Making your tinctures following the phases of the moon allows the powerful gravitational pull of the moon to draw out the properties in the plant and also adds a bit of ancient wisdom to your mixture. Just as the gravitational pull of the moon affects many things in nature and our lives, it’s thought that this very same phenomenon affects the strength of our tinctures. Although there is no scientific proof that the moon gives our tinctures a little something extra, herbal traditionalists have long believed in the power of the moon in regards to making plant medicine.
Herbalists of old knew how to plant, harvest, and preserve food and herbs, among other things, following the phases of the moon. For instance, seeds for above ground plants were planted with the new moon, as the lunar gravity pulls water up from the ground creating perfect conditions for a seed to sprout. As the moon grows the pull lessens; however, the moonlight is strong, which creates wonderful leaf growth. When the moon wanes after the full phase, the light decreases, putting more energy into roots, and that is when root crops were planted (Gardening by the moon, n.d.).
Traditionally, lunar tinctures are started on the New Moon or Dark Moon phase. This marks a time of new beginnings and is the perfect time to start your herbal brew. Beginning at the New Moon phase allows your tincture to infuse as the moon grows into a full moon.
Once your lunar tincture has finished macerating (or sitting for 2-6 weeks), it’s time to decant it.
It’s best to decant and bottle the tincture at the Full Moon phase, which is about 2 weeks from the New Moon. If you want to infuse your tincture longer, just bottle it on the next Full Moon, giving your tincture a 6 week maceration time. The New Moon and the Full Moon both have a 3-day cycle and you can infuse and bottle during those three days, which are the day before, the day of, and the day after each phase.
Making lunar tinctures is a fun way to attune with the natural cycles around us and honor the old traditions!
Here is one of my favorite lunar tinctures to make following the phases of the moon.
Simply take this wonderfully calming tincture before bed to encourage a restful sleep and peaceful, but vivid, dreams. Feel free to make this tincture with freshly wilted or dried herbs—preferably organic.
Place 30 to 40 drops in a cup of your favorite nighttime brew, glass of water, or juice. Sleep well!