Below are answers prepared by Aunt Bean to questions submitted by Janne about the
fava beans tincture.
Question #1: Can the fava beans be grown indoors — hydroponically or in pots?
*I have grown fava beans hydroponic and in soil on a
windowsill where it only got good sunlight about 4 hrs a day. They
looked pretty until about 8 inches tall and then became spindly
(almost like a vine) . If you have a window that gets good light or
have a sunroom I feel they would do much better. The hydroponic ones
I only grew to about 4 inches tall before washing well and chopping up
and drying for tincture. It has not been tested though for l-dopa
The couple of plants in pots never did make a “top” or bud …just
got long and lanky .Ate leaves from them in salads finally.
Question #2: When researching where to buy beans, I noticed there are many
varieties. Does one seed/bean variety have more levodopa than another?
*There are approximately 40 varieties of favas I have been told. Broad
Windsors seem to be the cheapest and dependable for sprouting. I have
tried many varieties . Fond of the ones that are purple , but they are
more expensive. Hope to save more of my own seed next year…receive
much better germination that way. I don’t know that any variety has
more l-dopa , but one could …if studies have actually been done….
I like to know the findings.
Question #3: When searching for information (on your blog, forum posts
and radio interview) I noticed that on different occasions you mention having
used sprouted beans, bean tops and/or the whole plant for tincture. In
your final analysis, which seems to be the best part of the plant to
*Plant Buds or tops that have been dried for a few hours seem to do
the best. What I call the Top is the little “bud” I am holding in between my
fingers in the picture on the fava blog site. They can be small (size
of a dime) or as big as a nickel…seems to depend on the fertility of
the soil. It takes quite a few dried to fill a small jar to make
Question #4: Depending on your answer to No. 3 – at what point in the
plants growth do I harvest the top or whole plant?
*I found a bud yesterday on a plant that was sown July 26th. The seed
was soaked for 24 hrs before planting, so it was swollen and ready to
sprout when put into the ground. At approximately 6 weeks. start
checking for the bud growth to harvest. I pinch off the first 3 inches
of the plant, strip off the leaves and stem and save the bud for
drying. You can wear 2 clean water jugs on a belt (I cut out the
pouring spout and part way down the jug to leave a good opening, leave
the handle to put the belt thru. This is also my method for berry
picking!) Put the leaves in one jug and tops in the other. The dried
leaves ground up make wonderful additions to soup, vegie patties etc..
Taking the tops off encourages new bottom growth and discourages
aphids. Each new stem that comes up also gets a “bud” at the top. Some
can get up to 15 to harvest over the season. Watch carefully.. some
send up just a tiny 1 1/2 inch stem and make a bud almost at ground
level to harvest. They are easy to miss. I like growing them in a
Question #5: I know in 2013 your recipe calls for mashed up sprouts — but if
tops or whole plants is better, should they be dried or fresh to make
tincture? Does this matter?
*I don’t care for the sprout tincture as much as the top tincture.
After many experiments…I prefer to use the sprouted beans for
steaming and adding to foods/ making humus l-dopa is great…use your
Question #6: Can I use rum or vodka or some other alcohol to make tincture
or is brandy best?
*Brandy crosses the blood brain barrier and that is all I use