A herbal tincture is made by steeping dried or fresh herbs in a mixture of alcohol and water. The alcohol extracts the plants active ingredients and preserves it for up 2 years.
Although any part of the plant can be used to make a tincture, they do need to be made with individual herbs. If you do want to combine some herbs for one of your home made remedies this will need to be done with fully prepared tinctures, and only combined as and when required.
You can use tinctures internally or externally in gargles, douches, compresses, liniments, mouthwashes and baths.
Making Herbal Tinctures
- Either 3 1/2 oz (100g) dried herb or 7 oz (200g) fresh herb
- 1 pint (1/2 litre) of alcohol and water mixture
Using everyday spirits –Vodka, brandy and gin already contain 50% water this can be used neat (Always use 100% or 80% proof spirits when making tinctures).
For pure alcohol (ethanol) – (do not use industrial alcohol) Use 3 parts alcohol to 2 parts distilled water (12 fl oz alcohol to 8 fl oz water for each pint of liquid used).
- Place the herbs into a good sized jar and pour the alcohol and water mix over the herbs. (brandy, gin and vodka to be used neat)
- Put a lid on the jar and give it a good old shake.
- Store it in a cool dark place for two weeks, giving it a quick shake occasionally.
- Strain the mixture through a piece of muslin or thin cloth, giving it a good wringing out to extract all the liquid.
- Bottle the mixture and label it with the content and date, as I mentioned earlier a tincture will last for about 2 years.
For gargles, douches and compresses, you must dilute one part tincture with four parts water.
For a bath, you must add one cup of tincture.
For Internal Use
- Adult dose – to be diluted in water
- Chronic conditions – 1 teaspoon three times a day
- Acute conditions – 1 teaspoon six times a day
- Children 5+ – Either 1/2 teaspoon three times a day diluted in water or 1 teaspoon mixed with an equal amount of honey.
- Infants -5 – 10 drops in a small fruit juice
Vinegars are very similar to tinctures but are made without alcohol. They were originally known as the poor men’s tincture, but they are just as effective so don’t let this put you off using them in your home made remedies.
Instead of the alcoholic liquid, use 1pts (1/2 litre) cider vinegar.
For douches, washes, baths, disinfectants and cooling drinks; use diluted with water.
- Adult dose – 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water
- Children 5+ – 1 or 2 teaspoons mixed with water
- Infants – 1/2 or 1 teaspoon mixed with honey