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Organic Alcohol Tincture - Ginger Moonshine
Moonshine ginger tincture - it's not generally what comes to mind when we think of medicine these days. More common images would be a bottle of pills or a container of commercial cough syrup. Likewise, when we think about moonshine, we're more likely to conjure up images of friends and campfires. However, in the early 1900's moonshine was just as commonly used as medicine as it was a social lubricant and a form of entertainment. In fact, alcohol tinctures were some of the best medicines available for treating common illnesses.
Alcohol tinctures have been used for generations "to cure what ails ya," as the saying goes. Mountain folk and doctors alike would mix ethyl alcohol (moonshine) with everything from tree bark to american ginseng, ginger, golden seal, honey, and even candy. Candy was used to flavor the alcohol to make it sweet, in the event that it needed to be given to a child to ease a cough. However, tinctures were most often made with native plants known for their medicinal properties. One of the most common tinctures was made with ginger and moonshine.
Wild american ginger is found as far north as Maine, as far South as Georgia, and all the way from the east coast to the great plains. It grows in the shade, beneath dense canopies of deciduous forests. Ginger leaves are shaped like hearts and its flowers are small, red cups, with three wispy tips. Early American settlers, and many other cultures before them (such as the Native Americans), used ginger as medicine, as well as a spice for foods. Settlers concentrated the potency of ginger's beneficial compounds by soaking it in high proof alcohol. Alcohol is able to dissolve substances which are less soluble in water. It also acts as a preservative.
The best kind of ginger and alcohol to use in tinctures is organic ginger and organic grain alcohol. Why? Well, if you're taking something because you're sick and you want to get better, it's best to leave out the pesticides, herbicides, and other junk that isn't going to help you feel better. And if you're going to use organic grain alcohol, you better plan on making your own because it'll currently run you more than $100 per gallon (http://bit.ly/Q9zNMJ) to buy!
Modern science has actually proven the validity of many of ginger's traditional medicinal uses. Ginger has been shown to exhibit antibacterial qualities - with the ability to treat staph infections, it is an aid for several types of nausea and digestive issues, and is also a natural anti-inflammatory and can be effectively used to help ease complications and pain associated with many diseases, such as osteoarthritis.
How to make it:
Slice organic ginger roots into quarter inch chunks and fill a glass jar 3/4 full. Top with 100 proof organic grain alcohol (non-organic will do if you can't get your hands on or make organic) and seal tightly. Leave it sit and mature for at least 6 months before using.