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What is a tincture?

A concentrated herbal extract made by macerating herbs in alcohol and water.

Okay so what is a tincture really? I know I asked myself that for years before really getting into herbalism. I've also realized during one of my markets that some people knew right away what a tincture was but a lot of people didn't really know what they were for, or that the ones I sell are macerated in alcohol. Actually a lot of people don't know what macerated means. In short terms it means soaking chopped herbs in a solvent for a period of time.

I learned a lot about tinctures, their uses and how to properly make them using two different methods in the introductory course with the herbal academy. If you want to check out there selection of courses you can click on this link below.

A tincture is made using alcohol or vinegar. Herbs contain different constituents that can be extracted using different solvents. Different types of constituents can include things like resins, bitters, volatile oils, tannins etc. and different types of solvents can be things like alcohol, vinegar, water, etc. Alcohol is best used for extracting; acids, alkaloids, bitters, resins, sugars and volatile oils.


The two types of methods are the folk method and the more scientific method using the weight-to-volume ratio. I prefer using the folk method. That means each batch might be slightly different in potency, but they will be very close nonetheless. You can use either fresh or dried herbs, I prefer using dry as there is less water content so I don't need to be as worried about spoilage or mold. Then the herbs are chopped and added to a jar. If using dry herbs they will expand so it's best to leave lots of room. Alcohol is then added to cover the herbs by an inch. Using dry herbs means I need to keep an eye and top it up. I use a piece of natural waxed paper between the jar lid and the herbs and alcohol. I make sure to label the jar and store it in a cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks. I shake it daily. The herbs are then filtered out, the liquid is bottled and labeled and ready for selling or using on our family.


By extracting the constituents in the herbs, they become very strong. That's why using an alcohol tincture is safe because the dosing is small and it carries quickly throughout the body. Often times it's only a few drops diluted in water taken 1-3x per day. The alcohol is in a small amount so unless you are sensitive to alcohol it won't be hard on the liver and there isn't a huge slew of added chemicals like we find in pill forms from the pharmacy. According to Herb Pharm taking 30 drops of a tincture is like drinking 1/65th of a can of beer. When you add those 30 drops to 2oz of water there is only about .59% alcohol. not even 1%. This is why we find the tinctures safe for our daughter. Some people will add their tincture to hot water to allow more alcohol to evaporate but not all of it does. So keep that in mind. I like adding it to a tea that has the same herbal benefits I'm looking for in my tincture. I might add a lemon balm tincture to a destress tea or an echinacea tincture to our immunity tea to get extra benefits from both.

I hope this helps to add a little bit more herbal knowledge to your life and helps you feel more comfortable about using tinctures.

You can check out our tinctures in our shop or try making your own!


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