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“Self-education is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself, cut medical bills, and live a healthier and happier life.”
~Walt Stoll, M.D.

Making Tinctures

I recently wrote a post about the multiple uses of Stinging Nettle and I thought that it would be a good idea to follow that up by introducing you to some ways of making your own herbal medicines at home.

By far the most well-known and popular way of taking herbs is as a tea. But a very close second is the use of herbal tinctures.

A tincture is an alcoholic or acidic extract of an herb, used to concentrate the herb’s potency in a non-volatile and ingestible liquid that can be preserved for a long period of time before use.

Tinctures are often made with herbs gathered fresh in the wild, though a tincture made from a dried herb is also medicinally of high potency.

Always store tinctures in a dark, glass container to keep them pure protect them from premature degradation via sunlight. Many people keep tinctures in a dosage bottle with a squeezable dropper-top, as this makes for easier administration to the patient.

Treatment can safely be assumed to be one-dropper full 2-3 times per day. You can mix the tincture with water, juice or tea to lessen the bitter taste.

Herbal tinctures can be made in any good sized glass jar, a pickle jar is ideal. Herbs tend to be sold by the ounce and you need enough to fill your tincturing jar half way. I usually use either one or two cups. For smaller batches you can use as little as four tablespoons full.

Tinctures can be made from virtually any non-toxic herb and also from a mixture of herbs for the purposes of treating either general or very specific ailments. *Making a tincture using a powdered herb can be quote frustrating and messy, but it is doable with a bit of perseverance and patience.

It is typical to use either vodka or white vinegar as the extractive compound. The preference is really just based on taste, choose whichever one you wish.

Always buy your dried herbs from an organic source if possible and, when using fresh herbs, always be sure that you are collecting your medicinals from a location that is at least 15 feet from any roadway.

For the sake of example, we will say that we’re making a tincture of St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort is an excellent immune booster and has been proven to successfully treat even the most severe cases of depression. You can collect it’s yellow flowers from early-June to early-July in the northern hemisphere. (You need to collect A LOT of them.)

    Tincturing Herbs


    Clean glass jar with a tight-fitting top
    2 cups of fresh or dried St. John’s Wort flowers
    2 cups of vodka or white vinegar *or enough to completely cover your herbs in the jar
    A dark, cool storage place
    A piece of loose-weave muslin cloth or cheesecloth
    An elastic
    Smaller, storage bottles (with or without dropper tops)

1. Measure out your herbs and place them in the jar.

2. Pour in enough vodka/vinegar to completely cover the herbs. (Ratio tends to be 1:1)

3. Tightly cap the jar and shake it a bit. Label the jar with the contents and a date one-month into the future.

4. Place the jar right-side up in a dark, cool cupboard (not in the fridge.)

5. Write in your calender to shake and flip the jar in 14-days.

6. At one-month, remove the jar from the cabinet and strain by placing the cheesecloth over the top of the jar and securing it with an elastic band.

7. Pour the strained contents into a spouted measuring cup and then fill your dosage bottles.

8. Always label each bottle with the contents and date of expiry, usually two years in the future.

~ Don’t worry, be healthy :)