What are Herbal Tinctures and How to Create them
What are Herbal Tinctures?
Herbal tinctures are defined as holistic health and dietary supplements which are formulated into a liquid state. Herbal extracts are used in the form of “tinctures” in order to provide health benefits and can be derived from mushrooms, flowers, leaves, roots, barks, or berries. Tinctures can be formulated with food grade ingredients such as alcohol or vegetable glycerin. They can also be created with vinegar but that is technically considered an “acetum” which is a “vinegar tincture."
If you are interested in creating your own herbal tinctures, the first step is to consult your physician to ensure any herb you are taking is going to be safe for your health. It is important to note that just because a substance is natural, it does not mean it will not have side effects or interact with medications you are taking.
The second step is to choose high quality ingredients. You will want to use organic herbs and pure food grade bases for your tinctures to get the safest, most beneficial health benefits.
It is also important that you calculate the correct amount of herbs and liquid base that will go into your tinctures. Appropriate measurements determine whether your tincture will be effective or not. If you don’t add enough, you'll create a weak tincture that will not provide optimal health benefits. If you add too much, and the amount of alcohol or vegetable glycerin won't be enough to extract the health benefits from your herbs. The correct measurement of alcohol or vegetable glycerin and the amount of herbs to use will vary based on the specific herb you're tincturing.
40% to 50% alcohol by volume (80- to 90-proof vodka)
- "Standard" percentage ratio for most herbal tinctures.
- Recommended for most dried herbs and fresh herbs.
67.5% to 70% alcohol by volume (half 80-proof vodka and half 190-proof grain alcohol)
- This ratio creates the most volatile aromatic properties.
- Recommended for herbs, berries, and aromatic roots.
How to create an Herbal Tincture:
- Chop organic herb of choice into tiny pieces.
- Fill glass jar 3/4 with herb of choice.
- Research the ratios for alcohol or vegetable glycerin in accordance with the herb you’ve chosen.
- Pour alcohol or vegetable glycerin into the glass jar.
- Allow the mixture to extract for 6 to 8 weeks.
How to Harvest your Herbal Tinctures:
It is recommended you place a cheesecloth over a funnel and pour tincture into funnel and allow the mixture to drip into glass bottle. It is vital that you seal your tinctures completely and store them in a cool, dry place away from kids and pets. Ensure you seal the bottle completely, because herbal tinctures exposed to air can introduce mold and bacteria into your tincture.
Be sure to talk to your doctor before you start any herbal remedy. Pharmacists and holistic health practitioners can be great resources to consult about safe uses of herbal remedies as well.
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