Do you know the word “tincture”? If you are familiar with herbal remedies, you may…but often, people I speak with have never heard the word. That’s unfortunate because it is a great way to use herbs .
If you have ever seen an herbed vinegar (a fancy decanter of vinegar with a sprig of tarragon perhaps), then you have seen a tincture. Typically, the idea behind a tincture is that you extract the medicinal (and culinary) goodness out of your herbs into either alcohol or vinegar (you can also use vegetable glycerin if you want something for children).
I typically use alcohol for stinky herbs (ones that don’t taste very good in teas) or for a blend that I will use for more of an acute issue. I use vinegar for more tonic herbs…something I might want to take daily and even incorporate into my food.
So, how does one make a tincture you ask? It’s very simple. Get yourself a mason jar, add a bunch of dried herbs, and then fill it up with either vodka or a good apple cider vinegar (ACV). You can also use rum or brandy….the higher the alcohol % the better. Seal it up and set it on your counter. Keep it out of direct sunlight and away from any heat sources. Let it sit for several weeks (3-6), gently inverting to mix every couple days. The longer you let it sit, the stronger your tincture will be. When you’re ready, strain out the herbs and you put the liquid into a nice container. I like to use a bottle with a dropper for alcohol tinctures and a vinegar cruet for vinegar tinctures.
So what will you tincture? You could start with a nice culinary vinegar, since most culinary herbs do have medicinal properties. Basil, garlic & thyme with ACV is delicious and it’s antibacterial & antiviral.
Do you have a nice herbal remedy tea blend? Tea is a great way to take herbs, but when you are traveling or unable to easily make tea, a tincture is a great option. Take a small jar, add in a bunch of your loose tea, then add vodka or vinegar to cover. Let sit, strain and enjoy!!
Don’t get too caught up in amounts. Fill the jar about ½ full of herbs then fill with liquid...if you want a stronger product, fill the jar ¾ with herbs. It’s all good! Just get it in the jar ASAP so you have your tincture ready when you need it!
Tracy Martorana is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Meditation Instructor and Herbalist...hoping to inspire you to live your life from a place of Holistic Wellness.