Making Tinctures
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Mark Santoro
Posted on: November 16, 1998

Could you tell me what is the best way to make tinctures from fresh herbs? I use tinctures a lot, mostly from the company "Gia" as their tinctures seemed the most potent to me. I would like to make tinctures that are as good if not better then what I can buy. Could you please give me a basic run down on the best approaches as well as recommend some good books on the subject? I’ve purchased a lot of herbs from you and can’t wait to make some good ol herbal remedies.

A good source of information on making herbal remedies, including tinctures, is Andrew Chevallier’s "Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" (available from Richters).

Alcoholic tinctures are easy to make. You can use any 40% liquor such as vodka or gin. Typical preparation rates are 200 grams of dried herb or 300 grams of fresh herb per liter of alcohol. (The approximate U.S. equivalents are 7 ounces of dried or 10 ounces of fresh per quart of liquor.) Dried herbs should be powdered or cut; fresh herbs should be chopped to small pieces.

You steep the herbs in alcohol for at least two weeks. The precise time is not critical as long as you allow enough time for the alcohol to extract the active constituents. Then strain, and store the liquid in amber bottles kept in a cool, dark location.

Depending on the herb and the condition being treated, the dosage rates differ widely. Chevallier’s book excellent in providing details on the dosages appropriate for various conditions.

Some of the better tinctures are made with fresh herbs. We are not familiar with the "Gia" product, but we would not be surprised that their product is made with fresh-harvested herbs. Some companies have set up elaborate schemes for preparing fresh extracts right in the field immediately after harvest.

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