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Homemade Herbal Tinctures

Updated on April 16, 2020

Herbal Tincture

Calendula tincture in small dark bottles.
Calendula tincture in small dark bottles. | Source

Herbal Drops

Homemade herbal drops from herbs or tinctures are simple and easy to make. Take the dried herb in the form of tea, soak in the alcohol solution and let it sit for a week or more in the solution. Strain and pour into a dark glass bottle.

However, such a simple method of making herbal drops have some advantages, because the market has a lot of different manufacturers of herbal drops and a little bit of quality and effects. First things first, what do you need to know about tinctures and how to make herbal drops out of medicinal herbs.

First, there are the industrial and handmade herbal drops. There are also herbal drops from fresh and dried herbs. There is a big difference between them, what one would say the crucial one.

Commercially-made Herbal Drops

Industrial herbal drops are alcoholic - water extracts of herbs, that are standardized to a substance from the plant, so that it contains the guaranteed amount of active ingredient required. The advantage of industrial drops is that you will certainly get exactly the quantity of active substance which is specific for a plant. We'll take the example of St. John's Wort, which is standardized to hypericin participation. When the pharmacists are making herbal drops in the lab, the alcoholic extract has the required amount of hypericin, and when this level is reached, herbal drops are finished. This is an advantage when you have dried herbs of poor quality, because by adding additional herbs you are strengthening the quality of herbal drops.

You simply cannot produce manually good tincture from low quality herbs, what it is however possible at industrial production of tincture. So this is the reason why the pharmacy standardized herbal tinctures is in order to always produce the required quality. That means in practice, that whenever you buy St. John's Wort tincture, you'll always get it in a given amount of hypericin. It is the advantage of industrial herbal drops, but also its biggest flaw. Because hypericin is not the only ingredient of a medicinal herb, which has over 200 active ingredients balanced in the plant itself.

In addition, industrial herbal drops a smaller range of healing from handmade drops. They have a shorter shelf life, act differently in the body, with strong and sometimes unpleasant taste, color is darker and matt. They are more concentrated and directed towards the effect of the single active substance. Industrial herbal drops are made in a few hours, in the production process, plant is extra processed. That is why it is always recommended handmade drops instead industry tincture.


Peppermint tincture.
Peppermint tincture. | Source

Home-made Herbal Drops

Homemade herbal drops have milder taste, smell nicer and have more transparent color. They have a natural balance and medicinal substances have a wider range of effects. Homemade herbal drops, if they are well made and well filtered, when stored in a dark place in an adequate dark glass bottle, can last for years and will not lose any of its medicinal properties.

What you need to know and what you should pay an attention when making homemade herbal drops? I'll give you a few useful tips from my experience. General tips for making homemade herbal drops are:

1 The most important ingredient of herbal drops that determines their quality is the quality of the herb - quality dried herbs. If it's fresh-picked, well-dried and properly stored, if there is the active substance inside, if it is collected from healthy soil, free of parasites and disease on the leaves, there will be a good tincture. If you do not have good herbs or if it is old two or three years, you cannot produce high quality tincture.

2 Another important, but not as crucial ingredient is a high quality alcohol, or a means of extraction: brandy, vodka, diluted alcohol. It uses an alcoholic solution 45 to 50 volume% alcohol. The best is grain alcohol some volume, but vodka is often used. The alcohol should be for human use. For some plants, of which the stems, or roots of plant are used for the preparation of drops, the stronger alcohol should be used, up to 60%.

Ethyl alcohol dissolves and extracted a number of important phytochemicals (plant substances) better than water. For example, substance diosgenin from wild yam is only soluble in alcohol but not in the water. Alcohol also maintains a tincture and significantly extends the shelf life of at least five years. Some herbal ingredients such as resins, are better dissolved in such a high percentage of alcohol.

3. Extraction time is very important. Sinking in alcohol varies from plant to plant. . Roots, rhizomes, stem and bark stand in alcohol for more than two weeks, sometimes for more than a month. For example, nettle root, chicory, walnut bark. Flowering plants that have a lot of essential oil in it - sage, thyme, mint, lavender, lemon balm, should not be longer than 7 to 8 days in a tincture. Weed herbs, like nettle, dandelion, marigold, stay up to 10-14 days in an alcohol solution.

In most cases, tinctures are made of fresh plants. Fresh herb is placed into a blender along with the alcohol and mixed thoroughly. This gives a mash, through which alcohol solution reaches the individual cells of plants and pull out all the medicinal ingredients. If you have dried herbs which have to be completely shredded, inexpensive way to do this is with the help of a mortar and pestle.


Vodka is often used.
Vodka is often used. | Source


  • Herbal drops are fast-acting.
  • Tinctures don't spoil and last for a long time.
  • Herbal drops contains much more valuable medicinal compounds than water extracts.
  • They are practical, easy to care into a travel bag.
  • Making your own tinctures is a cost-effective.

The Jar

The jar must be of glass or ceramic.
The jar must be of glass or ceramic. | Source

Tincture Storage

Tincture can last up to 5 years.
Tincture can last up to 5 years. | Source

Step by Step - How To Make Homemade Herbal Drops

1. Quality alcohol

Most frequently used type of alcohol is Vodka. Vodka is a balanced mixture of clean water and methyl alcohol, odorless, tasteless and colorless. Less frequently are used brandy, whiskey or rum. Whichever type of alcohol you intend to use, pay attention to be 40-50% and for human use.

2. Use appropriate jar

The jar you are planning to use for making a tincture must be of glass or ceramic.Metal or plastic jars can react with the tincture and release substances that can be harmful to your health. So they should not be used. Later you will need a small dark bottle for storage of tincture. The bottle must be well closed in order to prevent intrusion of air. Both containers must be clean and sterilized before use.

3. Preparation

  • Fresh herbs: add fresh herbs up to 3/4 of jar, do not squeeze herbs and fill with alcohol.
  • Dried herbs: add 20% of dried herbs to 80% of alcohol.
  • Powdered herbs: add 4 ounces of powdered herbs to 16 ounces of alcohol

Stir until all bubbles are broken.

4. Seal the jar

Leave it in a cool, dark place. Leave it in a cool, dark place from a week to a month. It is recommended to shake a couple of times a day. Place the jar on a high shelf to keep them away from children and pets. Do not forget to put a sticker with the date and the name of tincture.

5. Straining

When the steeping time is over, strain the tincture as follows:

  • Over a large bowl, place sieve with muslin cloth. Pour the soaked liquid through.

6. Pouring into a bottle

Pour the tincture through a funnel into the already prepared dark bottle. If you are planning to stock for a long time, seal the bottle with wax.

7. Usage and storage

Tinctures can last up to 5 years. Follow the instructions of particular recipe in order to know for how long you can keep the tincture. If you need additional information, consult a qualified herbalist. Keep in mind that tinctures can be dangerous if you are not property introduced with the properties of the herb.

How To Make Alcohol Free Herbal Tinctures

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Tincture Recipes Suggestions

sinking time
vascular, respiratory, abdominal organs, and chronicle skin diseases
250 gr of Garlic 1l Vodka
14 days
15-20 drops daily before lunch
poor appetite, abdominal cramps
60 grams of wormwood, 10 grgentian root, 10 g calamus, 1l alcohol
10 days
15-20 drops 3x daily
digestive disturbance
4 tablespoon of juniper, 1l alcohol (60%)
10 days
10 drops every morning
½ cup dried peppermint leaves,¼ cup very finely diced fresh ginger root, ¼ cup dried fennel seeds, 1l Vodka
2-6 weeks
1 tsp can be taken straight or in water as needed

Each time before use of tincture consult with your doctor or specialist.

Please Pay Attention

  • Before you begin, read and learn a lot from books and articles or consult with herbalist.
  • You must be 100% sure that you are using the right plant.
  • Do not use plants treated with pesticides.
  • Do not collect herbs near the roadsides or commercial farm fields.

What kind of of tincture would you rather use?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 Nikolic Predrag


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