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Tinctures - Alcohol Herbal Preparations

Tincture, Tinctures - Herbal Preparations.

Tinctures are made by extracting, and preserving, the active properties of herbs using alcohol. Tinctures have a stronger action than infusions or decoctions and can be made with fresh or dried herbs; however, some herbs may require different strengths of alcohol (15-90% proof). The alcohol removes certain active principles from the herbs that will not dissolve in water, or in the presence of heat (boiling water).

DO NOT use industrial alcohol, methyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). To make non-alcoholic tinctures, replace the alcohol with vinegar or glycerol (also called glycerine or glycerin).

Tincture: Most tinctures are made using the standard ratio of 1:3 or 1:4 - one part herb to three or four parts alcohol, vodka, gin or rum.

For a one quart jar (2 pints, 1.13 litres UK, 0.94 litres US)
•    2 ounces (50 grams) dried herbs or 100 grams (4 ounces) fresh herbs
•    2 cups (600 ml) alcoholic liquid such as vodka, gin or rum
•    1 cup water (300 ml)

Chop or bruise the herb in a pestle and mortar and put in a large glass jar. Add the water and alcohol to the large jar. Label and date the jar and store in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Shake and turn the jar upside down every day.

After two weeks exactly, strain the contents of the jar through a cotton cloth and strainer into a bowl, squeeze the herbs thoroughly to extract every drop of the tincture. You can then discard the herbs.

Pour the strained tincture into sterilized bottles; make sure the caps or lids are also sterilized. In clean bottles a tincture will last for 5 or more years. Label the bottles with the name of the tincture, the date made, the quantities involved – and give some indication of the use intended and dosage.

A simple recipe to make larger batches: Fill sterilized jar half full of dried herb. Cover with vodka. Add enough water to fill to just below rim of jar. Add more water if necessary after a few days if herb is not still immersed in the liquid.

Close the jar and label the contents, and store in a cool, dark place for ten to fourteen days. Shake the jar every one or two days. At the end of that time, pour the mixture into a wine press or cloth bag and extract the liquid from the herb. Discard the herb. Pour the tincture into clean, dark, glass bottles and close the bottle with a cork or screw top lid. Label the contents, date of creation, suggested remedies and dosage. Tinctures will generally keep five or more years.

Tincture Dosage: The tincture you have made is long-lasting and highly concentrated and only needs to be taken in small doses for beneficial results.

Tincture kits are available which include instructions and other items needed to make a tincture.

Non-alcoholic Tincture To make non-alcoholic tinctures, replace the alcohol with vinegar or glycerol (also called glycerine or glycerin). In some cases, a tincture made from alcohol is unsuitable or undesirable as an herbal remedy. These cases include pregnancy, gastric or liver inflammations, and for children or recovering alcoholics. It also includes those who choose not to take alcohol of any kind in any amount. For these people, a non-alcoholic tincture is prescribed.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal medications


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