tools of light

TINCTURE THIS IS A EDUCATIONAL SITE, USES OF THIS INFORMATION IS ENTIRELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO WISH TO CHOSE TO USE THIS INFO FOR PERSONAL HEALTH OR USES AT THE DISCRETION OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL(S), THE RESPONSIBLITY IS YOURS ALONE THIS SIGHT IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL INPUT AND TO ILLUMINATE WHAT MIGHT NOT BE COMMON TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HEARD OF THESE CONCEPTS. LET WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE BE YOUR GUIDES         HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HERBAL TINCTURES   INGREDIENTS METHOD PROPORTIONS CONCLUSION HOW TO MAKE A HONEY TINCTURE     Before describing a method of manufacturing herbal tinctures, it will first be necessary to explain the intended scope of this page: It is NOT intended to offer any extensive methodology of tincture manufacture. It is only intended to give the reader understanding enough to produce a good, potent, effectual herbal tincture at home, and to hopefully dispel some of the mystique surrounding the subject. People seem to be convinced that there is something about tincture manufacture that requires a great expertise before they ought to venture on such a purpose. While it is a large field, nothing could be farther from the truth when it comes to making a good and potent tincture with common elements found around the home. While it is true that without a tincture press you will waste a great deal of your tincture, yet it will not be as great a loss as buying your tincture from the health food store at $15.00 per oz. Besides, you can always make a tea from your left over herbs, boiling all the alcohol out of it first, and then drinking it within 24 hours, as it will spoil after that once the alcohol is removed. Let us first consider the...   Ingredients: 1While you may use herbs that are cut & sifted with good results, you will generally get a stronger tincture by using powdered herbs. Attempt to make sure they have not been powdered for a long time, as this will decrease potency.   2. You need grain alcohol. People commonly use Vodka, but Vodka is half water and half alcohol. Why not, then, just buy pure alcohol for the same price, and buy water cheaper? The common brand of pure alcohol to get is "Everclear", and can be purchased at nearly any liquor store. You will get a better deal if you buy a liter as opposed to the "fifth". (4/5 of a qt.) Not everyone carries the liter, however.   3. The good & bad side to glycerin. Some people make tinctures called "Glycerites". These are herbal tinctures which use pure vegetable glycerin as the solvent instead of alcohol. The advantage is that vegetable glycerin is sweet to the taste, and therefore good to make for children who may have a hard time with the Goldenseal tincture! The bad news is that the children will also like it because it is not as efficient of a solvent as alcohol, and therefore will not extract as much of the herbal virtue from the herbs, and the tincture will therefore taste better, not just because glycerine is sweet, but because less of a bad tasting herb tastes better. But they have their place in the realm of either children, or with Liver patients who are convinced that even the small amount of alcohol in a teaspoon of tincture is going to compromise their health.   4. Use any source of good purified water. Do not under use tap water. If its city water, it will generally have chlorine, and if its well water, it will generally be very high in minerals..   5. You will need a good jar that has a sealing lid. We use gallon jars, but most people don't need that much tincture.   Proportions 1. Every herb is different when it comes to what solvents work best with it, and how much should be used. Some herbs do best with a 60% alcohol/ 40% water ratio. Some need only 20-30% alcohol. For the present purposes, suffice it to say that simply mixing your alcohol with R/O water 50/50 will work fine with almost anything. It may be overkill on some herbs, but that will not hurt anything.   2. There is some difference of opinion as to proportions. Many tincture manufacturers will tell you that they use 2-3 pounds of herb per gallon of finished tincture. That is pretty good. But they are not telling you a recipe by telling you that, because you always lose some liquid in the press. They likely started out with a gallon and a half of liquid, (alcohol & water), which means that they are using approximately 3 qts. liquid per pound and a half of herb. This is a good formula. Others do it by volume. They will say that they make a "1 to 1" ratio tincture, (by volume), by which they mean that they will use, say, 1 gallon of herb to 1 gallon of liquid. Those who use this method boast the 1 to 1 ratio as their strongest tincture, when in fact, it may be quite a weak recipe. I would avoid such recipe's, because it is entirely a relative measurement. Hops flowers, for instance weigh very little per their volume. Goldenseal, on the other hand, is very heavy per its volume. If you make a "1 to 1" volume tincture using both of these herbs, the result will be entirely unequal when comparing the strength and value of the tincture. For this reason the former method is recommended.... by weight, not by volume. Use this general rule, then: Mix two pounds of herbs to one gallon of liquid. (50/50 water & alcohol) That means that if you want to make a quart of tincture that you will want to use a half a pound of herb. Or, likewise, if you want to use a pound of herb, then use two quarts of liquid. Simply apply the rule to whatever amount you wish to make; or improvise on your own. We have found that using 3 quarts of water/alcohol mix with 1 1/2 pounds of herbs works great, as it all fits well inside a one gallon jar.   Method 1Combine all elements in a glass jar that will not leak when you shake it. Keep in mind that the surface tension of water and alcohol is much less than plain water alone. For this reason tincture will leak more easily, and you must make sure that you have a good sealing jar. Test it first with some water.   2. If you are using powdered herbs, (recommended), watch for clotting of the herbs into clumps. (Some herbs are more prone to this than others.) These clumps must be broken up when first mixing them, or they cannot leach into the solution. If vigorous shaking doesn't do it, take the lid off again and stir it up with some sort of agitator. Make sure you wipe off your lid and rim before resealing.   3. Let this sit for at least a month, shaking it daily. Two months would be even better. If you forget to shake it for a day or two, it is no big thing, but the more you shake it the less likely it will be to clump up, and the better will be your tincture.   4. Now comes the hard part.... Separating your tincture. a) The way this is done is with a tincture press. For the home tincture maker, it is impractical for him to consider purchasing a regular tincture press, as they are all quite expensive, and, in our opinion, grossly overpriced, ranging from $600.00-$1500.00. There are others we used to sell that were in the $100.00 to $150.00 range, but they made it not worth selling, and the price kept escalating beyond its value. For these reasons we recommend making your own tincutre press. There are MANY affordable options. If you don't wish to make a press, you may wish to try some of the other methods, though they will prove grossly unsatisfactory when compared to a press, and will waste a great deal of good tincture.   b) Pour the "menstrum" (the mixed herbs, water & alcohol), into a cloth, and squish out as much tincture as you can. Use you imagination, but be forewarned; it can be messy. Then take the remainder and put it in a centrifugal juicer such as an Acme, or Omega, and spin out as much as you can   c) Gerry rig some sort of pressing device, using the general pressing methodology...... The general procedure is to take a canister and a cloth bag, and a "follower". You put the bag into the canister, and pour your unpressed tincture into the bag, and then put the follower, (any round disk that will fit well into the top of the canister), and press out the tincture with your pressing device. The tincture may either escape by tipping the whole device over so as the tincture pours out the top into a bowl, or by having a spout in the bottom of the canister for the tincture to escape, and drain into a recepticle. For a pressing device a C-Clamp would work well, or a cheese press. Again.... for more information, go to our How to Make Your Own Tincture Press page. Click here.   d) These may seem like lame ideas, but use your own ideas then... there's numerous ways to get the job done. e) I formerly advised making a tea from the pressing remains, but this has proven unsatisfactory, as, indeed, the alcohol gets nearly everything out of it, and it proves very bland and impotent. f) Store your tincture in a dark place, or in a dark bottle, or both. It should last for a many years this way before it significantly loses its potency. I have heard others say as much as 20 years.   Conclusion: I think that it is good to mention that there is a considerable amount of hype about tincture strength. If you are astute, you will have noticed that there is not that much herb going into the tinctures. It is not possible, because you need enough liquid to saturate the herbs. We have said that three pounds makes a gallon of finished tincture, and your average bottle of capsuled herbs is about 1/10th of a pound. Put this together, and here's what you find: In a typical 2 oz. bottle of tincture you have the constituents of a little less than 1/2 your average bottle of capsuled herbs.... not much. True, the alcohol gets more out of the herb than your digestive system would have, but it cannot create more constituents than are already there in the herb itself. This means that when they tell you to take, say, ten drops of their tincture, you are only taking the constituents of a faction of a capsule of actual herb. Yes, you got everything that amount of herb had to offer, but it just isn't that much. This means that you should take your tincture by the teaspoon full, not by counting drops. If you are very sick, and the tincture type is something that you cannot take too much of, you might take a teaspoon of tincture an hour for a few hours. The chief benefit of tinctures are that they are CONVENIENT. When this is not a consideration, it is often better to simply make a decoction or an infusion, (a tea), as you won't have the distaste of ingesting the alcohol, nor the expense, Tinctures are sure nice for travel, though! It is claimed by some that alcohol will dissolve certain constituents in fatty type herbs which an infusion or decoction won't do as effectively. In such cases a tincture would be better. Just look at your herb. You can tell that something like Elecampane Root is almost "gooey" its so full of oily substance. Saw Palmetto, and Milk Thistle are two others. I have used Milk Thistle tea for many years, however, with great results. If you have questions about the constitution of any particular herb there is an abundance of reference links on our links page. (A little math on the tincture claims above: You will end up with about 225,000 mg (1/2 #) of herb. per 21 oz. finished tincture. Divide 225,000mg by 450mg. (average capsule size), and you have exactly 500 capsules worth of herbs stored in that 21 oz. of tincture. That is roughly 24 capsules of herbal constituents suspended in 1 oz. of tincture. 1 oz. of tincture is approximately 6 teaspoons. Thus you are getting 4 capsules worth of herbs in each teaspoon of tincture. When people tell you to take this by the DROP, best DROP their advice rather than thus their tincture. You would only be getting the herbal constituents of some wee fraction of one capsule in the five to ten drops they typically recommend.)       HOW TO MAKE A "HONEY TINCTURE"       WARNING: This is not any instututionalized practice.... it is my own wild idea. That said.... There are many applications where an alcohol tincture will be unwelcome. If you have liver problems an alcohol tincture will likely be unwelcome. Children can be poorly persuaded to take an alcohol tincture. For these reasons, and others, people have used glycerine as a solvent for tinctures, but while they tast great and are non-alcoholic, it is also a far inferior solvent for herbs. The problem is this....there isn't a better SOLVENT for making herbal tinctures. Here is a possible solution. Make your tinctures with the alcohol so you get the maximum amount of herbal constituents in your tincture. Then pour in, say, four ounces of your tincture into a sauce pan. Submerge the pan as much as practical into some cold water in your sink, and light the alcohol on fire. (Obviously you will need to be careful you don't catch your kitchen on fire.) DON'T submerge the pan so far in the cold water that the water comes in over the edge. Thus the alcohol will burn off, and yet the cold water will keep the tincture cool enough that it doesn't likewise evaporate the water, or not much of it. Now you have just the water and the herbal constituents in your solution. (With a minimal amount of residual alcohol, no doubt) Problem is that it will spoil without the alcohol to preserve it, just like an herbal tea will spoil. At this point add roughly half the amount of honey as the amount of tincture you began with. You started with 4 oz in this scenario, so add 2 fl. oz. of honey and mix thoroughly. The honey will preserve the tincture, and will also have a tendency to coat the throat as it goes down, facilitating any topical effect of the particular tincture. And thats how you make a honey of a tincture.     THIS IS A EDUCATIONAL SITE, USES OF THIS INFORMATION IS ENTIRELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO WISH TO CHOSE TO USE THIS INFO FOR PERSONAL HEALTH OR USES AT THE DISCRETION OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL(S), THE RESPONSIBLITY IS YOURS ALONE THIS SIGHT IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL INPUT AND TO ILLUMINATE WHAT MIGHT NOT BE COMMON TO THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HEARD OF THESE CONCEPTS. LET WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE BE YOUR GUIDES