Lactuca Preparation

Lactuca Tincture Preparation
May 19, 2007

   Here is the current recipe I use for making a strong Lactuca tincture. I began preparing it in this way in reaction to feeling that Lactuca tincture I tried did not have the sedative anodyne clout that I read about and hoped to see. So, this was an experiment. And I hope to learn other methods as people experiment and share their results.

    With preparing this form of Lactuca tincture, it is important to have all aspects and equipment prepared beforehand such as knowing where there is a stand of Lactuca growing, having your equipment ready, and knowing that you have enough time during the days it takes to make it, which aren’t much, less than 2 hours per day for about 5 days. Read on.

   Basically, I use this form of preparation to condense the latex in the plant which I assume contains most of its nervine qualities. Otherwise one ends up with a weak medicine due to all the ‘roughage’ that is a part of these stately plants. The goal is to maximize the concentration of latex. This is a bit of a challenge with Lactuca, as there is a lot of plant matter to work around to get the latex without the mainly inert cellulose and other plant matter.

Tools
1.Pruners-to cut plants
2.Tincture press
3.Ethanol-95%
4.Blender- a good sturdy one
5.Stove
6.Stainless steel pot


Preparation
1.Find a stand of Lactuca plants. I have used a number of species and they all seem useful, though some more careful observations of species may help figure this out. I have not used any close relatives that also yield latex, such as Sonchus.
2.The best time to make this tincture is when the plant is at its maximum latex yield, which seems to be around when it is just going to flower. It is easy to see the amount of latex, remove a leaf and the white milky latex should flow freely.
3.While all parts of Lactuca contain this latex, I just make the medicine from the aboveground parts, as it is just easier to not have to wash and cut up the roots, though I may be missing something here, as the roots do exude a fair bit of the latex.
4.Cut a few Lactuca stalks
5.Bring them right away to where you will be processing them into tincture.
6.Cut them up into blender-size pieces
7.Put them in the blender, and cover with ethanol
8.Blend
9.Add as much ethanol and material as you can to get a big wad of blenderized Lactuca stem, saturated in ethanol
10.Let sit overnight (or longer)
11.Press tincture in tincture press
12.Cut more Lactuca
13.Cut into blender-size pieces
14.Put in blender, add the menstruum that you recently pressed
15.Add this into the blender, along with enough 95% ethanol to cover and blend.
16.Let sit overnight.
17.Follow this process for a few days, cut, add menstruum from previously pressed tincture, blend, and add enough ethanol to get the juice out. And then press this for the next batch.
18.After a few days of this you should have a fair bit of fluid (menstruum)
19.Put this in a stainless steel pot
20.Bring to a high simmer
21.Evaporte and reduce the fluid so it gets more black and ‘tar-like’
22.This is your medicine
23.Be aware, that as you simmer, ethanol evaporates at a lower temperature than water, so make sure there is enough ethanol in your final product to keep it stable
24.Enjoy and let me know the results.