Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Tinctures have been used for centuries as a way to extract the beneficial compounds from natural plant sources. Tinctures are a great way to get the most from your medicinal herbs, increasing their power and potency and making them easy to take or apply topically. With just a little practice and a bit of equipment you can be making customized tinctures out of all of your favorite plants and herbs in no time.
If you’re making more than one dose of tincture at a time, and you should be, make sure to weigh the herbs and write down the weight before you start. This step is vital for determining dose later, and should not be skipped.
•Add 4 ounces (113g) of powdered herb with 1 pint (473ml) of 40% alcohol
•Add 7 ounces (198g) of dried herb material to 35 fluid ounces (1 liter) of 40% alcohol
You can use 40% liquor such as vodka or save some money by using watered down 95% ethanol (half water / half ethanol to get about 40%)
Add your pre-weighed herbs to a glass or chemical-resistant plastic container then cover them with alcohol. If you’re using citric acid, add that now and give it a stir. If not using a water bath, steep your herbs for a week in a cool place. If you’re using a water bath, warm the water to a simmer before removing it from the heat and placing the container gently in the water. Leave the container in the hot water for an hour and repeat once with freshly heated water.
Strain the herbs out of your tincture with a sieve and pour the tincture in a bowl to evaporate.
Cover the bowl full of your tincture lightly with aluminum foil to keep out dust. Allow the alcohol to evaporate until it has reduced in volume by at least half.
Using a measuring cup and the starting weight of your herbs, you can now figure the strength of your tincture. Divide the weight of the herbs from the first step by the final volume of your tincture. For instance, if we start with 200g of kawakawa and end up with 10 tablespoons of tincture, the final strength of our tincture is 20g of kawakawa per tablespoon.
Label and Store. It’s a good idea to label the tincture with the name of the herbs used, the strength from the previous step, and the date that it was made. When stored in a cool, dark place, your tincture will stay potent for a few years on average.