Herbs are very versatile, and you can use them for various applications – It all depends on what you intend to use them for. For example, if you get a cut or scrape on your knee, you can use your herbs to make a salve. Or, if you’re feeling a bit parched and want to make something refreshing and healthy at the same time, you can use herbs to make a delicious iced tea. These are known as tinctures. And through the simple-to-follow details below, educate yourself on how to use herbal tinctures and the process of making them.
What are Herbal Tinctures?
Tinctures are the best way to draw out your herbs’ medicinal value – And if you’re a herb grower, you’re fully aware that your herbs have plenty of healthy and medicinal properties in them. What’s great about the nutrients stored in your herbs is that they can last for lengthy periods, allowing you to use them for up to several months, even up to a year.
It’s pretty easy to make an herbal tincture, especially if you’re a professional herb grower. Since tinctures are concentrated liquid, their primary source is usually several herbs soaked in vinegar or alcoholic solution for a lengthy period. This can last for a couple of weeks or even up to a month. The reason why alcohol is the main ingredient in creating tinctures is that it has elements that can extract components from herbs, such as alkaloids and resins – Two ingredients that aren’t water-soluble.
One might think that creating tinctures only requires the herb’s leaves. But many of them do include other parts of the plant – It all depends on the maker’s preference and what they intend to use the tinctures for. Aside from the leaves, some of the most common herb parts found in tinctures include:
- The berries
- The roots
- The bark
And for the leaves, you can opt for either dry, fresh, or even a combination of both.
Where to Buy Herbal Tinctures?
If you want to get your hands on a tincture, then you’ll be pleased to know that they’re straightforward to buy. Plenty of them can be found inside drug stores or grocery stores. However, tinctures are more common in wellness and health stores, either online or in real life. There are loads of stores on social media sites with marketplace features that sell authentic tinctures either in their pure liquid form or ready-made as salves, balms, or powdered drinks. An excellent example of an herbal tincture commonly found in online stores is the 1500mg delta 8 THC tincture.
An important thing to remember here is that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved or regulated the usage or manufacturing of herbal tinctures. This is why if you intend on using herbal tinctures in your daily life, please consult a doctor first, especially if you’re taking other forms of medication.
Despite mentioning earlier that making herbal tinctures is easy, making one in your own home is not safe. You should leave the process of making herbal tinctures to professionals instead. Creating herbal tinctures is considered unsafe because of the amount of alcohol mixed inside the herbs. The alcohol can bring out the toxic ingredients of the herbs, and when humans inhale the fumes or if they end up ingesting the herb and alcohol mixture, it can be harmful to their health.
To learn how to make herbal tinctures in a professional and safe environment, you first need to educate yourself on which parts of an herbal plant are safe to use for humans.
Basic Steps: How to Make Herbal Tinctures
This process is the most common method on how to make herbal tinctures, according to experts:
- Gather up the leaves (or any part you might deem helpful in your tincture – berries, bark, etc.) and get rid of the unwanted parts.
- Wash the parts thoroughly
- Use a utility knife, a sharp chef’s knife or a butcher’s knife to cut the parts into fine or coarse pieces.
- Grab an airtight container – Preferably a glass jar – And stuff the chopped parts inside.
- Pour some vinegar and alcohol inside your jar, and seal it shut. Don’t just pour in any amount: For dried parts, use a 1-4 ratio and for fresh parts, use a 1-1 ratio.
The number of water-soluble ingredients found inside your chopped parts will impact the concentration of alcohol that you pour into the jar. For instance, if your parts contain more water-soluble components it will require you to pour in a type of alcohol with 80-100 proof, while the ones with the least amount of water-soluble components will need alcohol that has proof 180 or more. The alcohol is the menstruum, while the chopped-up herbs in the jar will now be called macerate.
How do you know if an herb is water-soluble? It’s pretty straightforward – A water-soluble herb will easily dissolve when you stir it in a cup of tea or even if you use it as an ingredient in soup. An excellent example of water-soluble herbs includes mint, parsley, or dill. Meanwhile, a less water-soluble herb contains fatter. They have a woody texture, with a waxy feel in their leaves. And when you take a bite of one, it tastes a bit like resin. The same can be said for aromatic types of bark or roots. Bay, oregano, and rosemary are suitable herbs that are non-water-soluble. If you’re using these herbs, then go for 70-percent alcohol. Everclear is a good option, but it’s banned in several states.
The next step is to seal the jar shut for at least one month or six weeks. The amount of time will give the alcohol enough opportunity to absorb the numerous active components found in the herbs. Be sure to shake the jar every few days. Covering the jar and shaking it will prevent mold from growing in your macerate.
After six weeks, it’s time to open up the jar. The next step would be to strain and separate the liquid from the plant parts. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves for this particular step, as opening up the jar can release toxic fumes in the air, which is very harmful to the body when inhaled. If you’re making multiple versions of tinctures, make sure to label each jar with some basic information regarding the tincture. This includes the following:
- The date when it was created
- Instructions on how to use the tincture
- The amount of alcohol used in the tincture and its concentration.
- The name of the plants or herbs used in the tincture. You can use the common name, the scientific name, or both.
- The parts of the plants used, and whether you used dried or fresh parts for the tincture
Sometimes you might want a bit of consistency when it comes to the types of tinctures you make so that the number of alkaloids and glycosides will remain the same with every use of tincture.
To test out your brand new herbal tincture, fill a dropper with the liquid and place a small amount into your mouth – Be sure to place the liquid underneath your tongue. Hold it in your mouth for a couple of seconds before swallowing. Then gargle and rinse your mouth soon afterwards to remove the bitter taste. The amount of tincture drops to ingest depends on how old they are. However, the recommended dosage should be up to two tiny total drops. Never give tincture drops to children or infants.
Why Do We Enjoy Making and Using Herbal Tinctures?
According to professional herbal tincture makers, there is something quite therapeutic about making and using tinctures in their daily lives. It’s pretty similar to uncovering a plant’s deepest secrets. This could mean a lot for people who grow and harvest their herbs, especially if they intend on using them for different purposes aside from this one. It feels a lot different than opening up a cellophane jacket containing herbal tea leaves or a liquid tincture in its raw form using a dropper bottle. Thanks to their packaging, these two products are merely purchased from health and wellness stores or at drug stores.
Even though the process of making one’s herbal tinctures aren’t complicated, they do feel rewarding once you open up that jar of herbs and see the product that you have tirelessly made with your own eyes. And not only that, these herbal tinctures do provide you with complex rewards that aren’t just about the effort that you have made with the product. You’ll get to know more about the plant’s character and awaken the gatherer within you. If you have been making tinctures for a while now, you are aware that each plant contains a unique trait that helps it support life.
Tincture-making, and the art of taking care of herbs in general, goes back much longer than you think. But herbalists from past generations didn’t have the internet or smartphones to help them out. They learned and honed their craft by spending time with nature and using the classic trial-and-error method to create the best kind of tincture. Then once they’ve perfected the proper method of making tinctures, they pass this knowledge to the next generation, and so on.
If you grow your herbs and master the process of making tinctures, you will find yourself carrying on a tradition, or perhaps you can start a new one for you, your friends, or your family.
Planning to turn tincture-making into a career? The most common way to do it is the old-fashioned way, known as the ‘simpler’s method’ or the ‘folk method.’ This requires nothing but a couple of essential tools, such as a jar, chopped fresh or dried herbs, a mask and gloves, some alcohol, and your eyes.
If you want to create the best kind of tincture to let your business grow, then be sure to use the correct type of alcohol that’s compatible with the herb you’re using. Novice tincture makers usually go for 80-proof vodka because it’s strong but contains no flavouring. And not only that, its alcohol content is strong enough to work with both fresh and dry herbs.
Risks and Side Effects of Herbal Tincture Ingestion
Ingesting herbal tinctures isn’t always a good thing – They can also have harmful side effects. There is a strong misconception that something that is ‘all-natural’ or made from herbs is always a safe and healthy thing – That is not the case here. If you’re considering purchasing a herbal tincture, please consider the following:
- Possible allergic reactions
- Potential interactions with daily medications or vitamins
- You should also look at other ways to use tinctures, as ingesting it in its purest form can be toxic.
Always consult a doctor first if you plan on using herbal tinctures in your daily life. It also helps if you do some research on the plants included in the tincture first to see if they can have potentially harmful side effects on your body.
And as mentioned earlier, the fumes that emanate from tincture jars when opened can be potentially toxic to one’s health when inhaled. This is why it is often suggested that you purchase tinctures from a reliable online seller or health store instead of making them yourself, especially when you’re about to try them out for the first time.
But if you know your stuff about tinctures and want to make them inside a professional environment, then be prepared to be fully knowledgeable about the plant or herb you’re using. Understand that there is a potential for pesticide exposure or toxicity before attempting to make one yourself.
Plants or Herbs Used for Making Herbal Tinctures
This plant is very effective in making herbal tinctures. It can stop any bleeding, whether it’s a massive wound, nose bleeds, small cuts, or even hemorrhaging of internal organs such as lungs, kidneys or the uterus. Another advantage is that it can grow in all sorts of climates, from warm to cool – Sprouting and growing in harsh soil. The only negative thing about owning this plant is that the tinctures it produces taste bitter and don’t smell too good. But the efficacy of its tinctures outweighs those two traits.
Propolis is a substance produced by bees. Even though there is little knowledge about this particular substance, the tinctures it produces can treat skin disorders and other kinds of allergies. Propolis is just one of the many healthy substances produced by bees, apart from royal jelly, honey, and beeswax. Propolis is also great for healing acne scars and wounds. Propolis also reduces skin allergies or itchiness.
White willow is a natural analgesic, and it can work as a pain reliever. Aspirin has white willow bark as one of its main ingredients. Creating a tincture from white willow means making an all-natural pain reliever. White willow tinctures can cure headaches or toothaches. And not only that, but it also helps treat conditions such as jaundice (yellowing of the skin, commonly seen in infants) by cleansing the liver. White willow is an excellent herb to have around if you want to make tinctures.
Turmeric is an ingredient often used in South Asian cuisine or as an ingredient in tea. It contains a component called curcumin, which also works as an antioxidant. Turmeric is considered a spice, either used to brighten up dishes because of its yellow hue or give it flavour. Because of this, turmeric-based tinctures often come in powder instead of liquids. These turmeric tinctures are added to drinks to help relieve inflammation or indigestion. Curcumin is also great at relieving joint pain and arthritis. However, it’s not as effective as drinking an ibuprofen tablet.
Valerian root is a plant known for its rather pungent smell. But that aside, it’s got plenty of scientifically-backed uses, which makes it a good staple in your herb garden if you intend on making herbal tinctures for yourself or business purposes. Valerian root contains plenty of ingredients to help you relax and fall asleep very quickly. It also relaxes muscles.
Other uses for valerian root tinctures include relieving muscle pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, and arthritis. It could also help insomniacs sleep much faster because of its relaxing qualities.
This is one of the most common types of herbal tinctures. Despite its controversy, cannabis-based tinctures can carry several health benefits. Experts have since recognized that cannabis-based herbal tinctures can treat pain and other more severe conditions such as seizures and nausea.
You can find plenty of cannabis-based herbal tinctures, a good example being the Lemonade Delta 8 THC Tincture – 1500mg. Cannabis-based herbal tinctures remain controversial among the public. The FDA has only approved three types of cannabis components, all of which can be found in tinctures: Cannabidol (also known as CBD), nabilone, and dronabinol.
Cannabis-based tinctures are mixed in drinks or food to turn them into edibles. Some people choose to take the tincture as is – By placing a small drop or two underneath the tongue, then swallowing it after a few seconds. Those with skin conditions will rub the tinctures onto the affected area as a topical product.
The FDA has stated that it’s illegal for manufacturers to create supplements, including tinctures, made from cannabis. So if you plan on purchasing cannabis tinctures or opening up your cannabis tincture shop, then be sure to check with your state’s local marijuana laws first before taking the next step.
This is another fairly common one, perhaps the most common tincture ingredient from this entire list. Garlic works as a natural antibiotic with the same function as tetracycline or even penicillin. After purchasing or creating your tincture, you can stir it in your tap water and gargle it to cure strep throat or itchiness of the throat.
People who have ear infections will also place one drop of garlic tincture in their ears to cure it. You can also take it orally as a substitute for antibiotics.
Benzoins are an essential oil that helps cure all sorts of skin issues or irritations. It is a highly effective ingredient in treating allergies or curing small cuts. Back in the day, people would apply a drop of benzoins on top of fresh cuts or wounds to cure it before applying a bandage or gauze on top. Benzoins also contain ingredients that can make skin stronger.
It is not recommended that you ingest benzoins because they contain toxic chemicals. It’s only safe for topical usage.
Ginger can be consumed in many different ways – Candied, mixed with tea, as an ingredient in soups, or whatnot – But it also works as an herbal tincture. This type of tincture can cure upset stomachs or dizziness. It also goes well with a peppermint-based tincture because their flavours will complement each other nicely. Ginger’s main ingredient, gingerol, contains anti-inflammatory properties and antibacterial ingredients. It also enhances blood circulation.
Final tip: Keep your tinctures (or herbs inside a dark and cool cardboard if you make your own). The cabinet where you store in your spice rack works as well. Storing herbal tinctures inside a moist or warm cabinet will cause it to lose its effects.