Herbal Tincture How To - Straining and Bottling

Straining and bottling a tincture is pretty straightforward stuff, but there are a couple of tips you might find useful, so I photographed my latest project and put together this step by step to show you how the mallow tincture that started out a few weeks back came out.

The Final Process 

Gather the following items:
  • Tincture mixture that has been infusing for 3-6 weeks (see how to do that part in this post)
  • Clean muslin cloth (or unbleached coffee filters)
  • Beaker or glass container
  • Funnel
  • Bottle for your finished product
  • Label for the bottle

Ensure all of your equipment is clean. Even though this tincture is alcohol-based, it is always a good idea to start and finish with clean equipment in a clean environment.

Prepare to Strain

Line the funnel with a double layer of muslin. The double layer will help keep any sediment from the herbs from slipping through. If you prefer to use coffee filters, use unbleached filters and double up so you are straining through 2 layers.

TIP: Strain into a container that is easy to pour from. You will be pouring directly from this container into your final bottle. I like the precision of the spout on my beakers, but any glass pitcher with a spout will do.

Here's Why: Straining into a glass container allows for a visual check before bottling. Should any sediment slip through, it's a snap to re-filter the liquid.

Speaking of Sediment

Here's my best tip for a sediment-free tincture (with many plant materials): Let the liquid drip through the plant material on its own.

Unless the plant material is really really dense..

I recently did a chamomile tincture where the remaining plant material was so dense it kept holding on to a good portion of liquid. In cases such as these, you'll want to don latex gloves and gently squeeze the remaining liquid, then filter the mixture again.

The Spent Material

Here is the spent mallow after straining next to a few of the (original) dried flowers. The deep purple color it started out with has left the plant material and become part of the tincture.


For optimal conditions, pour your tincture into a dark glass bottle with a tight-fitting cap.

TIP: As a general rule, avoid storing alcohol-based tinctures in plastic containers.

Finishing Up

Finally, add a label to the bottle with the name of your tincture. Be sure to add the date as well. You may think you're going to remember when you made it, but you won't. Honest. You really won't.

My date-label isn't visible above because I always place mine separately on the bottom of my bottles.

Coming Soon

Some uses for tinctures - both internal and external

Do Tell

Do you make tinctures? What do you use them for?


ByOly Cosmetics said…
great tips! I have made a lot of tinctures and I use them as additives in my cosmetic preperations (no more than 2%, because they tend to be a little drying). They work very well in toners, since mostof them have astrigent function, due to the alkohol used. My favorite one is lavender, and I use it even in perfumes along with essential oils!
LisaLise said…
Hi Olympia - this is great info! I agree that using more than 2% tincture in a skin tonic can be drying for the skin-- but keeping it at a low percentage gives the maximum benefit of the concentrate without drying. I have a lavender tincture on my to do list! Have you used any of your tinctures for internal use? In teas or such?
Eternity said…
Hi Lise,
Thanks for a very inspiring blog.
I have a question about Castor oil.
I know it's not the day's topic but I hope it's ok anyway.
I have heard it should be great on lashes and eye brows. Is it just because it's a thick oil so it's easy to use on lashes and eye brows or has Castor oil some properties other oils don't have for lashes and eye brows ?
I would use Castor oil or an alternative oil on lashes and eye brows to keep them healty and if possible give them growth.

Can Castor oil give growth or is it just because the lashes and brows get healty and then grow?

Thank you very much.
Kirsten V

I was unfortunately a little to late to participate in the giveaway, due to the time difference. I'm 8 hours behind DK. :-(

LisaLise said…
Hi Eternity/Kirsten V . so sorry you missed the giveaway deadline! I will try and do another before too terribly long..

Meantime. you asked about castor oil and lashes. You are correct in that castor oil is good for hair and lashes. It is actually one of the ingredients in my lash conditioner (see the blog post here http://www.lisaliseblog.com/2013/08/lash-conditioning-tester-giveaway.html

Castor oil is quite conditioning for hair. It is a very slow absorbing oil that provides a protective layer helping to seal in moisture – which is its main advantage over other oils.

You can also use castor oil to cleanse the skin and it is an effective cleanser for this very reason. :)
Kelly said…
Hi! I know this is an old post, but I just found it. I forgot to wash my tincture bottles beforehand! Do I have to dump out the tinctues?
LisaLise said…
Hi Kelly — if your tincture is alcohol based you might just be fine.