Tinctures are wonderful natural health remedies that have been used for centuries. The Chinese use them frequently as they are an easy way to get the medicinal qualities of an herb in a small container – easier than the bulky herbs used to make daily teas, though those are wonderful and will be posted about later! Making a tincture is incredibly easy and really fun. You can make a whole home herbal pharmacy. And they make wonderful, inexpensive and unique gifts!
A tincture removes the essence of the herb and stores it, preserving it in a solution of alcohol, so that a few drops can be taken to receive the therapeutic effect.
To Make A Tincture
1. Place either fresh or dried herb of your choice (more on how to choose later) into a glass jar, amount based on how much tincture you want to make.
2. Pour in alcohol (vodka is usually used). Any 80-100 Proof alcohol is fine but NEVER use isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. Pour enough to completely cover the herbs, any herbs sticking out above the alcohol might grow mold and you’d have to throw out the whole batch. Pour in a little water on top.
3. Seal the jar tightly and shake.
4. Place in a dark place. Let sit for at least 2 weeks, a month is best. More than that isn’t necessary or even helpful. Shake the bottle daily or every other day.
5. When ready, strain the contents by pouring them out over a layer of cheesecloth or similar strainer. Squeeze the herbs to release any last essence. Bottle the tincture in a dark colored jar – often used are amber colored bottles with a stopper available on line at places like
6. You’re done! Enjoy your home herbal remedy.
Other useful information
1. Water can be used for non-alcoholic tinctures, you can add vinegar to help release the herbs’ essence.
2. Tinctures stored properly can last for up to 2 years.
3. A typical dose is 1 teaspoon 1-2 times a day, either straight or in water or tea.
4. When choosing which herbs to use, consult a book or website with information on loose herbs, for example acupuncture.com herbal section.
5. Some really useful tinctures are:
* Ginseng (Renshen) for energy (use American ginseng if you tend to feel hot, have high blood pressure, sweat at night or get very hot at night. Also you might want to consult a doctor on this one as ginseng can be powerful).
* Astragalus (Hunag Qi) – excellent for boosting immunity for those who are run down or get sick often. This herb is used to boost immunity but it’s thought best to discontinue once you do get sick, and restart again once you’re well. The Chinese believe it will strengthen anything in your body, including your illness once you’re sick, hence stopping it during illness.
* Angelica Root (Dang Gui) – Used for centuries to enhance fertility by boosting the blood and regulating the menses. Also good to increase energy as it is thought to nourish the blood.
* Ginger (ShenJiang) – Great for arthritis pain. Ginger has been shown to inhibit of certain kinds of inflammation associated with arthritis. Great for joint health, relieving joint stiffness and pain. Also excellent for chronic digestive complaints.
What’s so exciting is that there are hundreds of herbs that can help with just about any kind of health issue. Have fun and feel good!