Making Herbal Tinctures
What Is an Herbal Tincture?
Throughout history, people have used herbs for their medicinal benefits. An herb, by definition, is simply a plant that is known for it's aroma, flavor, or medicinal benefits. Did you know that the active ingredients in many pharmaceutical drugs come from plants?
Herbs can be used for treating various ailments. There are many ways to use herbs, cooking, personal care and cosmetics, teas, infusions and tinctures. Herbal tinctures are the most concentrated plant extracts and are the most like medicine of all the at home herbal preparations. Herbal tincturing is at home medicine making.
How Do You Make an Herbal Tincture?
A brief description of herbal tincture making is to chop the plant material to expose plant to a menstruum. Mentstruum is simply a liquid used to extract the medicinal components of the plant. Cover the plant in the menstruum and allow it to sit for 2 weeks. The mixture should be in glass a glass jar and shaken daily. At the end of 2 weeks the herb is strained from the menstruum and discarded. The menstruum has absorbed the medicinal components of the plant and has become an herbal tincture. Herbal tincture should be stored in dark glass bottles with a dropper.
What is Menstruum?
Menstruum is general vodka, when making a true herbal tincture. Vinegar can be used, it is safer than alcohol, but is less effective at leaching out the medicinal components of the plant. When tincturing dried herbs, water is mixed with the vodka or alcohol. The ratio of vodka or vinegar to water depends on the plant material being used. For that reason, I always recommend consulting a recipe specifically for the herb being tinctured.
General Recipe and Ratios for Making Vodka Herbal Tinctures
General Recipe and Ratios for Making Vinegar Herbal Tinctures
Herb Specific Recipes
Herbal Tincture Recipes
As I mentioned above the amount of water and vodka or vinegar in an herbal tincture depends on the herb and whether it is fresh or dried. I have gathered a collection of the BEST tincture recipes for several commonly used herbs. Each of the recipes contain information on the medicinal uses of the herb and dosage information.
Arnica Herbal Tincture Recipe
Cayenne Herbal Tincture Recipe
Dandelion Root Herbal Tincture Recipe
Garlic Herbal Tincture Recipe
Lemon Balm Herbal Tincture Recipe
Stinging Nettle Herbal Tincture Recipe
Are Herbal Tinctures Safe?
Safety of Herbal Tinctures
Herbs are commonly consumed and as herbal tea drinkers can tell you, they are generally safe. As with any plant, you must know what it is before you consume it. So, if you are purchasing your herbs at a health food store, and the herbs are being sold for consumption, they are no more dangerous than a tomato at the supermarket. The problem with herbs purchased at a store, is that they have generally been stored much longer than a homegrown herb and have lost much of their potency and benefits. Homegrown herbs are much more colorful, aromatic, flavorful, and potent. If you are considering growing your own herbs, you must know what you are doing. Never eat anything that you are not certain you can positively identify.
Another factor that plays into the safety of making herbal tinctures is the amount of herb consumed. Herbal tinctures increase the potency of an herb and preserve the herb at the same time. Anything in excess can be dangerous, so do not overuse an herbal tincture. A few drops of tincture goes a long way, follow the dosage guidelines carefully. Novice herbalists, and herbal tincture makers, shouldn't give tincture to children if they are not sure what they are doing.
Herbal Tincture Alternatives
Other Method of Take Herbs Besides Tincture
If making herbal tincture sounds like to much trouble, or you prefer the herb in a more natural form to reap their benefits. Two of the easiest ways to do this are by making herbal tea, also known as decoctions and infusions, and taking the herb in it's whole form. Some herbs may be too bitter, or unpalatable in their whole form, so you can grind them up and place them in capsules to make herbal pills also.