With the rise of herbal remedies, I decided to make my first tincture with herbs I had on hand. I used dried elderberries & dried echinacea.
What is a Herbal Tincture
So what exactly is a herbal tincture? Tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs that you take by mouth. They are usually extracted in alcohol however they can be extracted in vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar (non-alcohol). However with the use of vegetable glycerine or apple cider vinegar this is called an extract and not a typical tincture. (Yeah I didn't know that either).
One thing that really made me want to try extracting my own was the simplicity of the process. With a few ingredients, you can make your own tincture to your specifications like combining various herbs to create your own unique blend.
Where to Purchase Herbs
One popular online store you can purchase your herbs from is Mountain Rose Herbs. They offer a vast selection of high quality herbs, spices, teas, and other DIY supplies. They even have an amazing Youtube channel that is helpful for any do-it-yourselfer. You can also purchase herbs online from Frontier Co-Op which is a member-owned company by their wholesale customers. You can visit them here.
How to Utilize a Herbal Tincture
After you've extracted the herbal tincture and you've completed the process, how you're wondering how you can use them. Here's a few ways you can ingest them.
You an use tinctures to add to herbal teas. Simply squeeze a dropperful and add to your favorite cup. A dropperful is the amount of liquid that fills the glass tube of the dropper when the bulb on the dropper top is squeezed and released. You can also place one dropperful of tincture underneath your tongue and swallow. Note: two droppers is tincture equals one 8 oz cup of tea, so so use caution when using this method.
Tinctures are safe for anyone to use, however there are recommendation guides available online. I refer to the Children's Dosage Guide from HerbLore. Tinctures are fine for pregnant and nursing women, even alcohol-based version. One dose of an alcohol-based tincture has approximately the same alcohol content as eating a very ripe banana (thats crazy uh? <3) However, there are herbs you should avoid doing pregnancy and lactation.
How to Make a Herbal Tincture
I have listed the simple instructions on this site, please look under DIY Herbalist. However if you want a more comprehensive guide, than check out the Guide to Making Tinctures from Mountain Rose Herbs.
I decided to make two tinctures at the end of July so I'll be ready for cold and cough season for my family. I made Echinacea & Elderberry which will be ready September 11th. Stay tuned for the update...
How Long Will it Last
Tinctures that are extracted with alcohol typically have an unlimited shel life when stored in a cool, dark location. However if using apple cider vinegar; typically for dressings, marinades or food additives, these typically last about a year or so. For vegetable glycerine, which are called glycerites, they tend to last 3-5 years. Tinctures made with vegetable glycerine are a great choice for children because they have a week taste to them and can make even the worst tasting herbs taste good.
Please note, that non-alcohol tinctures have no alcohol content to them to act as a preservative, so they can easily become contaminated and are at risk for growing mold. When storing your tinctures, be sure to keep all of your herbs in a cool, dry area away from sunlight and heat. Avoid placing them above the stove because the heat from cooking can cause the herbs and spices to weaken more quickly.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know your thoughts below in the comment, or if you have questions please don't hesitate to contact me.
Until next time, xoxox Shana G.