Being already interested in nutrient dense whole foods and the concept of let food be your medicine, I have started to get more and more interested in herbs. I just finished taking an herbal course at The People’s Kitchen, where we learned how to make herbal tinctures. I was very pleased to find out that making herbal tinctures is quite easy to do.
What are Herbal Tinctures?
Herbal tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts. They are made by putting fresh or dried chopped herbs in 80 proof alcohols for an extended period of time. The alcohol needs to be 80 proof in order to avoid mold growth. Preferably vodka is used as it is flavorless, colorless, and odorless. Brandy, rum or whiskey can also be used. The herbs are then strained out and the tincture is stored in an opaque glass container away from direct light and heat. Alcohol draws out the active constituents in the herbs and also preserves them.
How are Herbal Tinctures Used?
Many people enjoy herbal tinctures due to their convenience. They have a longer shelf life than fresh or dried herbs, are easy to transport in small bottles, and are easy to use. Herbal tinctures can be added to beverages like water or tea, or they can be taken directly.
How to make Herbal Tinctures:
What you will need:
-80 Proof Alcohol (Preferably vodka but brandy, rum and whiskey can be used)
-Fresh or Dried Chopped Herbs
-Clean Glass Jar with Lid
-Dark Space or Paper Bag
-Muslin Cloth or any Clean Thin Cloth
-Opaque Glass Dropper Bottle
-Pen and Label
What to do:
- Put chopped herbs into glass jar
- Pour alcohol over herbs to fully submerge, leaving about an inch of alcohol above the herbs
- Put lid on glass jar and shake herb and alcohol mixture
- Store in dark space or in paper bag away from heat for about 1 month
- During the month, try to shake mixture daily or as often as you can remember, checking that herbs are fully submerged, if not adding more alcohol
- Place muslin cloth across strainer and place over bowl
- Pour herb and alcohol mixture through muslin cloth and strainer allowing bowl to catch liquid
- Push herb material with wooden spoon to drain more liquid
- Twist and squeeze muslin to extract any remaining liquid
- Pour liquid through funnel into opaque glass dropper bottle for storage
- Label bottle with Name of Herbs, Part of Herbs Used, and Date
Tinctures can last up to 5 years if stored away from light and heat. To learn about herbs and their different properties look them up in herbal materia medicas.
Enjoy your herbal tinctures!
-Brenda Baran, NTP