View Full Version : Tincture of Beebalm

Dragon's Tail
09-06-2017, 08:22 PM
Beebalm, also known as horsemint, monarda, or bergamot, is a healing herb found in woody areas. Similar to jewel weed in the respect that it is useful for healing cuts and abraisions, and taking the sting and itching out of insect bits. I use it at my property for these purposes.

I gathered the leaves as the bumblebees collected pollen and butterflies drank nectar from the flower heads, a couple of months ago. The fresh leaves were packed immediately into a mason jar to about 1/4 full (when compressed). Regular grain alcohol was added, filling the jar to around 1/3, and the mixture was left to macerate, being shaken at least twice daily. The leaves spread again, filling most of the jar, so frequent agitation was necessary. The lid was blocked from the contents with plastic film.

It reached total darkness in a day, but I wanted to be sure of a ruby heart.

The leaves were separated by decanting off the fluid, and then crushed. They had become brittle, and smashing them up was pretty easy, even though I did it "damp." They were placed in a fresh jar and again soaked in fresh alcohol.

The first pouring over the last several weeks has revealed little floating sparkles when held in the right light, which look like glitter. I think these are tiny metal flakes, but not sure how they evolved, so it's only a theory. Either way. I want to keep them, so I'm not doing any paper filtering at this point.

Solution 2 was left to macerate for a couple weeks and never reached total darkness, so most of the soluble content has been extracted. The leaves were removed, dried for 2 days in open air, and pulverized into a finer powder, then added back to solution 2. Over the last 3 to 4 weeks, the solution is shaken once daily after checking the filtered powder at the bottom. The grain size is being reduced further on its own, as can be determined by a thicker layer of fine sediment over the coarser stuff.

Some more sediment settled in solution 1.

Today, both jars were gravity filtered again, and I collected as much as the leftover dry mass as possible. All of the alcohols were added together, almost 500mL worth of tincture, and stowed again in darkness. The mass will be dried of alcohol on an electric stove (don't do this over direct fire because vapors and shit). It will then be pulverized to the finest powder I can manage, and it will be added to the combined tincture again.

This will be left to macerate while I venture to my property to do some work on the future homestead. I plan to pull off the alcohol by distillation over low heat, then change collection vessels and turn up the heat, and dry the mass completely and begin a very gentle calcination. I'll change collection vessels again and try to collect the "dry water" of the plant (which will be mostly methanol, I suspect) by catching the dragon's breath, and piping any remaining vapors outside (I might even do the whole dry-distillation outside).

Extracting the sulfur will be done in the same method, but I'll probably catch it in the flask with the water and any tar. As I understand, these three things should not mix.

Not sure where I'm going from there yet, but the remaining earth should be all consolidated using this method, as the water and alcohol will leave behind a black tar when they dry out, skipping my previous step of getting that red "oil." I believe now that it was created through the cohabation process by dissolving partially destructed matter. This will be tested, and the final red oil should have less impurities in it.

I plan to update this post infrequently as the process goes on, with some pictures and such at the different stages. Hollandus talks about all of his purifications with heat, so I'll be contemplating the purification steps as I proceed. This isn't really an example of his process, but I've been seeing some correlation between his operations and my own as I read, so I'm paying pretty close attention to what he has to say.

Should be a fun project :)