What is a Tincture? A highly concentrated liquid herbal extract. These are very concentrated and convenient (easy to carry and last for years). A teaspoon of a tincture can provide the same healing power as a cup of tea. Using Alcohol in tinctures extracts even more.
How do you make tinctures?
What kind of Medium should you use?
This “medium” is called a menstruum. It is a solvent that extracts the herbs healing powers. Alcohol can be used. The best options are vodka, brandy, or gin. They extract fats, resins, most alkaloids, some volatile oils, and many other healing components from herbs. Any alcoholic proof over 50 will work. However, 100 proof vodka or gin assures a 50:50 proportion of alcohol to water, which allows extraction for both water- and alcohol-soluble chemicals. Another option, for those that avoid all forms of alcohol and for children, that is not as effective a alcohol but can still be used is Glycerin. This is a very sweet substance found in plants and animals. It can not dissolve resinous or oily plant constituents. 100% pure vegetable glycerin must be used. One other option is Vinegar. A mild acid, vinegar will extract alkaloids, vitamins, and minerals but not plant acids; it is also not as effective as alcohol. Vinegar tinctures are useful in that they help maintain the body’s acid/alkaline balance and are suitable for everyone. 100% vinegar should only contain 5-7% acetic acid. Vinegar Tinctures can last for years when stored in a cool, dark place as long as they don’t get water in them and as long as fresh herbs are completely dried out.
The herbs are, of course, very important for a good tincture. Quality is important.
You should store the tinctures in a cool, dark place s/a a cupboard or closet.
Ways to tell if your tincture has gone bad: ferments, smells spoiled, moldy, separates into clear and brown “glop”, crust appears around the jar, or if gases escape when you open it.