Now what is a ‘Succi’, (pronounced either suc-eye or suc-sigh), I here you say, well Succi is plural for Succus, which is Latin for Juice, with reference to expressing a juice and using it medicinally. Now there, you learnt something new today.
Ahh, but you say, you mean a juice drink, I have them all the time, no, no, although I will grant that it is similar. But here we are thinking ‘herbally’ or ‘medicinally’, therefore there are some differences.
One of the main differences is that we add alcohol into the juice as a preservative, and this needs to be at least 20% up to 25%. The alcohol is not used in extraction, but only as a preservative. Also, we are choosing herbs, not just some fruit and vegetables to juice from.
Raw fruit and vegetable juices I think are wonderful and refreshing and highly nutritious, but when we think of a Succus, we are intending to treat a specific ‘condition’, of which the herbs we have in mind have a therapeutic purpose.
My wife had her Gallbladder removed some years ago, but the surgeon wouldn’t remove the ‘few stones’ stuck in her pancreatic duct, due to possibly causing more complications. After a series of special juice drinks, my wife suddenly had what appeared to be another gallbladder attack, and went to the doctor to investigate. When she had an ultrasound and x-ray, it was found that her ‘few stones’ were gone.
For a bit of history, they are not very common, but are documented in the ‘British Pharmacopoeia’, and were developed by Squire in 1830. The reason they are now not so well known is that most herbal companies don’t prepare them and have gone over to or prefer using alcohol tinctures instead. But I will say that a few companies do sell a few.
Reasons why to do a Succus
A specific reason to choose to make a succus is because we want a lot of that juice for the purpose intended, and normally we are looking for juices that are largely ‘water soluble’ as in some cases, if we try to extract with an alcohol base, we just cannot get all that we want.
A succus can be made at home and apart from a suitable press can be easily made.
A succus can really be made from nearly any part of the herb, so long as it is not dry and hard, and can be crushed to express its liquid. So, for example, you could make a succus out of roots like ginger root or even dandelion root, if it is soft and juicy enough, plus fresh, soft and succulent leaves, stems, rhizomes, tubers, and berries and fruits.
Succi can be used both internally and externally, this makes a succus more versatile.
Medicinally they can be used with poultices, compresses and syrups, or added to other tincture, but honestly can be used in drinks, such as smoothies and other beverages, and flavourings in meal recipes.
A couple of interesting points I found in one scientific paper was that a succus is high in enzymatic activity and can be used in escharotic treatment and cervical dysplasia in conjunction with standard treatments.
How to do a Succus
The process for making a Succus is very similar to making a freshly squeezed juice drink out of leafy greens etc., but in this case it is a chosen herb, for a specific indication. The process requires expressing the juice out of the herb or part thereof via some force, such as a ‘Cold Press’, which has one of those screw/augers that crush and squeeze out the liquid.
To draw the ‘extra’ bit you can re-squeeze it through the cold press, but add just a ‘little’ of pure water, but not too much.
You can use other presses, such as a tincture press or similar so long as it gets ‘enough’ pressure, as some items will be harder than others.
I would not advise one of those fast and spinning juicers as when the juice is extracted it gets somewhat heated (not a lot) and as it sprays through the air it becomes oxidised, therefore, it has the tendency to break down faster.
- Gather sufficient leaf, flower or root etc., to make the quantity you need, this could depend on a lot of factors, such as, time of day, season, rainfall even, and the part you intended to ‘squeeze’
- This isn’t so bad because often you don’t want much anyway
- In some cases, it would be a good idea to first grind, mash or finely chop up the herbs, but try not to lose any juice in the process
- Then put it through a quality cold press or tincture press
- Filter or strain out the fibres and any other particles
- The basic ratio for a succus is 3:1, that is, 3 parts juice to 1 part alcohol such as Vodka or a grain or similar type of alcohol
- Divide the amount of juice by 3, and this is the volume of alcohol thereby making 4 equal parts
- Mix this together well and allow to settle for at least three days
- After three days, filter out the sediment and squeeze the sediment without getting the sediment back into the liquid
- Pour this into clean dark coloured jars or bottle and label and date
- This Succus should last up to 2 years
Variations of a Succus
Although not really a variation, succi can be used both externally and internally, which can make them more adaptable, and you can design them to suit your immediate needs. And you can mix and match, so to speak, by added some from one succus to another in another container and using them in combination like other extracts.
Or when you make your succus, you can start with a combination of herbs that have the therapeutic actions required, or you can mix the principle herb with herbs the reduce bitterness, an example of this could be dandelion leaves with Romaine, Lemon balm, Fennel bulb and Cucumber.
Choice of Herbs for a Succus
The choice of herbs is really based on two main points:
One is that when making a succus, you want thick and juicy parts of the herb, ‘succulent-like’, which can be just about anything so long as it is not dry and hard. In some cases, you can use several parts of the herb, for example, the flower and leaf of Calendula.
Two, you choose the herb that is suitable for the action you want to achieve, for example, vulnerary, anti-inflammation, expectorant, or antiseptic.
But, several herbs that could be used in making a succus could be:
Mother of herbs, Nettle, Chickweed, Dandelion, Plantain, Calendula, Lemon balm, Gotu kola, Jewelweed, Turmeric, Ginger, Skullcap, Violet, Cleavers and Purslane, even citrus fruit juice of a lemon or lemon skin
When using a succus you would be aware of any possible allergic reaction, and with the alcohol, you would watch against any stinging. If there is any sting, then slightly dilute with water.
Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.
Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda
“Trouble coming always gets the creative juices going, ask any kid”Herbal Panda