How To Make Your Own Herbal Tincture
This is so easy you're going to laugh. Go ahead - you may as well start now.
It takes a bare minimum of ingredients and just a little patience to make your own alcohol-based herbal tinctures. We'll be looking at different tincture uses in upcoming posts, but for now, let's start a batch!
Although you can mix and match herbs any way you want in your tincture, I personally prefer making a separate one for each herb, and then mixing and matching the resulting tinctures.
IngredientsEthanol Alcohol / Vodka (80 proof)
EquipmentGlass jar with airtight closure
Small dark bottles with tight lid for your tincture
MethodMake sure all your containers are both clean and sanitized prior to use.
Fill the container with dried herbs to 3/4 full
Place in a cool, dark area (a cupboard shelf is great)
Leave for 2-3 weeks (agitate the jar daily)
Strain through coffee filter or double layer of cheesecloth
How Long Does an Alcohol-based Tincture Last?A tincture can last up to 2 years depending on the herbs and the proof of the alcohol (at least 40% is recommended).
What Can I Use it For?There are dozens of possibilities! Everything from home remedy sore throat solutions to topical use is possible – it all depends on the characteristics and properties of the herb used. The tincture in the above photo is going to be incorporated into a new skin tonic idea I've been working on. The herb I'm using is mallow (upcoming blog post on that soon).
Here are a few classic herbs with great tincture potential:
Stay tuned for more tincture fun!
Have you ever made a tincture? What did you use it for?
Read this post for tips on straining and bottling your tincture
A tincture will 'loose power' over time and it is a gradual process. Even though they can last up to 5 years, I have never used one older than 2 years. If you do the 'nose test' of a 2-year-old tincture next to a freshly made one, the difference will be evident. As to going bad, your nose is a good indicator for this as well. Truth be told, I've never had a tincture go bad.
I'm planning to make herb tincture for external use. Can I use rubbing alcohol instead of vodka? Hope to get some reply. Thanks! :)
Thanks for your response. The reason that I can't use vodka is because it is illegal for a Muslim like me to buy drinking alcohol in my country (Malaysia). However, I am currently pursuing my study in Australia and I can't find Everclear here (I guess it is illegal or something).
I'm planning to use the tincture as and additive in my skin tonic/skin refresher spray. I guess if I can use apple cider vinegar, that's good enough for me :)
Is it normal/natural for the to smell like I dunno fermented plants? They don't smell like herbs to me. They smell like decomposing plant matter though. Got a headache bottling them. I plan to use some myself and gift the rest. I don't want to give anything that isn't safe to friends nor do I want to consume anything that isn't safe for me. How do I know if the powerful smell is just powerful medicine or something gone wrong?
I can only guess at possible causes:
1. The herbs you used were somehow contaminated
2. The mixture was not agitated regularly
3. The percentage of herbs to liquid was not ideal
4. the containers were not sanitized
5. The mixture received too much heat/air
There are more possibilities, so without knowing your exact process, it is hard for me to give you any real useful advice. The fact that you got a headache just from bottling them sounds very worrying. I would probably discard everything and start again. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it's probably a better choice than using something that will make you ill. Best of luck with it!
Is it ok to use grain alcohol (100% proof) instead of 80% since that is the only thing I can find where I live?
I want to use powdered extracts of licorice, green tea and horse chestnut (3 separate not together), my question is what would the proportion be in this case, still the same or less herbs?
Thank you for your help and your wonderful site :)
Very useful blog. Thanks
I do have question on possible solvents for tincture.
Can Isopropyl Alcohol 99% be used for tincture extraction,, if not to be used for oral consumption. If yes, can this be used in emulsions?
What’s your suggestion for intermediate method. Alcohol and then oil?
I can't recommend using isopropyl alcohol for tinctures. To demonstrate why, may I suggest you make a very small batch and see what you think? As top the intermediate method, a minimum of 96% ethanol is recommended.