Tincture. To me the word seemed like something out of an 1800’s pharmacy advertisement.
But after my herbal medicine class this spring, I realized that tinctures are a great way to preserve and take herbs. They also feel more like you are taking traditional ‘medicine.’ They keep a long time, are easy to mix in combinations based on your needs, and end up creating a nice herbal ‘apothecary’ in your house (with your stash of glass bottles.) Or, you can forget that they’re ‘tinctures’ and just make some tasty herbal liquors to serve to your friends!
Tinctures are super easy to make. You just need a few weeks of waiting time.
How to make an herbal tincture
Amanda’s Basic Tincture Method
You’ll need: Your chosen herb (fresh or dried), vodka, labels, a clear glass jar with a lid, and a dark glass jar for storage.
1) Put the herb in the clear jar. The amount is up to you. With fresh herb, try to fill it 3/4 of the jar with chopped herb. With dried herb, maybe 1/4 of the container.
2) Pour in vodka, to cover all of the herb, and ideally up to within 1/2″ inch of the top of the jar. Put the lid on.
3) LABEL. Yes, you think you’ll remember what the tincture is later, but trust me, you won’t. You definitely want to include the herb name and date. You may also want to include measurements of how much herb & vodka you put in, or where you got the herb from.
4) Place tincture out of direct sunlight and let sit for 2-3 weeks. Minimum time is 2 weeks. The longer it sits, the stronger the tincture will be. Remember to shake the jar whenever you think of it – maybe once a day.
5) Strain. Strain the herbs out of the vodka, and put the vodka into a dark glass container (not plastic!). Label this container too.
Et voila! You have a tincture! It’s a nice idea to have some tinctures on hand, depending on what your household needs are. For example, I like to keep thyme, echinachea and liquorice on hand for colds & the immune system. Also some valerian for nights I can’t sleep (I mix it into tea). I’m experimenting with some tinctures-as-liquors with liquorice, cinnamon, and dried berries… will post recipes as soon as they’re finished!
How do I use the tincture?
For health purposes, generally you take 5-10ml (about a teaspoon) of tincture at a time, mixed with a little water. You can also add a splash to herbal tea. As liquors, I usually sweeten the whole batch with some honey or fruit syrups, and then serve it in little cups.
Have you made a tincture before? What are your favorite tinctures to keep on hand?