On this post I wanted to share my personal opinion, experience and history about tinctures, including a bit about cleansing. I feel it is important to be educated from professionals as a primary basis, and to additionally get the viewpoint of someone who has experience. So if you are thinking about seeing a Naturopathic M.D. or similar professional, hopefully you will have at least an idea of the process, tinctures in general and come prepared for your appointment.
I have been on a Lymphatic tincture that my NMD prescribed. I purchased it at the Scottsdale, AZ college campus medicinary. They have their own non-profit store that carries all kinds of usually prescribed or doctors grade, if you will, herbs, vitamins, probiotics, protein powders, homeopathic remedies and the list goes on. Here they also mix the tinctures doctors prescribe for patients. You do not have to be a patient at the campus clinic to purchase from the Medicinary but according to their website if you are, you get a discount as well as seniors that are 65 years or older. I am including the link for more information, if you are interested in this place or just are curious about what it looks like here is the link: http://medcenter.scnm.edu/services/medicinary/
I find the prices fair and sometimes a little cheaper than the doctor’s offices or the professional specialized websites. The reason I am posting about a specific place in Arizona, is so you all can see what this type of place can look like. If you imagined a voo-doo, witch-craft type place filled with pentagrams and eye of newt, you will be heavily disappointed. The link will end that thought. It is a very professional store, similar to a college pharmacy or apothecary(yes these exist), with a professional staff in white lab coats. They have a ton of professional grade vitamins, chinese medicine, protein powders, a refrigerated drink section with Naked juices and probiotics, and I think even they have some cookbooks.
So what is a tincture?
Well the short answer is a liquid to be taken usually orally and sometimes topically, composed of an herb extract, or mixture of herbs, primarily in a base of grain alcohol. I have read it can be made in different bases and if you have food allergies or food sensitivities, you should ask both your doctor AND especially whoever is mixing your tincture before you purchase it. Notice how I wrote AND in bold, your doctor may not know so always double and triple check if this is a concern for you.
What do tinctures look like and how do you store it?
Mine have always come in a dark brown glass bottle with a glass dropper and a rubber type of top. It is light and heat sensitive so keep it in a cool, dry, dark place. Think of these as a prescribed medicine and treat it as such. The liquid reminds me of iodine and it has dyed things, so be careful not to spill it on anything. I spilled a significant amount on our vinyl floor, and I am lucky that the color somewhat matches our patterned floor.
When taking my tinctures, I was told to shake them and tap the bottom of the glass bottles about 10 times before opening and administering. This mixes the solution right before drawing the dropper to help ensure an evenly distributed liquid and correct dosing.
Now I have read how people try to make their own. You wouldn’t try to make your own antibiotics or just start mixing stuff at home, would you? Actually I am sure some people do, there is always those few. But let’s hope not, so make sure you are under the guidance of a doctor who specializes in the physical state you need and knows what you should and should not have.
Why do I need a Health Care Professional?
They are there to make sure you are not only getting what you need, but also letting you know of any possible side effects, interactions with other medicine or vitamins you are taking, and warnings for example to stay out of sunlight. This is one example where I found out the hard way. Remember to ask your doctor and the pharmacist both about interactions, sunlight exposure, pregnancy (if applicable), etc. before taking.
What kinds of Tinctures are there?
If I were a betting kind of gal, I would say you could probably find just about any claim on these with numerous applications. That is why you need a licensed professional helping you find and prescribe the correct mixture specified for your needs. You can find anything from ones to cleanse your organs, to aiding in pregnancy, topical applications incl. antiseptics, hair regrowth, and the list extends to what seems like infinity.
How long have Tinctures been around?
I have found websites saying the 1400’s and others stating the 1200’s but either way hundreds if not thousands of years. I have read the Chinese used tinctures and many of their practices date back some 4000 years ago. Remember seeing any old westerns and they had “medicine men” selling their all powerful tinctures or tonics? I love old movies, what can I say? So you know you have heard of it or seen them mentioned somewhere, and maybe now you are ready to listen.
Have I personally benefitted from any tinctures?
Yes. I absolutely believe I have benefitted from more than one type of tincture. I have taken multiple cleansing tinctures, including ones for lymph and liver. There is a notable reduction in my food sensitivity reactions after I begin a tincture regimen. Everyone is different and will have different needs and reactions both in terms of time and type of reaction.
How do I feel when I personally take a tincture?
Well this varies on how sick my body is at the time, along with what the tincture is for, and good I am with food restrictions. Generally, I feel like I am going through a cleanse in the beginning and the symptoms subside with time and exposure. I have felt dizzy, nauseated, lethargic, loss of appetite, headaches and such. This tends to reduce with time. I have even broken out quite a few times with varying degrees of what appears to be acne. This “acne” has varied in degree and appearance, and is a reaction. Sometimes it is a good reaction, meaning there is a shift in your body and stuff is getting cleared out, and sometimes it is a bad reaction and can be from an allergic reaction, sun exposure, or complications. So be sure to share this type of response with your healthcare professional.
Eventually I feel energetic, I can think clearer and my food sensitivities significantly decrease to minimal reactions …which I love! Of course, over time, the more you expose yourself to the bad things like fast foods, allergens, emotional distress, or generally unhealthy lifestyle, your body becomes sick again.
Why do I take tinctures, and couldn’t I just do a cleanse or restrictive diet?
Well there are a couple main reasons I take tinctures.
Health-Primarily they are prescribed to me because my body, despite cleansing, is not working properly. It is a mystery as to why, I just know that I cannot do it on my own, even with eating well and juicing. If all of our bodies were working properly, we wouldn’t be sick and we wouldn’t have food allergies or food sensitivities along with endless other health issues that are much more severe. If doctors knew why this happened we wouldn’t be suffering like we do. It could be that my liver and/or lymph system is strained and needs help releasing the toxins stored in my body. It could be many other reasons as well. When I go through the symptoms phase, I try to remind myself-whatever I am feeling now, will get better. The reason I am feeling crappy is that something is wrong and I have to get it out. I am not saying I am perfect, just human.
Weight loss-Sometimes no matter what I do, I cannot lose weight and I start to swell from retaining so much water. I have lost up to 20 lbs. of water retention from doing a cleansing tincture. I know it is water, because I just keep urinating and the weight just falls off. After completing a tincture program, I have noticed that it is much easier to lose the fat, weight on my own.
Cleansing with or without a tincture-Another reason I like to schedule a cleanse and/or tincture is to boost my health before I go on vacation. I use it to help minimize my food sensitivities and get my immune system up and running well, in preparation. Of course this can depend on duration and type of tincture and/or cleanse program.
So now you have seen my reasoning and a little insider information, what is your story? Please share your story or opinion under the comments section to be posted for everyone.