Making Herbal Tinctures. Part 1

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Tincture means alcohol. Although tinctures can be prepared with glycerin and vinegars, they tend to be less effective and spoil in a few weeks. Alcohol-based tinctures are an excellent way to extract healing and medicinal properties from plants, as opposed to vitamins and minerals, and will store on the pantry shelf virtually forever.

To some people, alcohol-based tinctures are undesirable. For those who prefer not to imbibe alcohol, keep in mind that since tincture doses are small, medicinal tinctures have no more alcohol in them than your favorite night-time cough syrup. Some people with chronic liver or kidney problems don’t need even miniscule quantities of alcohol. Be assured that the alcohol itself is easily burned off by placing the finished tincture in a pan of hot water for about 5-7 minutes. It’s much like cooking with alcohol, where the flavor is desired but not the alcohol itself.

Many of the healing plants used as tonics, or toners and strengtheners, are most effective in tincture form. They are “dosed” by the drops or dropperfuls (a dropperful is the amount of liquid sucked up in one squeeze of the dropper bulb). They can be taken straight on the tongue, or dropped under the tongue, although they can taste pretty nasty. The preferred way is either in water or other beverages, including the nourishing infusions.

During wellness and stability, tinctures are chosen for the support they give to body systems that may be sluggish or at risk for disease. No more than 2 tinctures are generally needed in wellness states. They can be taken daily, although 3-4 times a week is adequate for most people.

During illness/injury or in recovery periods, up to 4 tinctures may be needed to support the whole body. And don’t forget to continue taking the nourishing infusions daily as well for the vitamins and minerals.

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