5 Basic Steps To Making Your Own Tinctures & Herbal Remedies - Supplies, Basic Science, Research, Precautions and Technique of Tincture Making
2012-08-08 13:06:37
Jen - dog tinctures
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There are a lot of things to consider when it comes time to make your tinctures and herbal remedies. Since each plant is different, it is impossible to explain how to make every Tincture in just one article. Instead, what we are going to do here is discuss some of the basics of Tincture making so that you can be well on your way in no time at all.

Always find a good book or other reliable resource that can specifically detail the recipe for how to make a Tincture you are interested in. This is just general info!


First: The Necessary Supplies for Herbal Remedies Known As Tinctures


There are several things that make it easy to make this form of herbal medicine. You are probably going to need, at the bare minimum:

  • Glass jars.

  • Alcohol.

  • Glycerin if the plant contains tannins.

  • Vinegar if this is your main medium.

  • Distilled water.

  • A strainer of some kind.

  • Labels, which can be made of duct tape and a permanent marker if need be.


Then, there are some things that help you with the finer details, such as:

  • Small glass Tincture bottles with droppers.

  • Larger glass bottles for bulk Tincture.

  • Tincture press (but the strainer will work fine)

The way to figure out the necessary supplies is to read about how to make the particular Tincture or natural remedy you want to make. A Tincture of Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) is going to require different materials than a Tincture of Tulsi (Ocimum Sanctum). This is because they contain different levels of alkaloids and tannins.


Second: The Science Of These Natural Herbal Remedies


There is a very detailed science to the art of tinctures. There are many things that an herb can contain that cause it to take a certain action on the human body. For instance, there are:

  • Alkaloids.

  • Tannins.

  • Resins.

  • Volatile oils.

  • Glycosides.

  • Bitter oils.

  • Sugars.

  • Nutrients.


Now, this is not an in-depth scientific article. Instead, what you need to understand here is that what you are extracting is going to differ depending on the solvent you use. If you made a tea with Nettle (Urtica Dioica) for example, you would be extracting nutritive properties in the water. If you made a nettle alcohol Tincture, you would lose much of those nutrients, but you would have a concentrated version of any alkaloids or other materials that were extracted by the alcohol.



Third: The Research You Can Do To Find How To Make A Tincture Of Your Choice


Now, you see how each plant would require a different proportion of solvents. Some plants will Tincture best in half alcohol, half water. Others will be fine if you simply pour vodka on them. Many herbalists use grain alcohol because as it is 100%, you can easily mix it with distilled water for the precise proportion. This is best for plants that require a higher percentage of alcohol than is available in standard liquors.


Remember that many herbalists have done the work for you. Instead of experimenting and trying to find which exact percentage of alcohol is going to extract the constituents you want, you can read books by Richo Cech and Susun Weed to help you to make the ideal concoction.


What you want to do is to find the exact proportions for your plant by looking at what reliable resources suggest. For example, if you wanted to make a Tincture of fresh RED CLOVER blossoms, you would see that most people do it with 1 part plant to 2 parts solvent (written as 1:2) and 75 percent alcohol to 25 percent water, (written as 75A:25W).


If you wanted to use the dry plant, you would see that the ratio becomes 1:5 and 50A:50W. This is because the dried herb has no water in it to begin with, whereas the fresh plant does.


You will want to find a trusted resource for your Tincture proportions and make them accordingly so that your natural herbal remedies are made with maximum healing power.


Fourth: Timing Must Be Considered For Optimal Healing Power Of Your  Natural Remedies!


It is not as easy as skipping outside to make & consume the Tincture as soon as you think about it. Instead, you will want to do a little bit of planning. Each plant has a certain time when it is most potent. In the spring, for instance, energy is going up into the blossoms of most plants. In the fall, the energy is usually settling down into the roots as the plant prepares to go to seed. You want to make your tinctures in accordance with these cycles, which will involve research on the individual plant of your choosing.


You also will want to wait for the plant to be dry. That doesn't mean waiting until the day after a rain storm, it means waiting at least three days after a storm for lots of plants. If you are making an herbal oil, you will see that it can go rancid incredibly easily depending on the plant and how long it has been dry. St. John's Wort, (Hypericum perforatum) retains moisture for much longer than Comfrey (Symphytum officinale).


The more alcohol you have, the less it will really matter whether or not your plant has been dry for three days or not. Still, you want it as dry as possible while still being fresh.


Fifth: The Process


Most basically, you are going to fill jars with the plant all chopped up and then pour your alcohol, glycerin, and water onto them in the right proportion. You will shake them frequently and keep them in a cool, dry, dark place. They will slowly extract and after four to six months, you can strain out the plant matter and bottle the Tincture after that. 


There are extra things you can do, as well. For instance, you can make a Tincture of Echinacea flowers and let it sit all summer, and then strain those flowers but add the roots of the same plants in the fall. Then you will have a strong Tincture of roots and flowers, which makes you feel like you are the boss of the cold season. 


Precautions To Consider Before Making Any Of Your Own Herbal Remedies

The important thing when it comes to making tinctures and many types is that you know what you are harvesting. If you are a beginner, look out for poisonous look-a-likes that can be easy to mistake for common healing herbs. You should not make or consume a single drop of a Tincture without talking to a professional herbalist or botanist.


The best thing to do is to take a class yourself. Find your nearest local herbalist who offers apprenticeships and get on board. It is amazing what you can learn in a group. Your herbal teacher can then show you many types of herbal remedies that you can make and point out the specific precautions in your area.


Do you remember the first Tincture you ever made?

How did it feel to consume it?

Have you ever helped someone to get better from a sickness with one of your tinctures or other herbal remedies?

comment view all comments (4)
Jennifer Stuart 2012-09-19 12:20:03
You are welcome, April! Feel free to contribute to conversations in the forum here as well. I bet you have some great home remedy ideas! :)
April Holman 2012-09-18 07:55:31
I've always had so many questions when it comes to tinctures and this really helps round out my knowledge. Thank you for filling in those gaps!