dried blue lotus flower and blue lotus tincture bottle

How To Make Blue Lotus Tincture

An herbalist walks you through how to make your own dreamy potion at home

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Blue Lotus is renowned for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It contains two active compounds: apomorphine and nuciferine. Each of these natural chemicals interact with dopamine and serotonin systems in the human body. These systems have many functions, but they play crucial roles in regulating pleasure and mood. The Blue Lotus flower is commonly used to aid sleep and alleviate anxiety. It’s a popular nighttime herb; in popular culture, people claim it can induce lucid dreaming. Additionally, the lily is rich in flavonoids: compounds found in food that often have health-promoting properties. Nutrition research suggests that flavinoids like flavonols, quercetin, kaempferol, and myricetin may have potential in preventing cell mutations and fighting cancer. Flavonoids from Blue Lotus also show promising antioxidant properties.

There are many ways to enjoy blue lotus. Teas and tinctures are among the most popular choices. But, some people choose to smoke the flowers. You can also find it in capsules. Blue Lotus has been considered a sacred botanical in many early cultures including Egypt, India, Iran, China, and ancient Mayan culture. The flower is often featured in depictions of religious ceremony. In ancient Egypt, it was considered a holy plant that symbolized rebirth and appears prominently in tomb hieroglyphics. Water was considered one of the most sacred elements of Mayan culture. Blue Lotus, being an aquatic plant, was often associated with the gods – offering visions of future and fortune. In India, Blue Lotus was believed to be the origin of water and life.

READ: Blue Lotus Flower: Smoking, Tea & More

How to Make Blue Lotus Tincture 

Tinctures are highly concentrated liquid herbal extracts—and a popular and easy way to use herbs. They help extend the shelf life of herbs and can last from six months to 3 years if stored properly. They are simple to use and a good alternative when an infusion (cold water soak) or decoction (hot water steep, like a strong tea) may be too bitter to consume. To make tinctures, herbs are first crushed or ground, then mixed with a solvent for extraction. Grinding dry herbs provides the best surface area for extraction.  Another method involves blending the herbs and solvent together in a blender before extraction. For more delicate materials like dried blue lotus flowers, this step is not necessary. Simple, light, hand-tearing will suffice. 

images dried blue lotus flower and dried blue lotus flower submerged in solvent for tincture

Solvents For Blue Lotus Tincture

The most common and effective solvent for herbal extraction is ethanol alcohol. Another option is vinegar, known as an acetum or “vinegar tincture,” but it’s not as widely used. Vegetable glycerin is also a solvent, but it doesn’t extract as many compounds as alcohol. Vinegar and glycerin might be preferred by those avoiding alcohol. 

Fresh vs. Dry Herbs 

Fresh herbs have more water than dried ones, so you’ll need twice the amount of fresh herbs for extraction. It’s crucial to consider the ratio of alcohol to herbs, especially with fresh herbs, as their water content affects solvency. If you’re new to making tinctures, starting with dry herbs simplifies the process.

Blue Lotus Tincture Recipe 

In most home kitchens, vodka is a popular choice for herbal extraction because it’s easy to use and widely available. Vodka usually has 40% ethanol (ABV), making it suitable for extracting blue lotus. Other options like grain alcohol, food-grade alcohol, moonshine, or Everclear can also be used, but they often have higher ABV, so check the percentage. Depending on the alcohol chosen, you may need to dilute it with water to reach 40% solvency. Vodka’s composition of 40% alcohol and 60% water makes it effective for extracting ingredients soluble in both liquids. Reference charts or books like “Herbal Medicine” by Dr. Sharol Tilgner can help determine the best solvency for different herbs. Different botanicals require different alcohol concentrations, so checking the solvency range ensures optimal extraction of constituents from your herbs.

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A Word of Caution

When making herbal extracts for oral consumption, only ethanol should be used, as it’s safe for ingestion. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and methanol (wood alcohol) are not suitable for consumption and can be harmful if ingested. However, they are fine for topical use, like cleaning or disinfecting the skin, but should never be taken internally.

Common name: Blue Lotus / Latin binomial: Nymphaea caerulea

  • Active constituents: apomorphine and nuciferine
  • Therapeutic indications: anxiolytic, mood enhancing, relaxation, sleep aid, anxiety, and stress reliever. 
  • Contraindications: Blue lotus should be used with caution when consuming with other psychoactive ingredients or alcoholic beverages, as the combination may increase adverse effects. Driving or operating heavy machinery should be avoided. 
  • Interactions: Blue lotus may interact with drugs used to treat diabetes, liver conditions, infections, cardiac, lipid-lowering, erectile dysfunction medications or psychotropic medications.
  • Blue lotus tincture should be avoided by people who are pregnant or lactating.

When making a tincture, crucial safety steps are cleanliness and a tidy workspace. Sterilize all tools and containers, wash your hands well, and wear safety gloves. Clear your space of clutter. Use an antibacterial disinfectant like alcohol or a natural thymol-based one (0.05%) to clean surfaces, followed by wiping with sterile distilled water. Do not use any reactive metals, such as aluminum; glass containers are best.

Alcohol proof (solvency): 80 proof (or 40%)

Ratio: 1:1 (blue lotus: alcohol)

Materials needed:

  • 1 ounce Blue Lotus flower 
  • 1 pint / 16 oz. Vodka or other Alcohol (as referenced above)
  • 2 Glass containers with tight-fitting lids (anything larger than 16 oz. Mason jars work well)
  • Distilled Water (if needed to dilute solvent. Not required if using vodka)
  • Strainer
  • Cheesecloth, strainer bag or unbleached coffee filters 
  • 2 8-oz. dark-colored bottles for storing liquid extract, with tight-fitting cap or lid (or one 16 oz. bottle)
  • Funnel
  • Small bowl
  • Digital kitchen scale

Preparation:

  • Always weigh your materials for accuracy. Weigh 1 oz. of blue lotus flower using a digital scale into a clean and dry small bowl. 
  • Because of the delicate nature of blue lotus flower, it is not necessary to grind or pulverize the herbal material. However, other more durable herbs like bark, woody matter or seeds may require maceration. 

Mixing the marc and the menstruum: 

Marc is a term used in herbalism to refer to the herbs used in extraction. The menstruum refers to the liquid in the extraction process. 

  • Transfer blue lotus to a sterilized mason jar or other receptacle. 
  • Weigh 1 pint (16 oz.) of vodka/solvent into the mason jar, pouring the solvent over the marc, fully submerging the blue lotus by at least 1-2 inches.
  • Screw on the lid finger-tight to the jar and shake the contents well. Continue to shake the jar twice per day throughout the extraction period. 
  • Store in a cool, dark place. A kitchen cabinet or pantry works well. The extract should sit for at least 4-6 weeks before pressing. 

READ: Mushroom Tinctures: A Complete Guide to an Age-Old Medicine

images of items used to strain and press blue lotus tincture including jar and strainer bag

Straining/Pressing:

  • Strain the menstruum through a filter (coffee filter, straining bag, cheesecloth or muslin). 
  • You may need to strain your menstuum 2-3 times to filter out any solids. Any solids left behind increase the chance of mold or spoilage. 
  • You may want to use a funnel set atop another sterilized mason jar. Set the filter inside the funnel as you pour the extracted liquid through the filter. 
  • Once all the liquid has finished straining, with clean and gloved hands, carefully squeeze the remaining menstruum from the marc. A straining bag becomes one of the more effective tools for this step, as it allows for more rigorous pressing. Coffee filters, while inexpensive and accessible, often tear during this process so using 2-3 layers of coffee filters may be helpful if this is your choice of filter. 
  • Once pressing is complete, the marc no longer has any therapeutic value and can be disposed of or composted. 
images of blue lotus tincture being funneled into amber tincture bottle and labeled

Storing

  • Once the extraction has been filtered, no longer has any remaining solids, and appears clear (it will look like an herbal tea), use a funnel to pour the liquid into dark-colored bottles for storage. 
  • Shelf-life of your tincture, if properly stored, will keep for up to a few years. The alcohol content acts as a preservative and so refrigeration is not necessary. Storing your tinctures in a cool, dark location will significantly extend the life of your tincture.
  • For dosing, transfer a small amount (2 oz.) to a dropper bottle. This is convenient for more frequent consumption and will reduce contamination of your larger supply of tincture. It is not recommended to store tinctures for long periods in dropper bottles. Dropper bottles are not airtight and are intended for immediate use (no longer than 30 days). 
  • Label your bottles with the name of the tincture and the date of extraction. 

Dosage:

Always consult a physician to ensure you are healthy enough to consume blue lotus tincture. It is equally important to determine if you may be taking any medications that may interact with blue lotus.

Shake well before each use. An appropriate dose for an adult of this herb varies considerably by individual. Begin with a few drops under the tongue and increase as

desired. If the taste is too strong or the alcohol burns, mix drops into water or juice

and sip the tincture. Work your way up to 1 dropperful or 20-40 drops per dose. May be taken up to 4x per day.

Observations:

  • Within 24 hours of extraction, the menstruum will be fully absorbed into the marc. 
  • After day 3, you’ll notice the color of the marc will go from bright purple and yellow to white/off-white. The menstruum will transition from golden to a tea-like amber color. The extract will darken slightly over time. 
  • After the first week, take the lid off your storage container and smell the aroma of your extraction. At this point, the strong alcohol vapors will have significantly dissipated. It will start to take on the aroma of the herb itself. The alcohol vapor will continue to dissipate throughout the extraction period, leaving behind herbal aromas distinct of the blue lotus plant. Blue lotus tincture has a sweet and faintly woody aroma and flavor. 
  • You may want to take notes or photos throughout your tincture-making process. Notes of observations, thoughts, and outcomes can be helpful reminders the next time you remake this tincture. 
DoubleBlind Magazine does not encourage or condone any illegal activities, including but not limited to the use of illegal substances. We do not provide mental health, clinical, or medical services. We are not a substitute for medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnosis, treatment, or advice. If you are in a crisis or if you or any other person may be in danger or experiencing a mental health emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency resources. If you are considering suicide, please call 988 to connect with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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