Learn How to Make Alcohol-free Herbal Tinctures at Home

Learn How to Make Alcohol-free Herbal Tinctures at Home


by Colleen Cackowski

Herbal tinctures are liquid infusions of herbs that are highly concentrated.  This condensed form of an herb is easy to take, efficacious, and naturally preserved.

Depending on the substance used as a base, an herbal tincture can have a longer shelf life than the herb would on its own. Tinctures are commonly alcohol-based but other liquids can be used to preserve and concentrate the herbs and one of the best is vinegar. Apple Cider Vinegar or Superfood Cider Vinegar is especially ideal to use as a healthful base, especially for children or recovering alcoholics who want to avoid alcohol in any form.

Tinctures are potent in small quantities and easy to carry. They enter the bloodstream quickly and so are easily assimilated, especially when given under the tongue. This convenient form of herbal preparation is readily available in health food stores, but you can customize and make a relatively large quantity on your own for a fraction of the cost in just a few minutes by following these guidelines:

What You Will Need:

  • Superfood Cider or Apple Cider Vinegar

  • Your Favorite Dried Herbs (roots, leaves, bark, etc. Not powdered)

  • 1 wide-mouth glass jar with tight fitting lid

  • Clean organic cloth such as cheesecloth

  • Strainer

  • Glass or stainless steel bowl

  • Funnel

  • Dark-colored bottle with dropper

Directions:

Place herbs in your jar (1/4 – 1/3 full of dried herbs). Fill the jar with your chosen Cider Vinegar, leaving a little space at the top, and secure the lid with a ring. If your jar has a metal lid, place some plastic wrap or wax paper in between the jar and the lid to avoid corrosion of the vinegar with the metal. Make sure the herbs are completely covered with vinegar. Note: some people may want to warm the vinegar gently first before adding to your herbs to help to release the beneficial properties more easily. Alternatively, you could blend the herbs with the vinegar lightly in a blender to maximize surface area before leaving the mixture to age. This helps when you are working with larger chunks of herbs or harder pieces like roots and berries.

Label the jar with the date of preparation and list of contents. Store the jar in a cool, dark area for approximately a month, shaking it every couple of days to make sure the herbs uniformly combine with the vinegar.

After a month or 6 weeks, when you are ready to harvest the tincture, place a strainer in a clean glass or stainless steel bowl.  Line a strainer with clean cheesecloth and strain the herbs from the vinegar into the bowl. Pour slowly. When the herb is strained, press the herbs in the cloth to squeeze all the liquid out.

Compost or discard the strained herbs.

Pour the strained liquid through a funnel into a dark-glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and label the product. You can portion out your tincture into a smaller dropper bottle for daily use. The dropper will help make it easy to dispense uniform portions. A typical dose is one teaspoon of tincture for every hundred pounds of body weight.

If you store your final preparation in a refrigerator it will extend the shelf life. A vinegar preparation will not last as long as an alcohol preparation (up to one year) but many people may prefer a vinegar base for health reasons and due to the added benefits that vinegar provides. It is also easy to add an herbal vinegar as an ingredient into dressings, marinades, and other recipes for an extra nutritional boost. Culinary herbs such as oregano, tarragon, chives, or rosemary are especially amazing in a tincture for culinary purposes.

Tinctures are a great way to preserve herbs that you have an abundance of. Dried herbs lose potency with age so turning them into a tincture will maximize their potency over time.

herbs

Tips for Tincture-Making Success

  • Don’t leave too much space for air at the top of the jar. The air may cause the herb to spoil more easily.

  • For a potency boost, create your tinctures on a new moon and decant them when the moon is full. You will be working synergistically with nature’s rhythms.

  • Avoid strong direct sunlight on your tincture while it ages. You may want to place the jar on a plate in case the liquid seeps out during the maturation process.

  • Although your tincture is ready to use in four to six weeks, it is not necessary to decant it then. You can keep the herbs in the jar with vinegar for a couple of months. Make sure you date the jar when you prepare the mixture so you know how long they have been in there.

  • Avoid using white vinegar for making tinctures because white vinegar has too many chemicals used during processing that you do not want in your body.

  • Because vinegar does not have the same long-lasting preservative quality of alcohol, it is best to avoid adding water to the mixture and this is why it is better to use dried herbs instead of fresh for this purpose.

Making your own tinctures is easy and fun. Enjoy experimenting with different combinations and add them to your natural medicine cabinet!

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  • Bonnie Pickhardt

    Thanks for the detailed instructions for making tinctures, David.. It sounds very doable. Can’t wait to try.

    P.S. Your Mom’s quite an interesting Lady. There she was, out checking out the plants surrounding the hotel in Costa Mesa.

  • Teresa Mc Elhany

    Being a cancer survivor w a prognosis of 3 weeks to live has set my life on a relentless mission in search of resources which will feed my body w only the best nutrients to recondition y body in order to make it wholesale free of toxins & re riches w renewed healthy life. Thank u for these informative articles on longevity. My body thanks you as it continues to blossom w the brilliance of a glowing stabilized well balanced environment sustaining a rediscovered more vibe rant quality of life.

  • Teresa Mc Elhany

    Being a cancer survivor w a prognosis of 3 weeks to live has set my life on a relentless mission in search of resources which will feed my body w only the best nutrients to recondition y body in order to make it wholesale free of toxins & re riches w renewed healthy life. Thank u for these informative articles on longevity. My body thanks you as it continues to blossom w the brilliance of a glowing stabilized well balanced environment sustaining a rediscovered more vibe rant quality of life.

  • Eblis123

    Very nice idea..I was worried about the alcohol intake cause if you are using a herb daily for a month then it’s a lot of alcohol passing through your liver!Thank you!i will try for sure