How to Make a Tincture
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A tincture is a type of herbal remedy that uses alcohol or vinegar to extract the active components out of the plant material.
Mason Jars for Making Tinctures
The best way to make a tincture is to use a glass mason jar with lid. Fill the jar half to 3/4’s full with the plant material called for in the recipe. This may be leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, or a combination of any parts. Cover the plant material with the vodka or vinegar. You must cover all the plant material. Mold can form on any plant material that is not completely submerged in the liquid.
Shake up the mixture in the jar at least three times a day for a 10 days to two weeks. Some recipes suggest placing the jar on a sunny windowsill and some call for a dark place. If you’re not sure which, just keep the jar on your counter top. A happy medium.
Strain the Liquid
When the time is complete, strain the plant material out from the liquid using a strainer, cheesecloth, cotton cloth or even a coffee filter. Squeeze as much of the liquid as possible out from the plant material and cloth. Tightly bottle the liquid in a dark colored glass bottle. Make sure to label your bottle with the ingredients and the date that you made it.
The tincture remedy usually calls for using 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of the tincture to 4-8 ounces of filtered water. This can vary as well depending on the plant you are using. Do your research before using any remedy!
Everclear Vodka for Making Tinctures
A tincture made with 80 proof alcohol or above will have a shelf life of many years. You will probably use it all up before it ever loses its potency or goes rancid. Vodka is a favorite choice for tinctures and Everclear is the favorite vodka to use. The high proof of the Everclear vodka works extremely well in pulling the active components out the plant material and preserving the freshness and potency of the mixture.
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar can be used if you prefer to use a vinegar versus an alcohol. Some people have an allergy to alcohol and would prefer to use the vinegar. I like to use organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar with the mother. The mother is the sediment that settles to the bottom of the bottle. This is made up of acetic acid bacteria. Some tincture recipes will call for one liquid over the other but you can always experiment and see what works best for your specific recipe.
Fresh or Dried Herbs for Making a Tincure?
One question that often comes up is should you use dried or fresh plant material. You can use either but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. The issue with using fresh material is that the fresh material might add moisture to the mixture that will introduce bacteria into your tincture. The bacteria can multiply in storage so this would defeat the purpose of your tincture. If you are using Everclear vodka, this really won’t be an issue and this is the liquid I would recommend for your tincture.
Also, remember that dried material can be more potent than fresh because it has shrunk and as a consequence, condensed its’ oils into a smaller package.
Another point to keep in mind is that some plants such as roses have very volatile oils that need to be processed immediately to preserve the active component. Fresh plant material is mandatory with any recipe that calls for that type of plant.
Tinctures are very easy to make and very effective to use. Try one with your next harvest.
May the rest of your life be the best of your life!