How to make a tincture

A tincture is made up of a concentrated herbal liquid. Tincturing plant material preserves and concentrates the main properties of the herb. This allows tinctures to be longer lasting and more effective as supplements.

Typically, tinctures that are comprised of an alcohol base have a longer shelf life and are able to be used for up to three years. 

Tincture and herbs with caption: "how to make a tincture"

Tinctures can be made with alcohol, vinegar, honey, or glycerine. There are different names for all the different types of tinctures, too.

  • Glycerine tincture = glycerite
  • Honey + vinegar tincture = oxymel
  • Alcohol tincture = extract

The following supplies are needed to make a tincture:

  • A pint size glass jar that has a lid
  • Herbs of your choosing
  • Alcohol that is at least 80 proof (or you may choose to use glycerine or vinegar)

Alcohol based tinctures are the most simple to make and what most herbalists have in mind when referencing tinctures. You can use a variety of herbs in tinctures. After you have chosen the herbs you are going to use, you can fill the glass jar half-way full with the dried herbs. Make sure that you do not pack down the herbs when placing them in the glass jar.

Afterward, pour enough boiling water over the herbs to make them damp. Next, fill the jar with alcohol and stir to combine the ingredients. Finally, you should put the lid on the glass jar very tightly. Keep in mind that the tincture should be stored in a dry and cool place.

You also need to shake the tincture jar every day or so for three weeks (minimum) to six months. After three weeks (or however long you choose to let the tincture sit), strain the herbs with a cloth (i.e., cheesecloth) and store the liquid tincture in a bottle or in a glass jar.

Glass amber dropper bottles are a popular choice. These types of bottles are ideal for storing and using herbal tinctures. The glass doesn't break down from the tincture or leach chemicals into it. The amber color protects the tincture from UV light. (Cobalt blue is another protective glass.) The dropper makes it easy to administer tincture.

Here are some herbal tinctures you might want to have around.

Have you ever made or used a tincture?

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