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Three Reasons to Make and Use Tinctures

When we as herbalists talk about tinctures, we often mention making them the "folk method", meaning the way in which peoples have made medicine for generations- But who were these folks?

My ancestors are enslaved peoples- they made herbal preparations with ingredients that were both accessible and also cost efficient. Grain Alcohol was costly and harder to come by, so they often used herbal infusions or decoctions.

So, what is a tincture?

A tincture is an extraction of herbs in alcohol and water (that may or may not be added in the process). Grain Alcohol contains water, you can determine the amount of water already in it by referring to the alcohol proof, which indicates the alcohol by volume (ABV). The most common drinkable alcohol used in tinctures is vodka, it is neutral in taste and color. Tinctures can be made standardized with measurements, but most home herbalists tend to make tinctures using the "folk method" as mentioned earlier.

Because this extraction has alcohol it may not be suitable for certain groups such as children or those who suffer from alcoholism. Tinctures are usually used in drop dosages so the amount of alcohol is less than drinking from a bottle of vodka however, some may choose not to use tinctures for religious or personal beliefs.


As promised, here are three reasons why you should consider tinctures!

Reason # 1 : It's Quick!

Alcohol is able to get straight into the bloodstream, so tinctures are a way to get herbs into the system fast! This especially useful when you are experiencing chronic symptoms such as pain, where you need something quick acting. I also opt to use tinctures when I don't have the energy or time to assemble a tea. Tinctures are a great option for our bitter herbs like hops, taking a few drops diluted in water can increase compliance.

Reason # 2: It's Portable!

Tinctures are perfect to travel with because they are compact. They can fit in a backpack or purse with ease- instead of carrying whole herbs or tea bags which will need to be steeped, tinctures are ready to use on the go. With all of that extra space you can even take a more options with you!

Reason # 3: It's Convenient!

Tinctures are convenient, not just because they save space, but they also save time. They are easy to make and take just a few minutes, but the alcohol is able to preserve your tinctures for years! Some days you will need to preserve your energy, can you imagine whipping out a bunch of herbs to make a decoction while you are sick? In fact, it takes longer to make one decoction than it does to make your tincture! if you personally don't enjoy drinking tea and you want to reduce the amount of time that it takes you to consume herbs, tinctures might be the best preparation for you!

There are so many reasons to love tinctures. A well-stocked apothecary will have a variety of preparations, I think tinctures should be one of them!