Learn How To Make Your Own Tincture
Learn How To Make Your Own Tincture
A tincture is a type of herbal preparation in which the alkaloids, glycosides, minerals, and essential oils of a plant are extracted into a solvent. The liquids that are most often used as solvents are high-proof alcohols such as vodka or brandy, or occasionally apple cider vinegar or even vegetable glycerin. The strength ratio is typically 1:4 or weaker (one part herb to 4 parts liquid). It can even be as weak as a 1:10. The weaker ratios are sometimes used for children’s preparations, or by those who abstain from alcohol of any kind, but they’re not as effective at drawing the medicinal components from the plants.
You Wil Need:
At least 80 proof alcohol. I like to use at least 100 proof. If you’re in the United States and have access to Everclear or Aguardiete, use that. Otherwise, vodka or brandy works well.
Alternative to alcohol if necessary: high quality organic apple cider vinegar.
An herb of your choice: fresh or dried
A pint jar (16oz) with a tight-fitting lid
wax paper or parchment paper to seal when capping off the lid.
Small, dark glass bottles for storing the tinctures. Cobalt or amber glass are best.
A fine strainer
Fine cheesecloth or muslin
A bowl or glass measuring cup with a spout
A small funnel
It is so easy to make your own tinctures… you literally just need to soak plants in a liquid solvent for a few weeks so the liquid can absorb all of the extract from the plant. Again at least 80 proof ( 40%alcohol) but I find that 100 proof (50% alcohol) is better. The high-proof alcohol acts as a preservative, and if you store your tinctures in a cool, dark place, they can have a shelf life of 7-10 years.
USING FRESH HERBS
Generally, the ratio of fresh herbs to alcohol is 1:2 ( 1 part plant to 2 parts alcohol). If you’re using fresh herbs, chop them up a bit or bruise them with a mortar. Place enough of the fresh herb to fill your jar about 3/4 full, do not pack it in tightly. It should fill the jar well, but be loose enough to move around. Cover the fresh plants completely with the alcohol. No part of the plants should be exposed to the air. Make sure to do thorough research on the herb you’ll be tincturing before you begin so you have a good idea of what the required ratio is.
USING DRIED HERBS
Generally, the ratio of dried herbs to alcohol is 1:4 or 1: 5 (1 part plant to 4,5 parts alcohol). Fill 1/3 of your pint jar with dried herbs. Then fill the jar with alcohol just below to where the lid ring begins, The reason you do not fill the jar to the top is that you need to leave room for swelling. Place the wax/parchment paper over the jar & screw the lid on tightly. Label your jar with herb used, the proof of alcohol or other liquid used and date. Make sure to shake it everyday for the first week and then maybe once a week for 5 weeks after that. Let your tincture steep in a cool, dark, dry place during this time.
ALCOHOL AS A MENSTRUUM
Vodka is the best alcohol to use in tinctures due to its lack of color and taste. Tincturing works best with a ratio of 50% alcohol to 50% water which is fairly equivalent to100 proof vodka and provides an indefinite shelf life. Alcohol extracts volatile oils, alkaloids and flavonoids from the herb; whereas water extracts the saponins and glycosides.
VINEGAR AS A MENSTRUUM
Organic apple cider vinegar has many medicinal properties and makes a good base for extracting the medicinal properties from the herbs. Shelf life of apple cider vinegar is reported to be about one year. I use 3 parts vinegar to 1 part dried herb or 2 parts fresh herb. Vinegar extracts only the alkaloids from the herb, making the tincture less potent than one made with alcohol.
I suggest to stay away from using glycerin as a menstruum UNLESS YOU KNOW FOR CERTAIN THAT IT IS VEGAN.(available in natural food stores) So if you do find a vegan version here the formula:
Because of the sweet flavor and the fact that it does not contain alcohol, it is useful in making tinctures for children and people averse to drinking alcohol. Though it has good preservative properties and dissolves mucilage material, vitamins and minerals, it does not dissolve the resinous or oily components as well as alcohol. Glycerin needs to be thinned with water 1:1. The rest of the process is the same as the alcohol based tincture. Glycerin is effective at extracting tannins from herbs but is a much weaker solvent than alcohol or vinegar.
SEVERAL WEEKS LATER
After your tincture has thoroughly steeped, take a piece of cheese cloth and place it over a fine strainer. Then place those two items over a easy pour measuring glass container. Make sure to squeeze EVERY LAST DROP of your tincture out and compost the remaining herbs. Use your funnel to pour your tincture into dark glass dropper bottles. Label each bottle with the herb used, as well as the date decanted, and then store them away from direct sunlight.
Tarrraaah! enjoy the healing benefits of your tincture!