How to Make a Glycerite

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How to make an alcohol free glycerin tincture
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » How to Make a Glycerite

This is the time of year when I make a variety of different tinctures to preserve herbs for long-term use. I typically make traditional alcohol based tinctures, because they concentrate and preserve the herbs for years, but glycerin tincture are an alcohol-free option for children or those who can’t tolerate alcohol.

What is a Glycerite?

In general, a tincture is a concentrated liquid preservation of an herb or medicinal substance that preserves the herb for a long period of time and makes it easier to consume. Tinctures are one of the simplest natural remedies to make and are an in-expensive way to preserve herbs.

A glycerite or glycerin based tincture is a liquid herbal preparation that uses vegetable glycerin as the main method of extraction. Whereas traditional tinctures use alcohol as the solvent, glycerites rely on glycerin as the main (or only solvent).

Glycerin is considered a weaker solvent than alcohol, or even water, so these are not the most potent tinctures available, but they do provide an alcohol-free alternative and may be more suitable for children.

It is important to note that glycerin tinctures are absorbed more slowly that alcohol based tinctures because alcohol has quick access to the liver and the properties of these tinctures are more rapidly absorbed. Glycerin tinctures are absorbed by the gluconogenic pathway in the liver, which is about 30% slower, but which does not affect blood sugar as much.

How to Make a Glycerite

Needed supplies:

What to do:

Fill the jar 1/3 to 1/2 full with dried herbs. Filling half full will make a stronger tincture. Do not pack down.

Fill the rest of the jar (or the entire jar if not using hot water too) with glycerine and stir with a clean spoon. NOTE: Glycerine should make up more than half of the mixture to adequately preserve the tincture.

Put the lid on the jar. Leave 6-8 weeks in the jar, shaking occasionally. Strain herbs out of tincture and store in a cool, dry, place.

Optional Heat Step:

Place a wash cloth or silicon baking mat (to keep jar from breaking) in the bottom of a crock pot with a “keep warm” or very low setting. Fill the crock pot up with water to cover 3/4 of the jar (don’t cover the lid!) and turn on the lowest setting.

Keep in slow-cooker/crock pot for at least 1 day on this setting, adding water as needed (I’ve done up to two days).

Let cool, strain and use as a regular tincture.

Note: Glycerine tinctures are sweeter than others.

Types of Glycerine Tinctures

Any type of tincture can be made as a Glycerite, though some work better than others. Since Glycerin is not as strong of an extraction method, it is not recommended for bark, roots and other hard parts of a plant and are more beneficial for flowers and leaves. These basic tinctures can be adapted to be glycerin tinctures:

Ever made a glycerite? What kind did you make?

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


32 responses to “How to Make a Glycerite”

  1. julia K Carpenter Avatar
    julia K Carpenter

    how about using fresh product like pine needles? I want to use alcohol but i am concerned giving it to my 6 yr old…any thoughts on glycerin with fresh herb? thank you

  2. Rafael Garbulho Avatar
    Rafael Garbulho

    Hi there! came here to read the tips to speed up with glycerite. very useful. My add to your page is commenting I have made a WONDERFUL gin extract using all the herbs. Having this with a tonic water is A THING! Now my goal is an alcohol free bitter similar to campari.

  3. Carol Avatar

    Is it possible to use alcohol with glycerin to create a tincture for skin care, not to ingest?

  4. Heather Faro Avatar
    Heather Faro


    I’m just curious as to why you recommended a vegetable glycerin that is not organic? Does it make much of a difference?

  5. Lori Avatar

    I made a glycerin tincture with comfrey leaves and after two months of macerating, ended up with a VERY THICK gooey mess that won’t strain. I mixed some of it with alcohol (about 1:1) to thin it out so I could strain it (which of course messes up why I used glycerin in the first place). And it is so SLIPPERY that, under pressure, the cheesecloth bag keeps slipping to one side under the pressing disk. The resulting tincture is still very thick and sticky (think honey or molassas). Can I mix the rest of the VERY THICK gooey mess with water instead of alcohol? Or will it not be properly preserved? I’m thinking I just need to stick with the alcohol. My alcohol comfrey tincture pressed beautifully.

  6. Earlynn Avatar

    i am learning about tinctures. what is not clear to me is if glycerine based tinctures made with the crock pot method still have to sit 6-8 weeks before use. It sounds like they can be used immediately after 2 days in crock pot and straining. Is that it?

  7. Kathryn Avatar

    Hi! Thank you for this post. How do I make the tincture not so thick with glycerol? Is adding water a common option- after the tincture has been made? The thickness is hard to stomach.

    1. Adi Avatar

      Glycerin tinctures are supposed to have a percentage of water in them. Although she says to dampen them with water, the proper ratio is atleast 60% glycerin to 40% water. I do 70% glycerin and 30% water to make sure they preserve as long as I like.

      With alcohol, I do 60-65% to 40-45% water. You don’t need to add water only if using fresh plants that naturally have water in them. You can still do the boiling water method, just make sure you’re adding atleast 25% water to the amount of glycerin you add.

      I’ve also always had great success with glycerites personally… they work just as well for me as the alcohol tinctures. I’ve never found them to be too thick, although I know some do add alcohol to some glycerites.

      1. Jacquie Evans Avatar
        Jacquie Evans

        Thank you Adi. I read the original article and still had a few questions. Your answer helped greatly!

    2. Rosalyn Avatar

      Agreed! Mine also came out super thick, like oatmeal consistency. Grateful for Adi’s comment to add 30% water. It now looks more like a normal tincture. 🙂

  8. Donna Avatar

    Can one add powdered kaffer to the tincture like a week or two after starting it in a dark place? Will it hurt it? Is ksffir just for taste or does it heal to

  9. Marie-Eve Avatar

    Do you put the cover on the crock pot with the jar of glycerite inside? Thank you.

  10. Heather Avatar

    I have made tinctures like this before but I don’t have a crock pot anymore now that I have an Instant Pot. Do you have any suggestions on how to make the tincture in the instant pot?

    1. FeNiX Avatar

      I believe most Instant Pots should have a slow cooker function (in case you’re still wondering)…

  11. becky simpson Avatar
    becky simpson

    I was fascinated when i first found out about tinctures and i tinctured every food and spice in my house! i did clove, cinnamon, lemon peel, lemon balm, onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, turmeric, butchers broom, white willow, elderberry and the list goes on. over the past 7 years i have found the ginger tincture to be the most often used and the best for nausea and fighting inflammation. the clove and cinnamon have been great for making homemade mouthwashes. the lemon balm has helped by putting it externally on cold sores.

    1. Jess Collins Avatar
      Jess Collins

      How long do the vegetable glycerin extracts generally last, I assume shorter than alcohol based ones. Also, do they need to be stored a certain way?

      1. Hannah Avatar

        I put about a tablespoon of vodka in with the glycerine and herbs to make it last a little longer. I store a little dropper bottle on the counter and the jar of glycerite in the fridge, refilling the dropper bottle as it runs out.

  12. Jazmin Avatar

    What happens if I leave the dried herbs/glycerin in jar for 6/7 months? Is it still ok to use?
    I haven’t opened it since i put all the ingredients in.

    1. Leslie Jay Avatar
      Leslie Jay

      Not all glecerins are made from soy, I’m using one made from pine and coconut

  13. Daniel Vane Avatar
    Daniel Vane

    Can I ask for your source on the ratio of Vegetable Glycerin needed for preservation? Reason being I’m creating product and would like solid evidence that my method of preservation is fit for sale. Thanks! great blog you’ve got going.

  14. Michelle Avatar

    Katie, doesnt glycerine interfere with tooth remineralization? Are you concerned about that?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      It can, and I typically do stick to alcohol tinctures (this is one of the reasons) but when use occasionally, I wouldn’t be concerned about these types of tinctures.

  15. Ronel Avatar

    Hi Jill,

    Congratulations with the baby on the way 😀 I have a friend that also got pregnant recently and she is really battling with nausea, would you mind sharing your ginger glycerite recipe to pass on?

    Wishing you all the best

    Warm regards,

  16. Ashley Avatar

    Just was reading older post and just discovered you are pregnant CONGRATULATIONS!!!  I so glade I that you are open to life!! Lets cut the bulls*$@# this 2 babies one of each the best of both worlds is not cutting it  anymore! 50 years ago the house were smaller the families were bigger and EVERYONE was happy and healthy! Now the homes are huge the families are smaller and we are all mad!!…. plus you and your hubby make beautiful babies hope you didn’t lose the blue prints for this one;) haha!! Prayers:)

  17. Keagan Avatar

    Hey Katie. Awhile back someone asked you how much you spend on supplements a month and also asked you what you thought were the top 5 supplements you should take. There are so many out there and it can be overwhelming for someone on a budget. I do my best to take what you recommend but you’re always adding more and more and it’s getting to be too much money for me/month. -college student. So I was wondering if you would please post a top 5 that you recommend-I have high regards for your opinion. I know supplements are very individualized for a person’s need, but I’m talking a general list. Oceans alive 2.0, collagen, spirulina, gelatin, cod liver oil, magnesium, etc. Thank you–and congratulations on newest pregnancy:-)

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      Thanks for reading 🙂 The best answer to that question will actually be from experience as you see what seems to help you personally. The ones that I pack even when traveling are: Seeking Health Prenatal (during pregnancy), Ocean’s Alive, Cod Liver Oil, and Magnesium and those are the ones I would personally prioritize, but as you said, everyone is different 🙂

  18. Jill anderson Avatar
    Jill anderson

    I have an echinacea, chamomile, childrens composition, and skullcap glycerite but when I was in the beginning of this pregnancy I made a ginger glycerite which has worked out PERFECTLY so whenever I was nauseous I just squirted a dropper full into some water and sipped on it and when my kids have diarrhea or a tummy ache I give them a sippy cup of it and they call it Juice :). Now my daughter who is almost 2 just started getting car sick, so j make sure she always has her “juice” when we leave the house 🙂

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