Let’s talk about one of my favorite topics…herbs! To be more specific, let’s talk about herbs for healing. I have been playing with herbs for about eight years now, and it seems with the more I learn, my desire to keeping researching grows stronger.
I do remember how frustrated I was in the beginning of my herbal journey because I got overwhelmed with instructions. Since then, I have realized that herbs don’t have to be difficult! Everything can be broken down and we can learn a little at time while we get our feet wet. Tincturing is one of my favorite ways to use herbs.
They are easy to make, last a long time, are simple to administer to adults and children (woohoo!), and are also cost effective.
What exactly is a tincture? A tincture is basically an extract of a material (we’re talking herbs here) typically made with alcohol. When the plant is submerged in the alcohol for a period of time the alcohol absorbs the properties of the herb. After the alcohol is strained from the plant, you’re left with the tincture.
Now, you don’t have to use alcohol, but I find it to be the best way to extract the goodness of the herbs. Glycerin and vinegar are also commonly used, but I feel they aren’t quite as effective as the alcohol. However, they are still great choices.
A good way to avoid the alcohol is to put the amount of tincture you are taking in a cup of boiling water so the alcohol will evaporate.
Alright, let’s get down to business and learn how to make a tincture!
Author: Jessica Young
- Glass jar with lid and ring (I typically use pints or half pints like THESE)
- Herbs, dried or fresh (my favorite herbs can be found HERE)
- Alcohol (Vodka or Rum are the preferred choices for tincturing, the cheap brands will do it!)
- Cheesecloth (like THIS)
- Mouth Funnel (like THIS one)
- A Clean Jar or Dropped Bottle (for final product)
- Make sure your jar is clean, I even sterilize my jars as I don’t want any chance of contamination.
- Put your herbs in your jar.As far as amounts go, when using dry herbs the standard proportion is 1 to 5, meaning 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol. If you are using fresh herbs, then use 1 part herb to 2 parts alcohol. (If you want to do a bit more reading on this as far as specific herbs go, Michael Moore has an extensive write-up here.)
- Cover the herb with alcohol and put on a clean lid.
- Let the herb steep for 2-4 weeks. (I like to let roots and barks steep longer than leaves and flowers). If you remember, shake them daily. If you don’t, they’ll be fine.
- It’s time to strain your herbs! Put a wide mouth funnel in a clean jar and place the cheese cloth over the funnel to pour your herbs into.Allow the tincture to drip for a bit, then you’re going to squeeze all the excess liquid out of the cheese cloth. You’ll be amazed at how much is in there!
(This is also a super fun job for little hands!)
- Put a lid on that jar and LABEL (please friends, always label!!!) your lid. You can now store in the jar or in tincture bottles for easy use.Oh, and a super helpful tip for those ordering herbs….I know the more you buy, the more you save, but trust me, a pound of loose cut leaves is A LOT! It’s better to buy in small amounts and use it up before they get old. Herbs will lose their potency over time, so more is not always better. (This is also why tinctures are great because they store without losing their herby goodness).If you are unsure of the dosing of tincture, this is a very helpful chart. It gives you a good breakdown of dosing per age in a few ways.And.that.is.it! I LOVE how easy this and you will love being able to save money by making your own tinctures. Tinctures are also great to share. Get a group of friends and make some together so you all get to try out a variety.