Disclaimer: The instructions I offer here in this post (and in all my posts about herbs and home remedies) are what I use personally at home. Of course the standard disclaimer goes: I am not a doctor and don’t prescribe medicines or herbs, this is just what we have done here for generations with great results.
Here in the southern US there is a tree called the Sweet Gum Tree. Liquidambar styraciflua is a large tree that is valued for its pretty leaves and hard spiky fruits. Its the fruits that I am interested in because they are a source of shikimic acid which is the active ingredient in medicines like Tamiflu®.
Be sure you pick the green balls, the brown ones are finished for the year and won’t make a tincture. They’re cute for using in crafts though.
Here’s how its done:
Pick enough green sweet gum balls to fill at least a clean, sterilized glass jar that has a tight fitting lid.
Bust open each green gum ball either using a hammer or a hatchet. But be careful, they’re harder than you think!
Once you get them busted up, put all the pieces in the clean glass jar and cover the pieces with any clear, at least 100% proof alcohol. I buy the cheapest vodka I can find and use that.
Let this sit in a cool, dark place for about 6 weeks. It seems to take longer for sweet gum to give up its properties than other plants. After 6 weeks you can strain it and put it in dark amber bottles. It will keep forever.
To use it, I take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours when I know I have a virus. I combine it with elderberry syrup sometimes. If the taste is objectionable to you, you could put the teaspoon of tincture in a cup of water or even tea and drink it.
For keeping viruses at bay, I take 1 teaspoon in a cup of hot water each day during flu season.
I have not made sweet gum tincture using glycerin, I have doubts as to whether the glycerin would be able to pull out the medicinal properties of the fruits.