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I have several tincture recipes posted (including my two favorites: Chamomile Tincture and Digestion Tincture) but I realized that a post with general instructions on how to make a tincture from any herbs would be helpful.
A tincture is a concentrated liquid form of an herb that is easy to make and easy to take. Tinctures preserve and concentrate the properties of the herb, making them more effective and longer lasting.
Alcohol based tinctures have a shelf life of several years and are easy to use when needed! I keep several tinctures on hand for my kids, as they can be used externally even on small children for relief from common problems.
If you’ve ever bought tinctures from the store, I’d encourage you to try making your own, as they are very inexpensive and can be made in minutes.
Tincture Making Supplies
I make most tinctures in an alcohol base as this makes them the most long lasting, but tinctures can also be made with glycerine, vinegar or even with honey to make a syrup!
To make a tincture, you will need the following supplies:
- A clean glass jar (at least pint size) with lid
- Consumable alcohol like vodka or rum- at least 80 proof (or apple cider vinegar or food grade vegetable glycerine)
- Herbs of choice (I typically grow my own)
How to Make a Tincture
Also called an extract (in fact, the same process is used to make real vanilla extract), alcohol tinctures are the most common type and the easiest to make.
First, pick which herbs you plan to use. These are some of my favorite tinctures:
- Chamomile Tincture (great for kids, promotes restful sleep and good for skin)
- Digestion Tincture (helps with nausea, heartburn, etc)
- Sweet Dreams Tincture (I use to help little ones who are having trouble sleeping)
- Echinacea Tincture (great immune support when fighting a cold)
Fill the jar 1/3 to 1/2 full with dried herbs. Filling half full will make a stronger tincture. Do not pack down.
Pour boiling water to just dampen all of the herbs. (This step is optional but helps to draw out the beneficial properties of the herbs)
Fill the rest of the jar (or the entire jar if not using hot water too) with alcohol and stir with a clean spoon.
Put the lid on the jar. Store the jar in a cool/dry place, shaking daily, for at least three weeks and up to six months. (I usually leave herbs for six weeks)
Strain through cheesecloth and compost the herbs. Store the tincture in colored dropper bottles or clean glass jars.
NOTE: The alcohol can be evaporated before use (see below) or a tincture can be made in the same way using apple cider vinegar, though it will need to be stored in the fridge and will only last 3-6 months.
How to Use Herbal Tinctures
The standard adult dose we take is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day as needed. Kids usually get 1/4 to 1/3 of the adult dose.
For children, pregnant women, or those not wanting to consume alcohol, it can be poured into a hot liquid like tea to evaporate the alcohol before consuming.
Ever made your own herbal tinctures? What is your favorite? Share below!
Discussion (151 Comments)
you use several different recipes for making tinctures, is there one better than other or does it depend on the herbs using? Does it matter if you use water or not?
I read you should not add water as it can create mold.
I think anything in vodka would not mold or go bad.
Wow, very impressive post. For the most part, I think tinctures are far more effective than teas or straight herbs.
As well, I think your suggested tinctures would make great
curations for various herbal martinis. Thank you so much for the fabulous info and
I made this with glycerin last year and used it frequently on my daughter’s sore gums. She would have used it from 9 months until about 18 months when she apparently had some decay in her incisors. Granted her diet was not as clean as it is now. But I love to hear some of your research about glycerin since its a questionable additive to products for most people. At the time of making it I was concerned about alcohol, even with evaporating it off since many culinary people say you can’t evaporate all of it off. So that’s why I bought the glycerin. Anyway, Thaks for reading and everything you do!
I’ve been looking into tinctures for a while, but was hesitant because of the alcohol. I never thought of evaporating it! So my question is, if I do evaporate it in hot tea, how long should I wait before it’s all evaporated? I suppose the hotter the tea, the less time it takes?
I’ve heard that 10 minutes is plenty…
Excellent article and very useful
kind regards Peter
Does the boiling water need to be dispossed before adding the vodka? About how much water should be used? Thank you for sharing!
Do you have suggested herbal combinations?
I am currently making a tincture that will combat anxiety, stress, depression, and minor pain. Among many many other benefits, if you research each herb. I am including:
st johns wort is rly great too at nite. effects last into the day to keep me calm and not anxious.
magnolia with the phellodendron is what Relora is made out of…great stuff.
i also take scullcap
catnip and valerian in the formula i buy.
i have extreme insomnia. i take GABA and l-theanine too and magnesium at nite.
Rxs dont work or i would take them. so take dont take everything i do LOL
just sum other suggestions for sleepytime 🙂
Hello, thanks for the article. I was thinking recently about having a Bacopa tincture, but I’m not sure and couldn’t find an info about that if active substances in this herb dissolve in water, alcohol or fat (I really doubt the last one). Do you have any idea? If so, please, let me know (with the source please 🙂 If in water than what a sense does making a tincture make?
Best regards 🙂
Where do you order all of these herbs? Tia
I purchase them here: https://wellnessmama.com/go/mountain-rose-herbs/
I just ordered from there to make your multi vitamin tincture. Very reasonable so I ordered some Hibiscus also. I am also growing Stevia plants to make the tincture. I want to use alcohol because you say it is stronger, which means I will use less but I am worried about the evaporation process. I can’t have alcohol.
Interesting how are you liking it
Thank you for great info. I am trying to make this. How long can I store Glycerine tinctures?
At least a year from what I’ve read
This is Awesome! Thank you so much for sharing… I didn’t know much about this before reading your article. I must say I am pleasantly surprised and excited to exchange my currently methods for these.
I want to make a tincture from dried hawthorn berries. Do you think I can tincture the berries whole or do I need to crush them first? Thanks!
I haven’t tried, but I’d probably crush them if I was going to make it…
I always grind mine in a coffee grinder.
Great info! Thank you for such clear & simple instructions.
I’m drying my CA poppies for the veg glycerin tincture. Parts used? Leaves n flowers? Roots? All the aerial parts, inç stems?
When storing, does the jar need to b sealed or just closed right?