Tinctures! I love these! In fact, this would be one of the more tried methods for herbal mixtures that I use and have used for years. A tincture is a concentrated herbal mixture, generally used when people need a concentrated dosage of herbs very fast, as tinctures are taken by mouth in liquid form. The generally accepted dosage for a tincture is 30 drops per 1/4 cup of liquid, be it tea, juice, or water. Tinctures are made with alcohol, so obtaining the ingredients may be harder for those under the legal drinking age. Since this is a medical grade tincture, please research the herbs to be used before using them, as this tincture is made to be swallowed in liquid. A list of herbs can be found here.
When making a tincture, it is very important to have glass or ceramic bottles over metal or plastic containers, for the tincture itself will be made with alcohol and can leech unwanted chemicals from metals and plastics. Alcohol will allow the herbs to absorb faster into the system, maintain a shelf life of 3 to 5 years per tincture and prevents mold and decay in the herbs. When making a tincture, the alcohol MUST be at least 80 proof alcohol to prevent molding (yes, drinking alcohol). I have seen methods stating different kinds of alcohol can be used, but I have always has the best results using a plain (non-flavored) but decent quality vodka (like Smirnoff, Absolut, or Grey Goose), as it is generally flavorless and clear. The higher the quality of vodka, the more pure the herbal mixture, but do not go crazy and buy something extravagant, just find something that is at least double or triple distilled to guarantee the vodka has been properly carbon filtered. The beginning preparations will need a glass or ceramic container like a mason jar, but the final tincture MUST be placed in a dark amber or blue bottle, or a ceramic bottle. UV light will break the tincture down, causing it to loose shelf life and cause the herbal medicines inside to go bad faster.
Herbal Tincture :
- 80 proof alcohol (preferably vodka)
- quart mason or other glass canning jar with lid
- fresh herbs of choice
- muslin or cheesecloth
- rubber band or string
- permanent marker
- large bowl or container (for straining)
- wooden spoon
- sterile/latex gloves
- storage bottles (amber/dark blue glass or ceramic)
- Clean all containers. Air dry.
- Wash all fresh herbs.
- In quart glass jar, pack herbs into the jar until the entire container is full.
- Fill quart jar to the top with alcohol. Use butter knife to press on herbs to release all trapped air bubbles.
- Tightly close the jar, and label the jar with the starting date and finishing date.
- Store somewhere where it will not contact sunlight for a month. Remove jar only to shake it every three days.
- After a month, remove the jar.
- Using the muslin or cheesecloth, place it over the large bowl or other straining container and tightly tie it into place with a string or rubber band.
- Pour the liquid out and strain it. Press the herbs on the straining cloth with a wooden spoon to press out any extra liquid. When the jar is empty, using sterile/latex gloves, remove the cloth and squeeze with your hands to make sure all liquid is strained. Throw herbs away.
- Using a funnel, pour the strained tincture into the dark bottle or multiple bottles and label the ingredients and date. Store in a cool or dark place out of direct sunlight.
The easiest method of using the tincture is to buy a medical grade dropper and count 30 drops per 1/4th of a cup of liquid.