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 :)

Dragon's Tail
11-03-2017, 01:03 AM
Well. I'm going to pass on the dry distillation for now. Maybe on a future project. I've been fiddling with an idea in my head about the sediments that drop out of spagyrics when the salts are added back and the solution is left to sit. One of my older ones has stained the glass red, and that was after being filtered.

I want to see how far this process can go. I'm pretty certain that the second sediment can be calcined to an ash. When dried off it looks like a light colored clay-dirt. I tinctured the beebalm as far as it will tincture, and the last alcohol soak rendered a clear green liquid, so I'm pretty sure this material is as spent as it will get with alcohol. I'm keeping the clearer extraction separate, mainly for burning fuel.

The dried mass burned with almost no smoke until it began smoldering, and still didn't make very much. It's cooling now, and it will be powdered and added to the tincture after bottling two ounces up for personal use. Bee balm is incredibly calming, even in small doses. I took 6 drops last night with drink, and it was almost an instant medetative state. When I turned in a couple hours later I fell straight asleep. Worth more investigations, and I might use it for meditations.

I'm not going to calcine to white, just add the ashes back with the carbon and likely some unburned plant material. Enough salts should leech out to release the amino acids and such from the tincture, and my plan is to again separate, incinerate, and recombine, with more thorough calinations at each step. I'm wondering how far I can take this proceedure and what the results will be. And I haven't been able to find any reading about anyone else doing it, so why not? Once I'm convinced that it's gone as far as it will go, then I may separate and leech the final ashes, but that will be a while yet.

Anyway, just an update. There's nothing really to see, so I'm not taking any pictures.

Dragon's Tail
11-24-2017, 06:11 PM
Here I am again with an update. The "simple" spagyric was macerated with the ashes, separated, calcined, and recombined twice more, under more and more heat. The usual red precipitate hasn't shown up, and at this point, I really don't care. I've come to a new understanding that a spagyric medicine should be concentrated. This can only be done by removing the solvent. The final calcined ashes have not been leeched at all, which also deserves pointing out. If your wish is to use the gum as your medicine, then leech and purify the ashes in the traditional way, as I don't think the calcium carbonate is going to help (might add a little antacid effect to your medicine though if you leave it in).

Two days ago, I started separation of the solvent. This process should not be rushed. If your liqour smells burnt, then you gave it too much heat, and you will resolve a tar instead of a gum. For a basic spagyric, I don't think it will ruin it completely, but it will make it taste like crap. To speed up the process which is carried out at low temp, the flask can be turned, or a simpler retort can be used. My temps are running very close to the boiling point, and I occasionally saw some simmering, but you don't want to bring the fluid to a boil.

The initial tincture was around 350-400mL (really wish I would have noted the amount now, looking back) and 200mL were distilled off so far. A thin layer of oil can be seen swimming on top at this point. For the simple, there are numerous ways to dry the gum, but remember, we are separating the solvent, not "cooking" the material.

My new understanding is that the tincture is simply an extract. I think the purpose of the initial spagyric serves one of two means. 1. Resolve the extract into a concentrated gum (which I've read is dry enough to be stored safely in a closed vessel for a year or more, it's rather like the same method bees use to preserve honey), or 2. This is the prima materia for making the magistry of the plant. This gum contains the salt, sulfur, and mercury of the herb (the mercury part is still speculation). This is our true starting material, not the raw plant. It is confected by spagyrics and must be rectified careful.

Thus, I will not be drying this beebalm extract entirely. The next step of my process involves a water tincture of the gum, or "the water" tincture once I perfect my water making process. Since I removed 200mL of liquor, I added 200mL of water to replace it, and again it is on a mild heat with a tilted setup to remove the rest of the liquor. This liquor is saved, as we will need it later in the process. Once you notice beads of water in the neck of the retort, then the liquor has been sufficiently removed.

The water is allowing 2 things, Number one, "Drying" the solvent without burning the material, and number 2, beginning the extraction of the oil by mixing it into a hyrdrosol. I have a feeling that my special water will work better at this stage, but that's too much of a process for this thread, so regular, plain ole distilled water is being used as the extraction medium. With the digestive heat and removal of the Eth, I'm also looking for a color change in the new "tincture." If things go well, it should change from green muck to a yellow fluid, and the black earth should drop to the bottom, but we'll see.

Dragon's Tail
11-25-2017, 11:24 PM
The water of beebalm started coming over today. It's either purple or pink, hard to tell at this point as it's still thin. The water will need to be rectified several times to concentrate it. but this was picture worthy I thought.


So, with juniper I got a cloudy white water, with mullein it was clear yellow, and so far this appears to be clear pink/purple (to be determined) As I continue working with more herbs and plants, maybe I can figure out some identification system for this. So far the smaller plants are mimicking their flower color. I suspect that the milky white is common to evergreens, but it will take me a long time to sort all of this out. Anyone else mess around with collecting this water from their spagyric preparations? It would be awesome if we could compare notes. I'm going to start a page in my notebook to start keeping track.

11-26-2017, 12:42 AM
Beautiful color! Keep us updated!

Dragon's Tail
11-26-2017, 04:10 AM
Thanks Schmuldvich, I will. I've confirmed that the colors I've seen so far match essential oil colors, and I suspected that these were some type of hyrosols. Unfortunately finding color information, even in the age of Google, is a pain in the butt. Many of the essential oils classified as "clear" will actually render some color in the water of the plant, and they are grouped. To test this, I will need to collect some yarrow in the spring, if I can find it, which should render a royal blue water. Evergreen oils are mostly classed as clear*, as expected. These are "hot" herbs, while those will yellow waters should be "cold" herbs. The blues and pinks I'm not sure. And there are some oils that are decidedly green. Green could be a mix of blue and yellow elements, as orange could be mixes of yellow and red. I'd never thought about it before, but this coloring of the plant's "internal" color could be worth some speculation on the part of the philosopher. Medically, the colors have important meanings if you compare the oil compounds causing the color with the usage of the plant ;) There's so much to consider here, it's a wonder I haven't seen this topic discussed.

Here's some oil colors I could find relevant to our common spagyric starting matters:

Melissa Officinalis: Yellow
Basil: Reported* Clear
Beeswax: Golden Brown
Black Pepper: Reported* Clear
Myrrh: Golden Yellow
Caraway: Reported* Clear
Rosemary: Reported* Clear
Dill: Reported* Clear
Fennel: Yellow
Hyssop: Reported* Clear
Lavender: Yellow
Yarrow: Blue

If anyone carries out this experiment of water extraction with the listed herbs, please, please report color and clarity of the water in this thread. I'm going to be making some notes, but I can only work with one herb at a time. Or even if you are extracting the "water" of the herb another way. If there is a color correspondence I would love to hear about it.

Dragon's Tail
11-27-2017, 04:53 AM
I mentioned in my "when a stone appears" thread about extracting the red, white, and black at low temps with plant work. What was a clear purple is now coming over milky, as with the cedar. I drained off the current liquid with the purple color to see if the water continues to prespire as a milky white, but I keep notching the temp down. The air in the setup doesn't smell burnt, but it definitely smells very very dry. I don't know how else to explain that sorry, guess I'm not that good of a writer after all, haha. Anyway, another 12-24 hours and I should know if this white milk is coming over by itself.

It's funny though, the mullein pulled off only the clear fraction of the fluid, and I tossed out the clear fraction with the cedar thinking it was water that only picked up the scent. Live and learn I suppose. I think these are two very different substances. I'm wondering if I should continue distilling this water until it ceases to come over milky. Could be a long process, but I might see how far I can take it. Once I get to a liter of milk though...I'm definitely stopping at that point, haha. The more I try this method, the longer it seems to take, but hopefully with better results as I continue to ponder these substances. Getting the red oil to purity is a pain in the ass so that will likely take a very long time. It burns so easily. In the previous 2 experiments, it remained in the boiler and had to be "bled" very carefully from the black earth. So in total, that makes four substances after separation of the solvent. A clear water solution, sometimes with color, a milky white, a thick red oil that stains everything, and a black earth. The two waters are extracted in solution, so I might need some trickery to further resolve them, but we'll try slow separation first, as is done with vinegar. The waters haven't ever burned on me during purification. Then there's the matter of doing the same with the solvent I distilled off first, so potentially five substances.

This is getting out of hand, hehe.

Dragon's Tail
11-28-2017, 09:41 PM
The "white queen" of this spagyric operation, seen by itself after swapping vessels. To the left is before the switch. The purple and white are obviously two separate substances. For now I will keep them together. The vessel has been swapped again, to see if only water starts to come over before I begin drying to feces out completely.


Dragon's Tail
12-03-2017, 08:25 PM
Another distillation of the waters resulted in some extra solvent that remained behind the first time. The solution cleared and clarified, meaning no more colors and no milkiness. A little oil was found floating on top, but probably not enough to collect.. onto the colorful stuff.

I'm still struggling with a good method of preparing the red oily water. I've decided to use a water bath from now on for the early bits of the experiment, which I should have been doing all along. As careful as I am with the heat, when you get down to the bottom there's always problems. The other dillema is finding an efficient way to scoop out the remaining mass. The tarry oil can be solved and removed with solvent, but the dried bits of "body" stuck to the glass cause me great pain on recovery. You guys have any tricks for getting that stuff without losing mass? Maybe I just need to start using more plant material from the start, but I don't like loosing stuff that I can turn into ashes. Scrubbing it out and letting it wash down the sink is contrary to my goals. As I swap to bath heating, this might become less of a problem, but my 1000mL is still crusted up with stuff I'm trying to recover.

Luckily, that made washing the red/orange color out with solvent super easy. Will be drying that off in the bath this time.

Dragon's Tail
12-07-2017, 09:16 PM
Sorry guys, but I'm shutting this one down early. Adding the water not only failed to get my putrefaction, again, but I'm starting to think that it is a mistake in this particular process (though water can do some wonderful things on it's own for another kind of tincture, I believe). For my final concoction, I retrieved some of the precipitated tar from a third heated evaporation, dissolved it in some of the original solvent, and added back the tiny amount of calcined ash left over from previous steps. There isn't enough material here to make my jelly ball, and I need to ponder this all again. Still learning here.

I have decided that these tars and jellies from reduced tinctures are worthwhile to attempt to purify and extract their subtleties. IE a tincture of a tincture. So after creating the standard spagyric, I'll use the following process to obtain the concentrated medicine.

"Dry" the solvent until it starts to thicken, and transfer to a container that is easier to work with. The tricky part from here is extracting the pure tar or resin from the feces, it will flow under moderate digestive heat while the feces will not, but you will get losses in exchange for not burning it. Once it's bled from the feces it is recombined with the solvent, and purified again if you like. This liquid extraction of the purified tar contains powerful medicines from the herb, and if added to the salt, or any purified plant ash, will form the jelly ball with gentle heating and the right proportions. In this case, I've turned the final product into a liquid drink, using just enough solvent to dissolve my "tar" and diluting with the water I extracted to bring down the solvent content. At least, that was the plan. Adding the "water" back only complicated matters. I have some serious speculation to do on the final result. Let's just say some clouds appeared.

I think the secrets lie in subsequent calcinations and reductions for this medicine, but my new "tincture" is strong enough. I have some mullein tinc that I want to repeat this with to "concentrate" it, but not necessarily to make a jellyball, just a more potent spagyric medicine. There's much to learn from this tiny niche piece of plant preparation.