Hello, I'm Eliseo Cheo Torres, I teach a course on Traditional Medicine at the University of New Mexico. Today, we have a speaker, that you may have seen on other programs here, translating some of the activities, but now, she's going to present to you, an activity on tinctures, and I'd like to introduce Antonio Gonzales, known as Tonita. Tonita, welcome. We are glad to have you. Tonita, got her certificate on Traditional Medicine at CEDEHC, Centro de Desarollo Hacia la [inaudible] Morelos, Mexico. Her teacher there was also Rita Navarrete in Mexico City. Tonita has spent over a year, studying in Mexico. Now, she has a clinic, in Albuquerque, Northern part of Albuquerque, The North Valley, that we call. Today, Tonita is going to demonstrate the preparation of tinctures, which is alcohol-based, and maybe microdosis? Microdosis which are water-based. She's going to explain, how you can prepare your own medicine. Tonita, thanks for being here. [FOREIGN] Well, good afternoon, or good morning as we start the day. So, one of the things that as we think about herbalism or [FOREIGN] as we say, that practices herbs. This is a tradition that throughout times, every indigenous community, used herbs as medicine. That was their first primary, and sometimes if you really look back into the historical context, the way they knew, how herbs worked is that they would start looking at the animals. What the animals are eating, and you kind of see that instinct. It's kind of the same way that, you'll see a dog when their stomach upsets, they start eating grass. So, they would see when, the animals are sick what they would eat, and how that transformed, into the medicine that we now eat. If we look at the logic of, what seems right. My experience of working with different herbalists is quite fascinating, because, whether it's a herb that they know are not, one of the first thing that you're going to see, is they're going to grab the herb, they're going to take a piece of it, they're going to take the leaves, and they're going to smell it, and they're going to look at the colors. They're going to look at the grain, the stem, the smell, the aroma. Also, they're going to taste it, is it bitter? Is it sweet? Because that's going to give to them an idea of how the medicine is going to be used in the body, and it's something that we've lost. If we looked at the culture and the language of [inaudible] the way they named the herbs, was how the medicine for what system it was going to be used. We look at herbs now. There's a whole scientific concept of how we use herbs, but the way we're going to explain it now is, the way our indigenous people and the way that people traditionally, have used herbs. They've gotten a little bit further, especially in UNAM, in the University of Mexico City. Is a scientifically proven, that the methods which the traditional healers and curanderos have used herbs, which is the method I am going to teach you today. Scientifically, focused for medicine, as a great helium source. So, it was they took an old tradition and proved it scientifically. So, this is a way, that a lot of people still to this day. If you go into the traditional herbalists in Mexico City, or even here in New Mexico, you'll see that, the way that they prepare the herbs is very similar. So, there's a great ways that we do herbs. We can do teas that you could buy this as Valerian root for example, you can see it dry, you can do it in baths. But one way that is a great way of conserving plant, is with tinctures. It's quite fabulous. It's very simple. It's nothing that you need to great extent. We're going to do a tincture first today of [inaudible] which is Mugwort. There's different varieties. This is Artemisia vulgaris and this is great for the immune system. It's also great for infections. So, normally like if we look at the scientific studies, they'll say, that when we make this, a lot of people get confused. So, how many grams of plant. They want to go about 250 grams. But if you look at traditional healers, they're going to say that when you get the jar, you want to cut the plant and make it till it barely fits here, because you want to leave enough room that the alcohol fits to the top of the container. One of the things that's really, really important is that, we know that plants are energy absorbers. This really proved true for me, when I was doing this study and CEDEHC in Cuernavaca because there was about 15 of us in the class. They said at the time that you cut these plants as I cut them this morning, you really need to ask permission and say a prayer and say that you're going to be using these for medicine, and then ask them to help you. But even at the same time now as I am doing this, you really want to be centered in your spirit, and centered in your energy that, I have good energy. This was a day that I was in traffic, and having a very difficult day, this isn't a good day that I would want to make medicine. You really want to have centered. I was really doubting that, but it when I had a class of 15 of us, we used the same plant, the same alcohol, the same containers. When they were done, three of their medicines, as opposed to looking where you could still see the essence of the plant, they had become black. What had happened is, when we talk to them, they say one of them had gotten into a fight with her husband. Another one had had somewhat of a slight accident that morning. So it had absorbed the energy, and did what plants are supposed to do in healing. So this morning when I cut in wash these plants before I came in, I'd asked permission from these plants. Now, one of the things about the tools that you use, you definitely want to disinfect your containers. Disinfect your tools. But we have tools that are specifically just for plant. These are not scissors that I would use in my office, or use the kitchen. This Is just what we use for plant medicine. As I go through and I start cutting, and putting these into the jar, I am asking permission, and I am being conscious of the fact that, this is going to be used for medicine. I am going to go to I feel like we had said, this up until the rim. So we want to be able, when we put the alcohol into the plant, that we're able to cover it completely. We don't want the plant to be exposed without the liquid. So we continue to put the plant into a container, till it's almost completely full, besides like probably like the first inch is where we don't want to have it exposed. Estafiate this is a great herb that we use, for the immune system. It's one of Mexico's key plant against H1N1, for healing and the main problem. It's also used on the skin when they're is skin irritation. In Chinese medicine, this plant is used and dried and used in what's called moxibustion, and it's a way that we use to bring down inflammation, and help the immune system. So as I get this plant, the next thing, is as you can see, I've left a little bit of space here, is I am going to fill in alcohol. Normally, if you were in Mexico City, the alcohol that would be used, is alcohol the Kania, canned alcohol. But here's a little bit difficult to find alcohol that's 99 percent proof. So, we have if this was 99 percent proof alcohol, the formula this customarily used, is that you would feel your container for 80 percent of alcohol the Kania and then 20 percent water, so it's the ratio of 80-20. But here, it's a little bit harder in the United States to have that concentration of alcohol. You could use like Everclear, the other thing that you could use is that, if you're going to have that same separation, instead of using Everclear, or something that was 99 percent, you could use vodka. But in the case that you would use vodka, you're going to top it, so that it covers all of the plant, but you're going to make sure that, you don't dilute this with water. Because the alcohol in our country, is already diluted. So you wouldn't have a need to add more water into it. You're going to want to make sure that when you do it, that your plant is completely covered. Now, the ideal situation would be is that, if you use a container, we're using a clear container today. But the preference would be is to use a container of amber. Because that does a better way of conserving the medicine. So once my container is full, and I've used alcohol, and I see that all my plant is covered, it's important that before we put the lid on, and we don't want the metal to touch the plant or the tincture. So we're going to cover it with plastic, and we'll put the top. Now, one of the important things that we do when we're making the tincture is that, we want to label it. We're going to label the top and then a more label. Now, this needs to seep, for 30 days. So you'll keep it in a cabinet, where there's no sun, every day you're going to rotate it, so that it moves the energy of the plant, and it becomes your medicine. You'll take a label, and you're going to write your name. It's very, very critical that you put your name on it. Because you'll know exactly when you made it. You'll put the date, and we use this symbol which is a circle with a line through it, to say that this is a mother tincture. Now, one of the things that's critical, is if I didn't have a cabinet or a place to store these, what you would do is instead, is that you're going to get aluminum paper, and the date is important because you're going to know there's two ways of doing it. They'll either say that you could do it for 30 days, or, you could do it with the lunar cycle. So if you made your medicine on the day of the full moon, or it would be ready within the 21 days of the full moon cycle. Or you leave it for 30 days. So if you're covering this and you'll see a lot of herbalists that have their cabinets full of these metal containers, you would again, label it again. You're going to put your name, put this sticker and you'd have your tincture. Every day, you want to go in and rotate this, to make this into your medicine. That's how we do a tincture. This is a tincture that we would use orally. It's a great fabulous way of using medicine, because we're able to heal. You can imagine, so I am going to use this example. This is artichoke which we say Alcachofa. This isn't a tincture that we made, this as a mother tincture, and what we do from here, so if you look at the little bit of plant that I used, how much tea would be if we were going to actually consume tea. So when we're dealing with the rural communities, and access to plant may not be so easy throughout the year, this is a great way that we could make medicine. So this is a tincture that's already prepared and ready. It's Alcachofa which is artichoke, which is really, really great for the liver. What we would do then, is sometimes people will make when they have their tinctures and it's ready, they will get the tincture, and they'll start to, you could put it in gel, you can make it like a body cream, or you can get the tincture and you can use it in microdosis. This is typically the way that you see it prescribed. Basically, if we remember the 80-20 concept, it's the same in microdosis. We're going to get our dropper bottle, and we're going to use the same distribution, It's an 80-20 distribution. Or if you're going to make a smaller, the scientific would be about 10 drops to 10 milliliters. You'll see most traditional healers, you could actually count the drops, but most traditional healers will actually just take it, put a little bit in their container, and they're going to eye it. They're going to eye and see, what is my percentage, and how does it work from there? When they take their percentage, especially when you've been doing this for awhile, you'll see how much tincture and how much water. The next percentage is that you're going to take another 80/20, you either have the vehicle which is going to make the rest is either can be pure water. In the case that you were working with people that are having alcohol issues or children, you would use pure water. But the normal way that people will usually use the vehicle is to use 80 percent water and 20 percent alcohol, because it's going to create that base, and the way that this works is that, you're going to go right underneath the tongue with the tincture. So, I'm going to top this off with the tincture so that this is ready. This would be a medicine that I would use if somebody who's either trying to detox, trying to cleanse the liver, has had like an excess of medication, but also somebody who's been really angry. If we look at the emotional reason that people have liver issues, there's usually people that have had either an excess of medication, excess of heat, or have had an emotional issue. So, we'll get the dropper, we're going to close this. Traditionally in Mexico, it's funny I've asked different people why, is that in order for this to truly be prepared, that you would actually shake it 30 times. The scientific studies have proved that what this does is five drops equals a cup of tea. So, it's much easier when especially if we think about people that are working don't always have the time to sit and prepare a cup of tea, but they can take these little bottles and they could put five drops underneath a tea four times a day, and they would have a consistent flow of the energy of the medicine, and the plant medicine so that they could heal. So, it's a great way of healing and supporting community. But also if you think about, I work in some communities in Mexico that it's really, really difficult for them to get medicine. This is a very cost-effective way to work with rural communities, and even communities here where it's very easy and they're not having to worry about take time off, and go make tea, it's something they can carry in their purse and really work at a very functional way. Some of the people ask is, how do you do that if you don't have plant? You can do that with a dry plant, the only difference is that, when you're taking the plant out, you really want to use a coffee filter, it takes a little bit of a lengthy process, or if you're juicing dry plants, or even if it was something like turmeric, you could definitely make it into a tincture. But you would want to use a sieve or a piece of a cheese cloth, and a coffee filter, it takes a little bit of time for it to filter out, but it's a great way of preparing medicine. So, you definitely can do this with herbs. Another way that we use herbs and the same way of doing tinctures is, if you want to do and where you really have to make difference is, if I do for example, one of the things that's common especially with children I assume that they run a fever. One great medicine that we pulled out of the garden this morning, this is fresh oregano. An oregano has an amazing way, it's a very hot plant, but it's a great way, it smells delicious that you definitely could use in cooking. But we really use this in a maceration so that we can bring down fever. You'd actually put this at the bottom of the feet to pull down fever as quickly as we can. So, if I was going to do this to make another tincture, but this tincture is really important that you want to do, is because in this tincture, this is not a tincture that we're going to consume, this is one that we're going to use topically. You'd see a lot of the grandmothers, I know it's very common here in New Mexico, that our grandmothers will use alcohol, and they would use different herbs, sometimes even Estafiate to bring down the pain in their body. So, in this case, this would be something topical where you could use regular alcohol that you buy at the grocery store, or the pharmacy. But one of the big things that you have to really make clear is that when you're doing this, that it you've labeled this that it's not to drink. So, normally, that little circle with a line through it that that we used is used for only for tinctures that we're going to consume. In this case, for you to remember and to know where you out when you're doing this, when you're going to label this, you're going to label it and you're going to put the plant name, the date, and then you're just going to put an X on it. That you'll know is that this is not a plant that you'll be consuming, this is something that you're going to be using topical. Now, normally, when we make tinctures that are going to be consumed, you never want to mix plants and do a tincture. Customarily, if you were going to have somebody that say, you want somebody relaxed, then you're going to put tiller which is Lyndon flower or passion flower, you would make the tincture separately, and then you can combine them later in one container. If it was 20 milliliters, you'd use about 10 drops of each. So, you're keeping the consistency of the 80/20. In this case, if this was something that you're going to use topically, you could add a couple of more herbs. So, for example, one great combination and it grows beautifully here in New Mexico is, you can actually make your own bug spray, actually I recommend to a lot of people for these in times of mosquitoes, that you could use citronella, which is just gorgeous, and rosemary. You can soak it and you can put it into a little spray bottle, and it becomes your own insect repellent, and it's all natural. So, after you would do your alcohol, you get your regular alcohol that you buy at the grocery store. You'll do the same thing, you're going to top off the plants, let it sit normally for 30 days again, because you really want to get the essence of that plant and how they come through. Cover at the top again keeping conscious of what you're doing, what you're teaching. In this case, you again wouldn't add any water. Now, I probably, am a little short on alcohol, we definitely want to keep it so that it's covered to the top again. I would do the same thing because we don't want the metal to change the quality of the plant or the reaction that the metal can cause with the plant, and you're going to cover this. We would use the same level with that X, put the name of the plant. So, in this case, this is oregano, the date, and you would shake it, and you would let this sit for 30 days. So, it's quite amazing and incredible, the amount of plant, the very little plant that we could use to bring about healing. Now, this is something that you could use, if you had rosemary for example, you could have Arnica, calendula, you could even use oregano. For somebody that had arthritis, it would be a great way of pulling down inflammation. There's another plant that would be really good if people had a skin infections, would be are Yerba Mansa. So, Yerba Mansa is a really, really good plant here that we use in New Mexico for any type of infection, and it can be taken both orally or topically. So, some people don't like to use topical, they'll prefer to use straight alcohol or vodka for all other tinctures. That way if they decided to use it for an ointment, because what you could do is, if you had a little bit of, let's say this oregano, and you wanted to make some type of body, you would be able to mix it even with a simple hand gel, mix it together so it absorbs into the gel and you could use it topically. So, these are just some different ideas. This isn't a great way to start using medicine in your home, get creative, start doing investigations, and I thank you for your time, and if you have any questions just let us know. Thank you for an excellent demonstration. Wow. See you can prepare your own medicine, in fact, this was our first medicine. People prepared and they're still preparing their medicine. In Mexico it's very common either through tincture, which is an alcohol base, microdoses, water-based or topically, and even insect repellent. So, thank you so much for an excellent presentation. Thank you. Tonita is part of the class in the summer, so thanks for everything. No problem. Thank you.