Understanding Herbal Preparations: Tincture

Understanding Herbal Preparations: Tincture

Posted by TriLight Health on Jul 13th 2023

Herbal tinctures are one of the most widely used herbal preparations. They are also one of the oldest forms of using herbs. Cultures worldwide have stuck to this method for several reasons. One being a tincture is an easy way to preserve an herb- and therefore your harvest. Another is they are a reliable way to dose while also being flexible in their use.

What are herbal tinctures?

An herbal tincture is a liquid herbal preparation. Herbs are infused into alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin before being strained for use. They are used on their own and also as a base for other herbal preparations. Our formulas could technically be considered a tincture.

How are they used?

Typically they are taken straight or diluted in water. They can be used topically and internally. Tinctures are made for acute illness, chronic cases, and daily wellness. Depending on the herb, some need to be taken on an empty stomach while others are best as food. Certain tinctures can be added to warm water and sipped as a tea. They are an extremely versatile herbal preparation- you can even add them to a smoothie. Dosage is best done based on a person's weight. 

How are herbal tinctures made?

A liquid medium is first selected. Alcohol (generally vodka) is the most common liquid used. The proof depends on the type of herb used and if it is fresh or dry. Apple cider vinegar and glycerin are also options. 

From here, there are several different methods of soaking the herbs in their liquid medium. The most common used by home herbalists is in a glass jar. The proper ratio of liquid:herbs (depending on the liquid and herbs being used) are infused in a glass for at least two weeks. Again, the exact amount depends on the herbs, liquid, and desired tincture. 

During the soaking period, sometimes more liquid is added. The jar is shaken every few days to ensure every possible part of the herbs are covered in the liquid. The process is quite fascinating as you start to see the color of your tinctures change!

The herbs are then strained from the liquid and stored.

What herbs are commonly used?

Any herb can be used in a tincture. The biggest variation is in the amounts used, length of steeping, and liquid medium chosen. They can be made with single herbs or a combination of herbs. This is a truly versatile preparation and one that can be fun to explore. 

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