Herbal tinctures are natural remedies that will help relieve or get rid of many ailments. They are usually taken orally. Just add a few drops to your tea or juice, even multiple times throughout the day. You can apply some tinctures directly to wounds or skin infections.
Why make tinctures?
Simply put: a tincture is an herbal extract. It is made by placing fresh or dried flowers, leaves, roots, bark, or berries in alcohol for several weeks. Ethanol extracts and concentrates more valuable medicinal compounds than water extracts. In such a concentrated form, tinctures work much faster. Drinks made with at least 80% ethanol do not spoil and retain their strength for a long time. Tinctures made with wine or vinegar won’t bring out as many active phytochemicals and won’t last as long, although you can add them to salad dressings or marinades.
How to make an alcohol-based tincture?
Prepare the herbs and 80-100% alcohol. The 80% spirit contains 40% alcohol. You also need two clean jars
Cut the herbs into small pieces. Fill ⅓ or ½ of the jars with them. Now pour in the alcohol and seal the jar tightly. If the herbs start to float on top of the alcohol, set the jar aside for a day or two before pouring in some more alcohol to cover them completely. Place the jar in a warm, sunny place. Let it sit for about 4-6 weeks and shake it every day – this will ensure the alcohol is well mixed. After the specified time, pour the liquid through a strainer into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. Label it with the label and the date.
Glycerin-based tincture recipe
If you want to create a potent herbal extract without alcohol, try the recipe below. For it you need herbs, food-grade vegetable glycerin, boiling water and two jars.
Shred the herbs. Fill the jar almost halfway with them, but try not to crush them. Let them settle in the jar. Pour water over them and top up the jar with glycerin. Screw on the lid and leave the mixture for 3-4 weeks in a warm place. Shake the concoction as often as you can. After the specified time, pour the liquid through a strainer and store it in a jar or bottle in a dark, cool place.
Tincture extraction time
Protect the jar with a lid during extraction. Some tinctures can melt plastic (especially those with aromatic herbs), so we recommend using a standard glass jar. If you plan to macerate for 6 months or longer, consider protecting the lid from corrosion by placing a layer of parchment paper under the lid. If you choose this option, try to leave as little space as possible between the liquid and the lid. Otherwise, there may be a rotten smell
If the alcohol has evaporated a bit and the herbs are not completely submerged, add more. Check the liquid level regularly. Herbs exposed to air can introduce mold and bacteria into the tincture
When to use tinctures?
Thanks to the alcohol content of tinctures, herbal extracts are absorbed into the bloodstream faster. You may notice the effects within an hour. Herbal extracts can work perfectly for pain, abdominal complaints, anxiety and insomnia. A tonic tincture is worth using for premenstrual syndrome, hormonal acne or other symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Tinctures will also work great for indigestion, colds, flu and allergies.
How to choose an alcohol?
Alcohol is a solvent that releases compounds with medicinal properties from herbs. You can use any alcoholic beverage you like, but pure vodka works best here. This is because it has a neutral taste compared to other alcohols. Some people also use rum. Standard 80 percent vodka is good for most fresh and dried herbs, choosing a stronger liquor will help draw out more of the plant juices. You can also use food grade glycerin instead of alcohol. However, you have to remember that then you won’t be dealing with a tincture, but an extract.