To get fast results with herbs, I suggest you try turning them into a tincture. Tinctures are really just a convenient and fast-acting form of herbal medicine that allows you to extract both water-soluble and alcohol-soluble constituents from plants, resulting in a powerful, well-rounded medicine. Tinctures are also extremely long-lasting on the shelf, lasting for years.
Unlike teas, which require us to separate leaves and flowers from roots, barks, and berries due to their structure, tinctures allow us to tincture all parts of the plant at once. In the same blend as cut and sifted herbs, powdered herbs can also be tinctured.
How to Make an Herbal Tincture
The folk method or the calculation method can both be used to make tinctures at home. For this article lets focus on the The folk method. Which is simple and straightforward, requiring only your herbs, a wide-mouth canning jar with a tight-fitting lid, alcohol, cheesecloth, and amber dropper bottles. You’ll also need a scale to weigh your herbs so you can achieve a specific herb-to-alcohol ratio if you’re using the calculation method.
WHICH ALCOHOL TO CHOOSE
Tinctures must be at least 20% ABV (40 proof) to be shelf-stable. I recommend working with an alcohol with an ABV of 40-60% to capture the widest range of both water soluble and alcohol soluble constituents (80-120 proof). The majority of vodka, brandy, rum, and gin fall into that category. Starting with vodka or brandy is a good idea because the flavors are subtle enough for you to detect the flavor of the herb(s) you’re working with.
THE FOLK METHOD FOR MAKEING TINCTURE
- Half-fill your glass jar with your favorite herb(s).
- Fill the jar with your alcohol until it reaches the top.
- Cover the jar’s mouth with parchment paper and a metal lid.
- Allow 4-6 weeks for the tincture to macerate (infuse), shaking at least once a day for the first week.
- When you’re ready to strain, cover the mouth of the jar with cheesecloth and pour the tincture into a clean jar or a large mixing bowl.
- Gather the cheesecloth and squeeze the herbs as hard as you can to extract as much alcohol as possible.
- You can either keep your tincture in the clean glass jar with the tight-fitting lid (for long-term storage, I recommend placing a new piece of parchment paper between the jar and the lid) or pour it into amber dropper bottles.
- Put the name of the herb, the date you strained it, and the percentage of alcohol you used on your tincture’s label.
- In a cool, dark place, keep the tincture.