Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How To Make Herbal Tinctures

Herbal tinctures are potent, spirit based, liquid extracts. They are made using fresh plant material and liquid base such as vodka, brandy, vegetable glycerin, or even apple cider vinegar.

Selecting Your Spirit

Most commercial preparations are made with 198 proof grain alcohol. A simple and very effective choice is 100 proof vodka. It's clear, affordable and easy to obtain. 100 proof means it is exactly half water and half alcohol. This makes figuring dosages easy as most dosages recommended by herbalists are based on the assumption that a tincture was made at 50% - 1/2 water, 1/2 alcohol. If you are concerned about ingesting the alcohol, I recommend placing the bottle of tincture in boiling water for 1-2 minutes which will remove about 1/2 the alcohol. You may also use glycerin or cider vinegar. These won't be as strong as alcohol based ones, but they will still be effective and are often a good choice for children's remedies. *note: If using vinegar heat it slightly before pouring. It should be warm, not hot.

How To Make Herbal Tinctures

  • USING FRESH HERBS: After picking your fresh herbs, pick through them and remove any dirty or damaged parts but don't wash them.
  • Coarsely chop stems, leaves and roots. You can leave flowers whole.
  • USING DRIED HERBS: use half the amount of fresh herb.
  • Put your herbs in a clean and dry glass jar, and fill with the liquid of your choice. The herbs need to be completely immersed in liquid.
  • Cap the jar tightly with an airtight lid.
  • Label your creation with the ingredients and date and store in a dark place for 6-8 weeks, shaking occasionally.
  • Strain out the herbs and pour tincture into clean, dry bottles. Label with the date and ingredients used. 


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