To the surprise of many, tinctures are actually a form of extraction — concentrating herbs into their most potent form with the use of alcohol (similar to how vanilla extract is produced).
A simple dropper full of tincture can do amazing things for anxiety, sleep, focus, pain, immunity boost, allergies (the list goes on). Tinctures are a simple way to replenish and infuse your body with herbal power.
Tinctures are versatile — they can be taken directly under the tongue or mixed into your favorite drink for a more soothing experience.
Alcohol-based tinctures are the standard in most herbology practices because of their long shelf-life of several years and the effective way alcohol strips all the beneficial goodness from herbs. However, there are plenty of alternatives to alcohol extraction. I personally love glycerin tinctures because they’re sweet like honey, making them a great addition to tea. Apple cider vinegar can also be used as an alcohol substitute. For a tasty compromise, many herbalists combine alcohol and glycerin to take away some of the alcohol’s bite in their tinctures. If you’re avoiding alcohol but want to make an alcohol-based tincture, you can use the tincture in hot drinks or foods so that the alcohol evaporates off before ingestion.
What You’ll Need:
A clean glass jar with a lid
Enough herbs of your choice (see below) to fill half of the jar
Consumable alcohol that’s at least 80-proof (Vodka or Rum work great, as do Apple Cider Vinegar and food-grade Vegetable Glycerine if you’re avoiding alcohol)
Fill your jar halfway with herbs, without packing them down. You can mix your herbs in any ratio you please to fit your specific needs. I wanted mine to be cannabis-dominant so I’m going to add 1 cup of CBD cannabis flower (hash works great as well, just add about half). I carry a lot of my anxiety as shoulder and neck tension, so I’m going to add ½ cup of Skull Cap which is great for reducing muscle tension. And to finish off my jar I’m going to add ¼ cup of valerian to calm my racing heart and thoughts.
Optional step: Add boiling water, just enough to dampen the herbs in order to activate and release more medicinal benefits.
Fill the rest of your jar with alcohol (or a substitute). Remember, you can always do a combination of alcohol and glycerin (or honey if you don’t have glycerin on hand). I’m going to add a couple tablespoons of honey to ensure some extra sweetness in my rum-based tincture. Stir with a clean utensil to mix all that goodness together!
Tightly close the lid, place the jar in a cool and dark location, and patiently wait. Make sure to give it a little shake every couple of days. In 4-6 weeks it will be fully infused and ready for the final step!
Here we are, 4-6 weeks later and your tincture is fully infused and looking beautiful. It’s time to strain out the herbs and collect the tincture. Use a cheesecloth to strain the herbs as you pour out your liquid concentrate. You can either pour your tincture directly into a dropper bottle or into another airtight container to transfer into dropper bottles later. The used herbs make great compost or chicken snacks.
Now, it’s time to finally enjoy your tincture! For dosing, take 1-2 droppers full at the first sign of anxiety. For me, an alcohol-based tincture is a little too much to put under my tongue so I typically place my tincture into a hot cup of tea which will evaporate the active alcohol.