Payne Mountain Farms
Buy dried yellowroot and other wild herbs at Payne Mountain Farms.

Preparing herbal tinctures and herbal extractions

Tinctures and herbal extractions are made by soaking plant material in alcohol (like vodka). The alcohol works to extract medicinal properties and preserve them for later use. Tinctures are quickly absorbed by the body and can be used internally and externally. Non-alcoholic tinctures can be made using vegetable glycerin. Both types of tinctures can be taken by mouth or used on the body.

Homemade tinctures should be made from diluted spirits like vodka or rum and individual herbs. (Different types of herbal tinctures can be combined later if desired.) To make a tincture, put herbal material in a large jar and cover with vodka and water mixture (four parts vodka to one part water). Seal jar tightly and place in a dark cabinet. Turn jar and shake gently every day to mix ingredients. After two weeks, strain liquid into a clean jar and discard solids.

Store tincture in a clean, glass bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid. Tinctures keep longer when stored in a dark, cool environment like the refrigerator. If tinctures are properly stored they will last for years.

When using alcohol based tinctures, the alcohol can be removed by adding a small amount of almost boiling water to one dose of tincture. As it cools, most of the alcohol will evaporate.

Herbal extractions can also be made with wine (such as brandy or cognac) or apple cider vinegar. Both wine and vinegar make excellent medicines for digestive and circulatory problems. Wine and vinegar infusions are great for taking by the spoonful during the winter months because of their warming actions.

Herbal tinctures and extractions work great as mouth sprays and under the tongue drops. This method of getting herbal properties into the body bypasses the digestive system and delivers a more potent medicine to the system. Sprays and under the tongue drops are especially useful in emergency situations. Also, small doses can be used repeatedly over a period of time to help regulate dosage. Sprays and drops should used in a clean mouth. Brush teeth, rinse well, and wait 10 minutes. Hold spray and drops in mouth for as long as possible before swallowing.

Certain blends of herbal tinctures can sooth a cough. Try mixing fennel, licorice, mullein, and wild cherry bark tinctures with honey and a little fruit juice. Take 1 teaspoon every hour.

Tinctures may be used in massage and as skin washes. Use rosemary tincture on tired, aching muscles for fast relief. Herbal liniments are usually for external use only because they are usually made with rubbing alcohol. They are used for treating arthritis, gout, and other painful conditions. Choose heat inducing herbs like ginger, cloves, wintergreen, and myrrh for best results. Rub aching joints with a saturated cotton ball or massage lightly with loving hands for best results. See Mullein Tincture for more information.

* Never use rubbing alcohol in tinctures because it is toxic when taken internally. Rubbing alcohol is for external use only! Herbs work with other medicines to boost their potency so always consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.