • Ashwagandha is safe for use in children

    References:

    Frawley D, Lad V. The Yoga of Herbs. Santa Fe, NM: Lotus Press, 1990.

    Linder, S. Withania somnifera. Australian Journal of Herbalism 1996; 8:78-82.

    McGuffin, M. et al. Botanical Safety Handbook. CRC Press LLC 1997, p. 124, 183.

    Upton, R. Ashwaganha Root: Analytical, Quality Control and Therapeutic Monograph. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, 2000.


  2. Chamomile is an age-old medicinal herb known in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Chamomile's popularity grew throughout the Middle Ages when people turned to it as a remedy for numerous medical complaints including asthma, colic, fevers ,inflammations, nausea, nervous complaints, children's ailments, skin diseases and cancer. As a popular remedy, it may be thought of as the European counterpart of the Chinese tonic Ginseng.

    The plant's healing properties come from its daisy-like flowers, which contain volatile oils (including bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin) as well as flavonoids (particularly a compound called apinegin) and other therapeutic substances.

    Health Benefits

    Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as ananti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses. Chamomile may be used internally or externally. Extensive scientific research over the past 20 years has confirmed many of the traditional uses for the plant and established pharmacological mechanisms for the plant's therapeutic activity, including antipeptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic,antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-allergenic activity.

    Recent and on-going research has identified chamomile's specific anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, anti-allergenic and sedative properties, validating its long-held reputation. This attention appears to have increased the popularity of the herb and nowadays Chamomile is included as a drug in the pharmacopoeia of 26 countries.



    References:

    www.herbwisdom.com

  3. Stinging Nettles are applicable whenever there are issues with mucus membranes---mucus production, inflammation, leakage, drainage, and swelling. Nettles help to tonify all mucus membranes, from the tip of your nose to the tip of your tail. Colds, flue, upper respiratory complaints, sinus congestion or drainage, histamine reactions, digestive issues, leaky gut, inflammatory issues of the bowel, constipation, diarrhea, urinary track infection, allergy condition (food based or air borne), chronic skin conditions, and mineral depletions. Nettles (leaf and root combinations) acts as an expectorant to thin and remove old mucus; it reduces histamine load by stabilizing the mask cells and preventing their rupture; reduces inflammation and congestion within any mucus membranes, and tends to normalize membrane permeability. Can be combined with Eyebright, Golden Rod, Mullein to treat colds, congestion, excess mucus, asthmatic or croupy conditions.

    References:

    The Review of Natural Products, Facts and Comparisons, 1997

    Herbal Medicine, Expanded Commission E Monographs, Blumenthal, Goldberg, Brinckmann, 2000

    Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, Simon Mills & Kerry Bone, 2000

    Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions, Francis Brinker. 1998

    Integrative Medicine Access, Professional Reference to Conditions, Herbs & Supplements, IMC, 1999

    Botanical Safety Handbook, American Herbal Products Association, McGuffin, Hobbs, Upton, Goldberg, 1997

    The New Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann, 1993

    Textbook of Natural Medicine, Pizzorno, Murray, 1999

    British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983

    ESCOP - European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy Monographs, 1997

Tonics
Tonics are combinations of singular herbal tinctures, allowing practitioners to blend together multiple herbs in a single formula that are specific for the client and their health concerns.
  1. The Allergy tonic contains a blend of stinging nettles, eyebright, goldenrod, elderberry (flower and berry) and lemon balm in a honey base, flavored with tangerine and orange essential oils. These herbs have traditionally been used for colds, flues, congestion, and allergies (air-borne and food based). It tonifies mucus membranes and acts as an expectorant, mobilizing old mucus. This reduces the likelihood of repeat infections from microorganisms embedded in the old mucus. The tonic also has anti-microbial properties, and acts as a mild diaphoretic (which brings fever to the surface) and diuretic (which eliminates water-soluble toxins). It can help reduce inflammation and swelling, and stabilize mast cells which reduces histamine load.

    Patients of any age may use this formula as long as the dose is modified appropriately. For infants, a dose is 5-30 drops; for children 6-12 years the dose is 1-2 dropperfuls; adult dose is 2-4 dropperfuls. Dose more frequently when symptoms are their worst, up to six times daily. Decrease dosing as symptoms improve. Most herbal concoctions are not “long acting”; frequent dosing over the long term is often more effective than larger doses during acute episodes. The tonic may be mixed with any foods or beverages.
    The Allergy Tonic contains the following:

    1) Urtica dioica (stinging nettles) – Astringing and tonifying, nettles also act as a diuretic, promoting the excretion of nitrogenous wastes. It is high in minerals and other nutrients and helps replace electrolytes when stressed. It is specifically used for sinus allergies.

    2) Euphrasia officinalis (eyebright) – Eyebright is a trusted remedy for mucus membranes because of its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally it was used specifically for acute or chronic eye inflammations.

    3) Solidago virgauria (golden rod) – Golden rod also has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucus membranes. It is used for the flu, urinary track inflammations, and respiratory infections.

    4) Sambucus nigra (elder) – Elder flowers and berries have a long history of use in the treatment of colds, flu, hay fever, and sinusitis. Combined they have diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal and diuretic properties.

    5) Melissa officinalis - (lemon balm) – Often referred to as the gladdening herb, lemon balm can lift the spirits and calm agitation. It has mild anti-viral properties and has long been a favorite remedy for childhood illnesses.
  2. The Allergy - Immune Tonic is a combination of the Allergy Tonic and the Fu Zeng Tonic.

    1) Urtica dioica (stinging nettles) – Astringing and tonifying, nettles also act as a diuretic, promoting the excretion of nitrogenous wastes. It is high in minerals and other nutrients and helps replace electrolytes when stressed. It is specifically used for sinus allergies.

    2) Euphrasia officinalis (eyebright) – Eyebright is a trusted remedy for mucus membranes because of its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally it was used specifically for acute or chronic eye inflammations.

    3) Solidago virgauria (golden rod) – Golden rod also has an anti-inflammatory effect on mucus membranes. It is used for the flu, urinary track inflammations, and respiratory infections.

    4) Sambucus nigra (elder) – Elder flowers and berries have a long history of use in the treatment of colds, flu, hay fever, and sinusitis. Combined they have diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal and diuretic properties.

    5) Melissa officinalis - (lemon balm) – Often referred to as the gladdening herb, lemon balm can lift the spirits and calm agitation. It has mild anti-viral properties and has long been a favorite remedy for childhood illnesses.

    6) Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus) - The polysaccharides in this plant are thought to be responsible for it’s deep immune building effects which include increasing the number of macrophages, enhancing T-cell transformation and increasing phagocytosis. Chinese medicine classifies it as a warm, sweet tonic which enhances the functions of the spleen and lung.

    7) Schizandra sinensis (Schizandra) - Studies have shown this plant to be a stimulant herb affecting the central nervous system thus enhancing energy levels and mental acuity. It also protects liver cells from fatty degeneration and enhances lymphocyte transformation. The Chinese regard it as a warm, astringent tonic affecting the kidneys and lungs.

    8) Ganoderma lucidium (Reishi) - This fungus, also known as the Reishi mushroom, has been long used as a immuno-supportive herb. Studies show it’s mechanism of action to involve an increase in T-cell and macrophage activity.

    9) Atractylodes macrocephala (Bai Zhu) - This herb has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver as well as enhancing phagocytic function of the white blood cells. The Chinese see it as a bitter warming tonic acting on the stomach and spleen.

    10) Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen) - The roots of this plant have been used as a substitute for the more expensive Ginseng but the two may be interchanged as their effects are very similar. They are both used to treat dampness and heat. Clinically they enhance the growth of red blood cells, T-cell formation and increase the level of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream.

    11) Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Licorice) - Licorice is a known anti-viral as well as an anti-bacterial agent. It is classified as a sweet chi (energy) tonic by the Chinese.
  3. Immuno-depression is a common problem in clients suffering from chronic disease or debility states. Whether this is due to the disease/debility state itself, drug treatments used to treat symptoms and/or a general decline in health, it is of great benefit to support the immune system with herbal remedies.
    When rebuilding general health and immunity, we tend to use a combination of Chinese tonic herbs which have been used for centuries to help balance and tone the body, and to protect it from external diseases. Although these herbs can be used singularly they are of most benefit when in balanced combinations addressing the needs of the different systems of the body. When seeing individuals, we tailor our herbal suggestions to their particular symptoms but also add Fu Zheng Therapy in their treatment plan.

    Fu Zheng Therapyis a form of traditional Chinese herbalism that literally means “to restore normalcy and balance to the body.” It does not specifically treat any infection or disease state but helps rebuilt the body’s resistance and innate strength so that it may more effectively contend with the manifestations of the disease.
    The following formula is based on herbs traditionally used in Fu Zheng Therapy:

    1) Astragalus membranaceus (Astragalus) - The polysaccharides in this plant are thought to be responsible for it’s deep immune building effects which include increasing the number of macrophages, enhancing T-cell transformation and increasing phagocytosis. Chinese medicine classifies it as a warm, sweet tonic which enhances the functions of the spleen and lung.

    2) Schizandra sinensis (Schizandra) - Studies have shown this plant to be a stimulant herb affecting the central nervous system thus enhancing energy levels and mental acuity. It also protects liver cells from fatty degeneration and enhances lymphocyte transformation. The Chinese regard it as a warm, astringent tonic affecting the kidneys and lungs.

    3) Ganoderma lucidium (Reishi) - This fungus, also known as the Reishi mushroom, has been long used as a immuno-supportive herb. Studies show it’s mechanism of action to involve an increase in T-cell and macrophage activity.

    4) Atractylodes macrocephala (Bai Zhu) - This herb has been shown to have a protective effect on the liver as well as enhancing phagocytic function of the white blood cells. The Chinese see it as a bitter warming tonic acting on the stomach and spleen.

    5) Codonopsis pilosula (Dang Shen) - The roots of this plant have been used as a substitute for the more expensive Ginseng but the two may be interchanged as their effects are very similar. They are both used to treat dampness and heat. Clinically they enhance the growth of red blood cells, T-cell formation and increase the level of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream.

    6) Glycyrrhiza uralensis (Licorice) - Licorice is a known anti-viral as well as an anti-bacterial agent. It is classified as a sweet chi (energy) tonic by the Chinese.
  4. Transition tonic is used for general management of menopausal symptoms. It is made up of eight different types of herbs to help manage symptoms such as hot flashes, water retention, irritability, and other symptoms associated with hormonal fluctuation.

    Generally, the recommended dose is 1 to 2 dropperfuls in water or hot tea twice daily. If symptoms are severe, the dose may be increased up to 6 droppers. Dosing may also be decreased when symptoms improve.

    The Transition Tonic contains eight different herbs:

    1) Vitexagnus-castus (Chaste Tree Berry) - Used to normalize progesterone and estrogen production by controlling the luteinizing hormone produced from the pituitary gland. Helps reduce hot flashes.

    2) Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam) - Reduces the effect of estrogen withdrawal. This saponin-containing herb was once the primary source for oral contraceptives. It is NOT estrogen or progesterone, however, it has progesteronic characteristics without being converted into progesterone in the body. Wild yam will help with symptoms such as vaginal dryness.

    3) Actaeracemosa (Black Cohosh) - Clinical studies have found that this herb is very effective in treating hot flushes. It also has beneficial effects on reducing cholesterol and peripheral artery disease.

    4) Senecio aureus (Life Root) - Useful in cases of menopausal disturbances of any kind. It eases hot flashes, and nervous or emotional upset.

    5) Leonurus cardiaca (Mother's Wort) - Has relaxing effect; it is especially useful in treating hot flashes associated with nervous tension.

    6) Hypericum perforatum (St. John's Wort) - Decreases anxiety and mood swings associated with menopause.

    7) Avenasativa (Oat Straw) - Used to treat insomnia, and nervous exhaustion.

    8) Salvia officinalis (Red Sage) - Used to improve skin, hair, and circulation. Since it has an anti-perspiring effect, it can also be used in women who suffer from night sweats during menopause.