How To Make A Tincture

Many of us had some experience with using tinctures made by a local chemist or elder men. Some of us may have also seen it being prepared within the house for domestic and realized that it is not just a mixture of ingredients, but a result of some skill, technique and finesse. Here is an introduction for uninitiated.
How to Make a Tincture
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A TINCTURE is an alcoholic extract of a herb or a solution of a non-volatile substance like iodine or mercurochrome. To qualify as a tincture, the ethanol percentage of the alcoholic extract should be at least 40-60%. The most common forms of alcohol used for making tinctures are rum and vodka, but purer forms of ethanol with a higher percentage can also be used.

Why Make a Tincture

In current times, when everything is available on the counter or on order, there can still be some rationale for someone wanting to prepare his own tinctures. The most important reason could be the

fact that modern medicine has undermined the use of herbs to some extent. Second, making a tincture is a simple process not consuming too much of space, time or energy. Third, it would allow you to be sure about the purity and potency of the tincture. Lastly, it allows you to develop a hobby that also helps you in maintaining your own health. As a bonus, you save money as the cost of making a tincture is usually far less than buying it from a pharmacist.

Historically, tinctures became popular because of the problem faced by early pharmacists regarding uncertainty of potency of herbs and other compounds, when they were preserved in a dried form or in water based concoctions. Tinctures solved this challenge, as they remained stable over the years, were easy to prepare, carried high concentrations of medicine and were easy to carry and use.

The Items You Will Need

- Dried or fresh herbs in powdered or cut form. For one litre of liquid, you would need around 200 gm of dried or 300 gm of fresh herb plant.
- Alcohol, preferably 80 -100 proof vodka or rum.
- Wide-mouthed glass jars with lids.
- Unbleached cheesecloth or muslin.
- Labels and markers.

Step By Step Approach for Preparing A Tincture

PLAN & PREPARE- It takes a minimum of two weeks to prepare a tincture, as extraction of the medicinal extracts from the herb is a slow process. Some prefer to carry it on for a far longer period of up to six months. You should clearly draw your time table with your overall schedules in mind. Decide

the quantity that you wish to prepare and the potency of the extract. Now get all the items that you may need. That will make you ready to execute your plan.

Step 1 : If you are using a dried herb, place it in the glass jar. If you are using a fresh root them wash it, clean it and chop it before placing it in the jar. Now slowly pour alcohol in to the jar till the herbs are entirely covered. Now add another two inches of alcohol.

Step 2 : Tightly seal the jar so as to prevent any evaporation or leaking of alcohol. Place the jar in a dark area. Alternatively, put it inside a paper bag and keep it in a dark place.

Step 3 : Shake the jar at least once every day.

Step 4 : On completion of the time for which you have planned the extraction, pour the tincture through a cheesecloth into another jar or dark colored tincture bottle. Then take out the saturated herbs and squeeze them to get the last drop of the extract from them until no more drips appear.

Step 5 : Tightly close the container with a cap and place a label on it immediately to avoid a mix up

Tips on Preparing Tinctures

  • For bitter herbs, it is preferable to use rum as it helps hide their bitter taste.
  • You can also use a wine press or to extract liquid from the herbs.
  • A combination of several herbs can sometimes be combined into a tincture formula.
  • Standard dosage of a tincture varies between 10 drops to a teaspoon, taken 1-3 times daily, diluted in tea, juice or water.
  • Tinctures can last up for years when stored in a tightly closed container.

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