A couple of weeks ago I mentioned harvesting Echinacea seeds…What I didn’t mention was that I also harvested some Echinacea roots to try my hand at my very first Echinacea Tincture!
As mentioned in the seed post, our Echinacea is in its third year and did absolutely amazingly last summer! In addition to being full and beautiful, though, once your Echinacea is at least three years old, it becomes established enough to begin harvesting some of the roots for medicinal purposes.
So, using a garden fork, I chose one of the larger plants and gently lifted the roots out of the soil. Well, I guess “gentle” might not be the best word because those roots were hanging on tight to their soil! So, I should say, I was a gentle as possible while yanking some roots up out of the ground. Once up, I gently shook off as much soil as possible back into the bed and filled in the hole that was left by the absent plant.
Now, you can choose to either harvest a few roots and then place the disturbed plant back in the soil or you can simply sacrifice the whole plant and harvest all of its roots at once. I chose the latter, because 1) I had to yank the thing out of the ground and 2) there is plenty of Echinacea in that bed, so I’m not worried about it filling back in.
Once I had my root ball in hand, I brought it inside and gently washed the remaining dirt from the roots and, using kitchen shears, cut the roots in to small pieces (maybe 1/4 inch) and placed them into a quart sized jar (the roots filled the jar up about 1/4 of the way). I then poured 80 Proof Vodka over the roots to fill the jar, shook it and placed it on a shelf in our pantry.
Once in the pantry, all I had to do was to remember to shake it regularly! After only two weeks it’s gone from a jar of roots and vodka to an actual tincture (as you can see in the last photo and the cover photo above)!
I will let the roots steep for another couple of weeks before filtering the tincture, but it already looks like an incredible tincture, so I’m sure it’ll help us (and our friends and family) get through cold and flu season as often as needed!
Now, if you don’t have Echinacea growing in your yard or don’t want to go through the trouble of digging up the roots yourself? No worries! You can get Organic Echinacea Root here 🙂 However, I highly recommend growing your own Echinacea, even if it’s only for it’s beauty! So, because we harvested so many seeds, the first…hmmm…let’s say…20 people to respond to this post with a comment and their email address will receive some of our seeds in the mail! Yep, I will happily mail away 20 packets of seeds to help spread the perennial beauty! Don’t feel comfortable leaving your email in the comments? Just leave me a comment here, then email me directly at evergrowingfarm (at) gmail (dot) com. I’ll be in touch with everyone directly and then send all of the seeds out before the end of the year.
EDIT: As of 11/30/13 we have reached our 20 requests for seeds! I am so excited about all of the interest in growing echinacea! So, if still interested in seeds, please leave a comment below and, after sending out the first round of seeds, I will assess how many seeds we have left and send out additional seeds on a first come, first serve basis. I will do my best to accommodate everyone, but won’t know how many we have left until the first round is sent out, so I will thank you in advance for your patience and understanding!