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    • #7503
      Kristin ReedKristin

      I want to make a cottonwood bud tincture and I am wondering about alcohol proof. It is my understanding that resins are hydrophobic. I see that in your article on cottonwood buds that you recommend 151 for tincturing. Is there a reason 190 would be inappropriate, other than maybe taste? If resins are hydrophobic, in my mind it would be better to add the least amount of water as possible. Are there any water soluble constituents that we could capture from more water being involved in 151 proof?

      Follow-up question: If making an elixir, would 190 proof be too strong? I was wondering if honey adds water to the blend?

    • #7551
      Kristina marvinKristinajmarvin

      Hi Kristen 🙂 I hope you are doing well!! Any snow?

      when we learned about the glorious and beautiful cottonwood, I remember talking specifically about the alcohol. I know you want to use as high as possible to really break down the resins and pull out the medicines. I hope Heather or Suzanne jump in to explain the actual science as to WHY, I just know that because they are so amazing and really well hidden in their element, we need a higher proof to break them down and pull them out… 😀 I hope that helps…. I only made the oil, which was heavenly… but I do believe an elixir with 190 and honey would be heavenly 😀


    • #7556

      Hello ladies!

      I’ll jump in on this discussion. Resins need high alcohol content to dissolve. 151 is what I use.
      190 is fine – IF all you want is the resin. There are other constituents in cottonwood that are water soluble, such as the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory salicylates, hence using 151, which is 75% alcohol and 25% H2O.

      See this link for more constituents in the leaves, bark, resins.

      Click on the carrot to the left of each constituent to see their actions.


      • #7562
        Heather BrunoHeather Bruno

        Oh haha! I posted my long-winded response before I saw you had jumped on in the meantime!

    • #7561
      Heather BrunoHeather Bruno

      Great question and answer- I will just piggy back onto what Kristina wrote!
      Yes, resins are soluble in both alcohol and oil. Cottonwood also contains terpenes that are also extracted in oil and alcohol. Resins and most terpenes are not soluble in water. These constituents are highly antimicrobial and have a wealth of other properties as well-if we are looking for medicine to help with a sore throat, a non-productive cough, wound healing, cold sores…we want to choose a menstruum that will extract those.

      But there is even more medicine in the cottonwood than the resins! For instance, phenolic compounds including salicylates, such as salicin and populin, help reduce pain and decrease inflammation (among other things!). Flavonoids and tannins are also present and work synergistically with the salicylates and contribute to a broader mechanism of actions for pain and inflammation. Umm-they also have antimicrobial properties and can help with wound healing.

      Plants are just freaking amazing and this is a good example of how the medicine is not just in any one constituent! Solubility varies, but generally all phenols (tannins, flavonoids, salicylates, etc) are soluble in both water and alcohol (and honey). So if we are mainly concerned with pain relief you could quickly brew up some cottonwood tea and that would extract the salicylates and tannins, maybe some terpenes, but no resins. If you are looking for something to help with a cough or want to make an antimicrobial, healing salve then you want to extract those wonderful aromatic resins! Does that make sense?

      Ok all that just to say that you can use 190 or 151 proof alcohol and get the same results here! Sometimes it can be hard for people to get their hands on 190 proof, depending on where they live. 190 is ideal for resins but 151 really works just as well-anything over 75% alcohol for resins.

      @Suzanne “Queen Bee” Tabert is going to be doing an Herb Lab topic on tree resins-coming up in March. She might have something to add or correct here!

    • #7570
      Kristin ReedKristin

      Thank you for these responses! Very helpful indeed. This all makes perfect sense. I ended up going with 151. 🙂 I look forward to learning more about phytochemical compounds as my studies progress.

      In the end this is reminiscent of how I make myrrh tincture. The source I read a lot of recommended a menstruum that is a similar ratio of alcohol:water as the oleoresin:gum ration is in myrrh. He stated he believes it makes a more “holistic” tincture that harnesses the benefits of both the oleoresin and the gum of it.

      So basically if we use too high of alcohol that contains very little water, we can’t extract all of the water-soluble components of the plants. Correct?

    • #7618

      Correct, Kristin, that water soluble constituents need water for extraction in tinctures. 190 proof is far too high, 151 is marginal as it does contain 25% water. xxoo

    • #7619

      Correct, Kristin, that water soluble constituents need water for extraction in tinctures. 190 proof is far too high, 151 is marginal as it does contain 25% water. xxoo

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