How to Make Herbal Tinctures

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How to Make Herbal Tinctures
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » How to Make Herbal Tinctures

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:

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!

Herbal tinctures made from dried herbs are a great way to preserve and concentrate the benefits of the herbs. They are inexpensive to make and last for years!

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.


154 responses to “How to Make Herbal Tinctures”

  1. Daniel Avatar

    when making tinctures, can you put them in them refridgerator during the curing / extraction process instead of just a cool dark place?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      That might be too cold for them to effectively extract the herbal properties. The idea is to not have them in places where they’d get really hot, like in direct sun, a car, above the stove, etc.

  2. Chris Martin Avatar
    Chris Martin

    Hi Katie

    I was surfing through the internet for a while just to get in-depth information about the topic you wrote about and it really helped me to know more about herbal tinctures. I must say that this one is well-written and almost everything is covered in here. Keep sharing such blogs further as well. And kindly let me know how can I subscribe to the Newsletter. Thanks.

  3. Marci Avatar

    If I can’t find the dried herbs, can I add powdered herbs to the tincture along with the dried herbs I can find? Seems vodka would keep anything in it preserved but just checking.

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You could but the powdered herbs are very hard to filter out and you would need to use a little less of the powder than the cut and sifted herb.

  4. Molly Avatar

    Hi Katie, I know you’re busy but I’m planning to make some tinctures for my family and I’m dying to know the amount of water to use? I dont want to cause the tinctures to spoil from too much water. I’ll be doing pint jars with 80 proof vodka. Should there be enough water to cover the herbs? Should there be any water at the bottom of the jar or should it just be enough to be absorbed by the herbs?

  5. Eddie Avatar

    Your artcile is so detailed about how to prepare a proper tincture. Thank you! I have one question though.
    I leave in Malai and our local stores are not selling 190% proof alcohol (like everlast). On my side, I am trying to prepare the tinctures as much as closely to the recipe. I have many herbalism books which suggest certain volumes for the alcohol mentstrum. As an example for the Calendula Officinalis the recipe is 1:5 (w/v), 70% alcohol.
    Our local stores sale only 35% – 40% alcohol drinks (like vodka). Is there something that I can do for that? Like divide the alcohol and volume menstrum by 2 so my final output of the above recipe is 1:2,5 (w/v), 35% alcohol? Or I just have to stick to the folk method?
    I really would be grateful for any advice because that matter is a little bit confusing to me!
    Thank you in advance,

    1. Paul Iida Avatar
      Paul Iida

      80 PROOF as she wrote is 40% alcohol. So that should be OK to use the vodka that is available in your store. That is pretty standard.

  6. Nuwa Avatar

    How do I know my homemade tincture is made well and contains the minerals I was hoping for? Is there any way to test it.
    Thanks for your website it is helpful.

    Nu wa

  7. Marissa Avatar

    Pomegranate tincture and syrup are 2 of my favourites
    I use the fresh fruit slightly dried for these and also the dehydrated then powdered peel as both a tincture and to add to foods
    Had some excellent results with these for urinary problems like crystals in water, intestinal worms and cholesterol

  8. Sarah Avatar

    I am so confused. Are different erb tinctures done different ways? I have a friend who says 80-100 proof, because the alcohol and water ratio are 50/50 and that’s a good thing, someone else recommends everclear, but i heard that has too much alcohol vs. Water and now you’re saying to use boiling water then use alcohol. I would think if there’s too much water it could go bad??

  9. Cheeky Clark Avatar
    Cheeky Clark

    I make a sort of cayenne tincture but I don’t measure. I use vodka for other stuff and a small bottle usually last 2 or 3 years but when it gets down to about 1/4 – I’m guessing about a half cup, probably less, it’s hard to tell in a flat bottle – I just add a spoonful of extra hot, organic cayenne that I keep in the freezer. I use the tincture in a liniment and wet wipe juice (excellent for women). For the internal health effects, I use capsules. Cayenne and apricot seeds. If I ever damaged an artery, I’d just use the cayenne alone to stop the bleeding. Of course, I mix it in water for any internal bleeding.

    I also use olive leaf glycerite for cuticles and toenails because I’m old and usually dehydrated which wreaks havoc on your toenails so…you know what they say about old dogs…the glycerine rehydrates them and keeps them moisturized which will uncurl old lady toenails, ROFL! Plus, the olive leaf will disinfect everything and help soften the cuticle, which can be quite tough on toenails, plus, it keeps fungus away.

  10. Demariah Chess Avatar
    Demariah Chess

    I’m wanting to make a combination tincture but I’m not sure how to come up with how much of each herb to use. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I can’t quite find a clear answer. Hope you have some input 🙂

  11. Alejandra Avatar

    If I do this with fresh leaves, should I fill the jar with leaves and cover with alcohol? Thanks! (I’m using some citronella leaves and stems from a plant my puppy destroyed…?…I loved my plant!)

  12. Ely Avatar

    Does it matter what type of organic vodka used? Many are derived from potatoes and grains. Would this negatively effect people with autoimmune disease or a sensitivity to grains/potatoes?

  13. Julia Avatar

    I need to make a tincture of orange jasmine due to my oestophorosis. Can u advise?

  14. Melody Avatar

    Hi. Thank you for this article and all the work that you do. I have a question about making the tincture with the Apple cider vinegar. This might be obvious but I’m not sure. After I make it, like first put the herbs in the hot water and the ACV together, do I need to refrigerate it right away? Or do I leave it out while it steeps and then after I decant it, then I put it in the fridge?
    My concern is that I will forget it if I store it in the fridge right away and I won’t shake it every day…
    Also, if you mix the herbs with the hot water and then you pour the Apple cider vinegar on it while it’s still hot, does it kill the beneficial aspects of the Apple cider vinegar?

    Thank you!

    Ps. I made the chamomile tincture and it was amazing! I’ve been making it with just alcohol and I doubted the water but it came out better than any other tincture I’ve ever made before! ?

  15. Dori S Avatar

    Hi Katie. I forgot about my Oregano tincture and have left it infusing since end of Oct. I meant to strain it end of December. It’s now March. It’s been sitting in a cool, dark pantry. Can I still strain and use, or is it bad now? Thank you!

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