Tincture Making Basics

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

What is a Tincture?

I've been sitting here trying to come up with a simple definition of a tincture.

For a nice, longer answer, see this Mountain Rose blog post:  https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/guide-tinctures-extracts

And here is my short answer:  

A tincture is a concentrated herbal extraction that can be taken internally.  A true herbal tincture uses alcohol (drinkable) for extraction.  Different parts of plants are used including roots, bark, leaves, flowers, seeds, or sometimes the entire plant.  Either fresh or dried plant material may be used. It is important to know which part of the plant to use and the optimum time for gathering said part, if using fresh (my preference).  I will provide this information through this growing season.

Why Alcohol?

Alcohol contains both water and alcohol. Both are needed to extract the full spectrum of constituents that a plant has to offer us.  Water (example: making tea) extracts only those compounds that are extractable by water. However there are other bio-active compounds that require alcohol to break down the cell walls of the plant cells to release those, which are then effectively stored in the alcohol.  Typically these compounds extracted by alcohol are considered the more "medicinal" compounds.