In every culture, we find a variety of remedies. A home remedy is a simple preparation that can be made quickly from medicinal herbs and spices to treat common ailments such as cold, fever, headache, stomach problems, etc. Knowledge of home remedies is usually transmitted from person to person by word of mouth and is considered an important heritage of any society. Yemich Medhanit and Dingetegna are among the best examples of home remedies from Ethiopia. Tinctures are also common home remedies. A tincture is an alcoholic extract of a medicinal herb or spice. Alcohol is a more powerful solvent than water when used to extract substances from plants. It also serves to preserve the extract for a long period while the shelf life of a water extract is limited to a few days only.
A sufficient dilute solution is usually 20-25% of alcohol, which can be made by diluting strong alcoholic drinks such as Vodka, Brandy, Gin, Local Katikala, etc. To make a typical tincture, place 100 ml of the alcoholic drink in a suitable bottle; then add about 15g of the powdered spice. Shake well to maximize the extraction process and store it on a shelf in your kitchen. You will notice that the color of the solvent gradually changes because of the extraction of constituents of the spice by the drink. Infuse powdered cinnamon, clove, ginger, and turmeric with alcoholic drinks such as gin or Vodka or Ethiopian Araki are good for making ready-to-use tinctures. The medicinal substances present in each of these spices are extracted out effectively by this method. Benefits include cinnamon tincture as a powerful antioxidant and antifungal; clove for toothache; ginger, besides being an excellent food flavor to treat colds and nausea; and turmeric for cancer prevention. Label your tincture, shake well and allow it to stand for a few days.