HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HERBAL TINCTURES?

 

Ingredients:

 1. While you may use herbs that are cut & sifted with good results, you will generally get a stronger tincture by using powdered herbs.

Attempt to make sure they have not been powdered for a long time, as this will decrease potency.

 2. You need grain alcohol. People commonly use Vodka, but Vodka is half water and half alcohol. Why not, then, just buy pure alcohol for the same price, and buy water cheaper? The common brand of pure alcohol to get is "Everclear", and can be purchased at nearly any liquor store. You will get a better deal if you buy a liter as opposed to the "fifth".

(4/5 of a qt.) Not everyone carries the liter, however.

 3. The good & bad side to glycerin. Some people make tinctures called "Glycerites" . These are herbal tinctures which use pure vegetable glycerin as the solvent instead of alcohol. The advantage is that vegetable glycerin is sweet to the taste, and therefore good to make for children who may have a hard time with the Goldenseal tincture! The bad news is that the children will also like it because it is not as efficient of a solvent as alcohol, and therefore will not extract as much of the herbal virtue from the herbs, and the tincture will therefore taste better, not just because glycerin is sweet, but because less of a bad tasting herb tastes better. But they have their place in the realm of either children, or with Liver patients who are convinced that even the small amount of alcohol in a teaspoon of tincture is going to compromise their health.

 4. Use any source of good purified water. Do not under use tap water. If its city water, it will generally have chlorine, and if its well water, it will generally be very high in minerals..

5. You will need a good jar that has a sealing lid. We use gallon jars, but most people don't need that much tincture.

 PROPORTIONS

 1. Every herb is different when it comes to what solvents work best with it, and how much should be used. Some herbs do best with a 60% alcohol!

40% water ratio.

Some need only 20-30% alcohol. For the present purposes, suffice it to say that simply mixing your alcohol with RIO water 50/50 will work fine with almost anything. It may be overkill on some herbs, but that will not hurt anything.

2. There is some difference of opinion as to proportions. . Many tincture manufacturers will tell you that they use 2-3 pounds of herb per gallon of finished tincture. That is pretty good. But they are not telling you a recipe by telling you that, because you always lose some liquid in the press. They likely started out with a gallon and a half of liquid, (alcohol & water), which means that they are using approximately 3 qts. liquid per pound and a half of herb. This is a good formula. Others do it by volume.

They will say that they make a "1 to 1" ratio tincture, (by volume), by which they mean that they will use, say, 1 gallon of herb to 1 gallon of liquid. Those who use this method boast the 1 to 1 ratio as their strongest tincture, when in fact, it may be quite a weak recipe. I would avoid such recipe's, because it is entirely a relative measurement. Hops flowers, for instance weigh very little per their volume. Goldenseal, on the other hand, is very heavy per its volume. If you make a "1 to 1" volume tincture using both of these herbs, the result will be entirely unequal when comparing the strength and value of the tincture.

 F or this reason the former method is recommended by weight, not by volume.

 Use this general rule, then: Mix two pounds of herbs to one gallon of  liquid.

(50/50 water & alcohol) That means that if you want to make a quart of  tincture that you will want to use a half a pound of herb.

Or, likewise, if you want to use a pound of herb, then use two quarts of  liquid.

Simply apply the rule to whatever amount you wish to make; or improvise on your own. We have found that using 3 quarts of  water/alcohol mix  with 1 1/2 pounds of herbs works great, as it all fits well inside a one  gallon jar.

METHOD

 1. Combine all elements in a glass jar that will not leak when you shake it.

Keep in mind that the surface tension of water and alcohol is much less than plain water alone. For this reason tincture will leak more easily, and you must make sure that you have a good sealing jar. Test it first with some water.

 2. If you are using powdered herbs, (recommended), watch for clotting of the herbs into clumps. (Some herbs are more prone to this than others.) These clumps must be broken up when first mixing them, or they cannot leach into the solution. If vigorous shaking doe_doesn't do it, take the lid off again and stir it up with some sort of agitator. Make sure you wipe off your lid and rim before resealing.

3. Let this sit for at least a month, shaking it daily. Two months would be even better. If you forget to shake it for a day or two, it is no big thing, but the more you shake it the less likely it will be to clump up, and the better will be your tincture.

4. Now comes the hard part Separating your tincture.

a) The way this is done is with a tincture press. For the home tincture maker, it is impractical for him to consider purchasing a regular tincture press, as they are all quite expensive, and, in our opinion, grossly overpriced, we recommend making your own tincture press If you don't wish to make a press, you may wish to try some of the other methods, though they will prove grossly unsatisfactory when compared to a press, and will waste a great deal of good tincture.b) Pour the "menstrum" (the mixed herbs, water & alcohol), into a cloth,  and squish out as much tincture as you can.

Use you imagination, but be forewarned; it can be messy. Then take the remainder and put it in a centrifugal juicer such as an Acme, or Omega, and spin out as much as you can c) Gerry rig some sort of  pressing device, using the general pressing methodology The general procedure is to  take a canister and a cloth bag, and a "follower". You put the bag into the canister, and pour your unpressed tincture into the bag, and then put the follower, (any round disk that will fit well into the top of  .the canister), and press out the tincture with your pressing device. The tincture may either escape by tipping the whole device over so as the tincture pours out the top into a bowl, or by having a spout in the bottom of the canister for the tincture to escape, and drain into a receptacle. For a pressing device a C-Clamp would work well, or a cheese press.

 

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Dan Schumacher

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