How To Make A Herbal Tincture

Herbal tinctures, infusions and decoctions are called whole herb extracts and will have the same healing properties as if using the fresh herb. It will also have the same precautions as if using the fresh herb.

Why choose a tincture over an infusion or a decoction? Or why choose an infusion or decoction over a tincture?

Infusions and decoctions are great ways to extract and use the medicinal properties of herbs, but neither store well. Alcohol tinctures extract the medicinal properties of herbs, they are convenient, mix easily with anything (including other tinctures) and will store for years.

Tinctures take a month or longer to make. Infusions and decoctions take from an hour to a day to make. So, if you want something to keep on hand, you will want to make a tincture. If you want something to take immediately, you will want an infusion or a decoction.

See my article on infusions and decoctions here:

How To Make A Tincture

Wash your herbs. If you are using roots, it will be a lot easier to clean them if you wash them before they dry out.

Chop your herb into small bits. The smaller the bits, the better. A blender or a food processor works well for this. I have a coffee grinder that I use only for herbs. If you are using roots that get hard, chop them up before they get hard. It will be a lot easier.

Put the herbs loosely into a glass jar.  I use a mason jar. Do not pack the herbs in. Your herbs should fill about 1/3 to 1/2 the jar. If the jar is more than 1/2 full, use a bigger jar.

Fill the jar to the top with consumable alcohol (not rubbing alcohol). I use vodka. I have a friend who uses rum. Another friend has used brandy. One note: Higher alcohol percentage draws out more of the herb's juices.

Stir the mixture with a spoon and place your lid on tightly. Label the jar with the name of the herb, the kind of alcohol, the alcohol percentage, and the date you started the tincture.

Put the jar in a cool, dry place. Shake once or twice a day for at least a month.

While I work on my tincture for at least a month, I know people who do it for only two to three weeks. When I was taught to make tinctures, I was taught to work them for at least a month. Less time seems to work fine for others. You decide what is best for you.

Since it is very important that you shake the jar once or twice a day every day, you might want to do what I do: I put the jar in my dish cabinet. I see it whenever I open the cabinet door - which is several times per day.

Keep an eye on the level of the alcohol. The herb must be completely submerged. If the alcohol is not covering the herb by at least an inch, open the jar and add more alcohol.

Strain the tincture and store in a clean, dark colored glass jar.

Since your tincture is simply a concentrated form of the herb, it will be fast acting. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way.

Using Your Tincture

I use about 1 teaspoon up to three times per day. For children, I use about 1/4 teaspoon.

If you don't like the thought of taking alcohol (or if you are giving a dose to a child) you can pour the dose into a hot liquid like tea which will evaporate the alcohol.

When using dried herbs, you will want to rehydrate it before you start your tincture. The usual ratio of water to dried herb is 1 part herb to 5 parts water.

If you are ready to make a tincture, but don't have fresh herbs to make your first tincture, you can purchase high quality dried herbs on amazon.com. Here are a few that can get you started:

German Whole Chamomile Flowers
Red Raspberry Leaf
Ground Ginger Root
Cut & Sifted Comfrey Root
Ginseng Root Powder


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