Tinctures absorb better than pills, they last longer and are more convenient and cost-effective. Everybody should know how to make their own Herbal Tinctures for health purposes.
Herbal Tinctures are a mixture of alcohol and water. Any type of alcohol is used such as wines, sake, brandy, or vodka (ethanol and pure grain alcohol), which most people use. Under no circumstance should rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) be used as it is poisonous, even in small doses.
The word ‘proof’ beside the number on the alcohol bottle is representative of double the actual alcohol percentage; for instance 80 ‘proof’ is 40% alcohol. If you have a permit license to buy ethyl alcohol you can mix the water in separately.
First mix your ethyl alcohol with water to dilute it to the proof you want. The mainstream ratio to use is 40% alcohol to 60% water So vodka works fine. Some countries consider 45% the ratio to be considered a tincture. You can also increase that ratio as high as 50% alcohol and 50% water or as low as 20% alcohol and 80% water depending on the desired strength. An herbal essence has an even lower percentage of alcohol in it. The higher the alcohol content the more stable long shelf life.
You will also need good quality organic or ethically wild crafted herbs (not irradiated). You can buy herbs online, in a store or it is best to grow your own.
Next, get mason jars or large brown glass bottles with seal-tight lids. If you are using dried herbs, fill the bottle 1/3 to 1/2 full with dried herbs. With roots, fill to 1/3 full because they are going to expand. Fill the remaining space in the bottle with the alcohol water mixture leaving a little room at the top for shaking purposes.
Once complete, let the mixture marinate in a dark, cool cupboard or box, for anywhere from 2 weeks to a month or longer, and be sure to gently shake the bottles every day.
After the herbs have marinated for a month, strain the mixture through unbleached hemp, cotton or muslin natural cloth. I prefer to press the root mixture in a press, but if you are using herbs a good hand squeeze will do. Bottle the liquid and correctly label it and put the date on it.
This is now your mother tincture. You can portion some of the liquid into smaller bottles or ideally in dropper bottles for greater convenience.
Taking an Herbal Tincture
Taking your Herbal Tincture is very easy to do.
Dosages vary depending on the strength of the herb. The dosage goes down as the strength or heat of the herb increases. Dosages can range anywhere from one drop to one teaspoon, or 1-5 ml, but as a general rule use one drop per pound per person.
In general for adults 2-4 dropper squeezes or a teaspoon to start will do.
Pour the herbal tincture into a measuring cup or shot glass using the dropper or a teaspoon, and then add water until it reaches one ounce. The herbal remedy is easy to consume in one gulp or shot. You can also put the tincture directly in your mouth but it is strong so be cautious! Chase it with some water. It can also be mixed with tea herbal infusions or juice. For bitter herbs I like to marinate them straight in red wine and take a spoon a day. Create your own flavoured wines.
*Those who are trying to avoid alcohol put the tincture in hot water to boil the alcohol off, like how you would prepare a tea.
Taking it hot, it has a more diaphoretic, warming effect.
Taking it cold it has a more tonic effect.
As a general rule:
Take herbs on an empty stomach for the most absorption and effectiveness.
Take vitamins, minerals, supplements with a meal for better absorption and to avoid stomach upset, unless otherwise recommended on the bottle.
Take breaks from herbs so that a resistance does not build up.
How often do I take herbs?
How often you take herbs depends on what your goal is.
Acute conditions such as fighting a cold: take herbs 4-8 times a day at an increased dosage.
Chronic conditions: take 2-4 times a day at a lower dosage.
Night time blends for sleeping requires a single dose before bed
Female herbal treatments: 1-2 weeks followed by 2-3 week breaks.
In general take herbal tinctures in cycle of three weeks of taking tincture followed by a break for a week for chronic conditions or health improvement.