Thursday, August 21, 2008
Making Rose Glycerite
Bless your heart ... with Rose glycerite!
A glycerite is an herbal tincture that uses glycerine for the menstruum. A menstuum is the solvent used in herbal tincture making. Plant material (dried or fresh, depending) is soaked in the menstruum for about 6 weeks, allowing the flavor, medicine, and blessed goodness to be extracted from the plant. After six weeks the plants material is strained out using cheese cloth and the liquid medicine remains. In this case the liquid menstruum used is glycerine, but vinegar or alcohol may also be used. Glycerine may be purchased at your local health food store - ask them.
I use a Rose glycerite, not for a medicine for the physical body, but for a yummy, spirit lifting treat. The glycerine itself is sweet and slightly warming. The rose flavor is intense and transports you to the rose garden on a sunny day in June - even when you are tasting it on the seventh day of a snow storm in February when the kids have been at home sick for two weeks and the dishwasher just broke. Yup, it's that good.
I made this Rose Glycerite when we were on vacation on the coast of Maine earlier this summer. (Yes, I do bring a bottle of glycerine on vacation with me). I picked the petals of the Rosa rugosa flowers and stuffed them in this clean, dry (olive) jar. Then I poured glycerine over the petals and stuck a knife into the jar to dispel the air bubbles. I let it sit six weeks and now it is ready to be strained. I'll take it by the dropperful and give its magic medicine to cranky kids (and husband).
If you can't see yourself making this, you can buy it too. I first tasted Rose glycerite made by herbalist Deb Soule from Maine. She makes it and sells it (along with lots of other wonderful products - she is my favorite source for high quality herbal products that have been made with loving intention) from her business Avena Botanicals. Deb says (on Avena Botanicals web site), "Roses are exceptionally helpful for uplifting the spirit, opening the heart, calming the nerves, relieving insomnia and mild depression, dispelling mental and physical fatigue, and soothing irritability associated with PMS, post-partum stress, or menopause." Well, that's good enough for me.