Hey there! I wasn’t going to post a “how to” this week but, as I was getting ready to make an herbal tincture, I figured I could snap a few pictures and show you how to make your own!
Some of you may be wondering what exactly is a tincture? Well, a tincture is a popular form of herbal medicine. It is a highly concentrated, liquid herbal extract. There are many great reasons to make/use tinctures: they are easy to administer, have a long, long shelf life, are simple to make, and very cost effective (if you make it yourself)! There are different types of tinctures as well: alcohol (my preferred), vinegar, or glycerine. I am going to show you how to make an alcohol tincture.
You will need:
- the herb or herb blend you want to extract (fresh or dry)
- 80-100 proof grain alcohol (I use vodka) and btw…I don’t drink, lol…my alcohol is for medicinal use only
- clean glass jar with snug fitting lid (canning jars work great)
- something to label your jar with
First, measure out your herb. For a pint jar, about 1/2 cup of dried herb or 1 1/4 of fresh, cut herbs. Pour them into your clean jar. I am making a vitex (chaste tree berry)
tincture. I have had a history of screwy hormones, ovarian cysts, and now infertility. Vitex is a superb herb for helping regulate and normalize hormones. This quality alone makes this herb great for treating painful menstural cycles, infertility, PMS, menopausal problems, and several other issues caused by hormonal imbalances.
Next, pour in your menstruum (the solvent or liquid used to extract chemical constituents of the herbs). Again, I am using 80 proof vodka. I prefer alcohol tinctures for several reasons.
First, it is the most effective at extracting fats, resins, waxes, and other plants components, so you get as much from the herbs as possible. Second, alcohol tinctures are readily absorbed by your body, especially your liver, and their effects are felt rather quickly. And third, they keep forever and preserve the herbal qualities.
The other options for a menstruum, which are prepared a bit different, are glycerin and vinegar. And while these are good options for children or alcoholics and those avoiding alcohol, I prefer the highest quality I can get.
You will want to pour enough liquid to completely cover your herbs PLUS an extra 2-3 inches on top. (Or on bottom, lol…my chaste berries decided to float). Put your lid on tight and give it a good shake. Your herbs should be good and wet!
This next step is super important! Label that tincture! It’s easy to forget what herb is in what jar, especially when they are wet, they tend to look alike! I simply used a piece of paper and some tape, that way I can take the label off of the jar when I am done. I write down what herb (or mix of herbs), the date I started, and what menstruum. All are important for later use.
Okay, the last part to Part 1 is to put your “brewing” tincture jar in a cool dark place (like a cabinet) for 4-6 weeks. I know…that seems like a long time. You can use the tincture in two weeks if need-be, however, if you want to get the most out of your herbs…wait as long as possible. Every couple of days you will want to grab the jar and give it a good shake. This will mix the herbs to make sure they get extracted evenly.
Well…that’s all folks! Just kidding! I have a tincture of myrrh for a mouthwash that is almost done “brewing”. I will show you how to complete your homemade tincture very soon!