Tinctures – All Parts of Plants and Herbs

A tincture is an herbal preparation made with alcohol and dried or fresh herbs. There are internal as well as external tinctures, internal are made with pure grain alcohol but vinegar, or distilled water can be used as a substitution. Externals can be made with isopropyl alcohol but you will need to label them external use only.

Internal Tinctures can be taken by mixing with tea, water, juice or even directly. One teaspoon taken up to three times daily should be the proper dosage for most herbal tinctures, be absolutely familiar with the herbs you are using to avoid possible allergic reactions and over-dosing. A tincture is a  most effective method of using herbal medicines. Before you begin experimenting with tinctures, be sure you know the medicinal value of each herb you plan to use. You can purchase dried and fresh herbs from your local natural food store, find an online vendor for dried herbs, or even grow them yourself.

To begin, you will need pure grain alcohol (a.k.a.: PGA), Everclear is the most well known and vodka is a sufficient replacement. You can substitute distilled water or white vinegar if you would like a non-alcoholic variation. Do not use rubbing alcohol unless you are making something for external use only such as a liniment or salve. To use rubbing alcohol in an internal tincture would be poisonous, not medicinal. You will also need about 200 grams of your dried herb (300 grams, if a fresh herb is used), cheesecloth or unused cloth diapers, mason jars, brown paper and a dark storage area.

Put your herbs in a mason jar and pour your tincture liquid (alcohol, vinegar or water) over them. Fill the jar about an inch above your herbs. Seal it tightly so that it cannot leak or evaporate. Now put your tincture-to-be in a dark area. You may want to cover it with dark paper or a towel. You will need to shake your tincture about the same time each day for about two weeks.

After two weeks of storage, take out:

  • Another mason jar
  • Your brown paper
  • Cheesecloth or cloth diaper.

Cut your cheesecloth or diaper to fit the opening of your mason jar. Take the lid off of your tincture jar, then place the cloth over its mouth. Screw the ring over the cloth, then pour the liquid into the new jar. When you have poured all of the liquid, take the straining cloth off the first jar. Take a larger piece of cloth and pour the herbs into it. Now, squeeze the remaining liquid into your tincture. Seal your tincture and wrap the mason jar in brown paper to keep out light. You should also label your tincture with exactly what is contained, whether it is for internal or external use and the date is was created. Store in a cool dark place. Your tincture should be good for roughly two years.

Folklore tells us to start preparing our tinctures on the day of the new moon. If this tincture is of magical or healing purpose, I suggest performing all operations according to planetary hours. also of note, if you begin your tincture on the new moon you will be ready to rack (transfer the contents to a new container and usually the removal of solids) the mixture on full moon.

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