If you’ve ever seen tinctures advertised online or heard someone talking about their healing abilities, your first question probably is, what are tinctures exactly? Here’s everything you need to know about these herbal healing agents.
What Are Tinctures
Essentially, tinctures are liquid healing agents made using herbs. You may have heard of or seen them in herbology shops, health food stores, and herbal medicine books.
These liquids are generally very potent and can contain one herb or a mix of different herbs and plants used to combat specific issues. For example, you may see one for migraines or one for insomnia. Many different herbs can be used in a tincture, from chamomile (which helps with stress and anxiety) to ginger (which helps reduce nausea).
You may be wondering how to take tincture. Tinctures are usually taken as a few drops on the tongue or mixed with water and taken orally. There are also some featuring herbs for healing wounds that can be used topically. For example, an iodine tincture is a good choice for this.
If you have been considering making tinctures from plants found in and around your area, here are the basic steps you will need to follow.
How to Make Herbal Tincture: Start With a Suitable Base
Tinctures must be stored for several weeks to several months in a cool, dry, and dark place. This means that you need a carrier base that can help extract the medicinal properties of the herb or plant without breaking down the plant over time and without harming or reducing the properties of that plant or herb.
For this reason, you will see many tinctures that use cane alcohol in one form or another. For homemade tinctures, one of the most ideal bases to use is 100 proof vodka. Keep in mind, you want a top-shelf for your mixtures.
Cheaper vodka can break down the plants and herbs since it may be mixed with cheaper solutions or go through a different process than other purer forms of vodka. One handle of vodka, or a large bottle, can make over two dozen tinctures.
Assembling the Tinctures
Once you have the base ready, it is time to start assembling the tinctures. You will need to have larger bottles for this part of the process. In most cases, the easiest thing to use and store your mixtures in while they cure are mason jars. Traditional-sized jars with secure lids are the best option.
Take your herb or plant and separate them into the different mason jars. Do not bruise the plant. You can simply place it into the jar and let the alcohol and process do their jobs.
Once you have placed the herb or plant into the mason jars, pour the vodka over them. Cover the herbs with the vodka completely and secure the lid. Each mason jar will yield at least a dozen tinctures, so keep that in mind.
Final Steps and Bottling the Tinctures
For your own safety, it’s important to learn how to store tinctures. Here’s how to do it:
Once the mixtures have been created, you will need to store them in a cool, dry, and dark place. Most people tend to store them in a climate-controlled storage area on their property or in the back of a closet in the home.
For safety purposes, in case the alcohol begins to ferment with certain herbs and flowers, you may want to place the jars into a lockable footlocker. This will give you a cool, dry, and safe place to store the tinctures.
Wait for at least two months before removing the jars, checking on them at least once a week during that time. For higher potency, wait up to four to six months.
Remove the jars and strain the liquid. Place the strained liquid into small bottles with droppers. The bottles should be brown or dark blue in color as the light will degrade the tinctures.
You can store the completed tinctures in your kitchen cabinet or in a medicine cabinet that is located in a cool dry place. Tinctures should be dosed out at two to four drops at a time as their potency can be very high.
When you follow these steps, you’ll be able to easily create your own unique tinctures. Now, the next time someone asks you ‘what are tinctures,’ you can confidently answer them.