How to Make a Tincture

Learn how to make a tincture with these straight forward instructions. Making herbal tinctures is a process that extracts and preserves the medicinal properties of herbs.

Materials needed to make a tincture

  • Sterile glass jars with lids, preferably coloured amber, blue or green
  • Food-Grade Glycerine or Brandy, 40% proof
  • Spring Water
  • Measuring Cup
  • Pestle and Mortar, optional
  • Scale for weighing the herbs, but is not absolutely necessary
  • Non-Metallic Strainer
  • Sterilised cheesecloth or unbleached coffee filters
  • Glass Storage container, preferably coloured, with a dropper lid

How to make a tincture

The amount of herbs used is usually 2 oz or 20 grams of herb materials to 100 ml of liquid using 50% brandy and 50% spring water. The herbs are either ground with a pestle and mortar or chopped fine to make the largest amount of raw herb matter available for extraction. I prefer to measure by eye and use a hefty handful of leaves, then I chop them up before adding them to the liquid.

Allow your tincture to steep for a number of days, depending on how strong you wish the mixture to be. A good number is seven, after which you will strain it into a sterile, coloured glass container and store it away from the light. Shaking it daily is a good idea, as the movement helps release the phytochemicals into the liquid faster than if allowed to stand undisturbed.

Alcoholic tinctures can be stored for years with no loss of potency.

Making tinctures using glycerine

Preserving herbs and extracting their healing chemicals in Glycerine is very useful when the person taking the preparation is sensitive to alcohol or when the person is a child. Furthermore, glycerine is slightly sweet and is more palatable, making the herbal medicine easier to take. Its preservation quality, however, is much less than alcohol, so glycerine preparations need to be refrigerated and used within two weeks of making them.

How to make a tincture using glycerine

To make a glycerine tincture, the liquid proportions are the same as with an alcoholic tincture: use 50% water and 50% glycerine for extraction. Let stand in the refrigerator for four days before use, and keep only for a maximum of three weeks in this cold temperature.

How to use herbal tinctures

The dosage for a tincture or glycerine preparation is measured in drops and will be determined by the herb being used and the condition for which it is used. Tinctured herb drops can be added to hot herbal teas and infusions, making the alcohol evaporate, and then given to children or alcohol-sensitive individuals.

Please see this important caution regarding the safe use of herbs.

by Raymonde Savoie Johnson
Pl. Sc. Tech., Herbal Consultant

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