How To Make Herbal Tinctures at Home

The health benefits of drinking herbal teas have long been celebrated, but herbalism itself—the study of plants and botanicals for medicinal purposes—is only recently on the rise. The healing properties of plants are vast, and you can administer them through a variety of channels.

One highly concentrated and effective way to reap the power of herbal medicine is through herbal tinctures—and the best part is, you can make them at home.

herbs steeping to make herbal tinctures

What is an herbal tincture?

An herbal tincture refers to a concentrated herbal extract that uses alcohol or alcohol and water as the solvent to extract the medicinal properties of the plant you’re using. Do you have vanilla extract in your cupboard? Ding ding ding—that’s an herbal tincture!

You can make an herbal tincture with beans or pods (as with vanilla), berries, roots, barks, flowers or even leaves (such as peppermint leaves).

While tinctures do take some time to coalesce—they generally take between a couple of weeks to a couple of months to fully steep—the end result is worth it. Not only do you get to personally determine how potent you want your tincture to be, but tinctures are extremely shelf-stable. They can last upwards of five years when you store them properly. They’re also easy to transport and highly adjustable to your preferences.

Close Up Senior Woman Hands Preparing Coneflower Tincture

Supplies to make an herbal tincture

You will need the following supplies to make an herbal tincture at home.

  • A pint-sized glass jar (or larger) with a plastic lid
  • Parchment paper (if your glass does not come with a plastic lid)
  • Herbs of choice
  • Alcohol or solvent of choice
  • A fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth
  • Dropper (either cobalt or amber glass is best) for storing the tinctures
  • Tape and marker for labeling (optional)
  • Funnel to transfer tincture from jar to dropper (optional)

Tips for alcohol solvent

For most tinctures, you’re going to want to use a clear, low-flavor liquor to get the best results. Vodka (at least 80- or 90-proof) or grain alcohol are good for most dried and fresh herbs that don’t emit a lot of juice after being cut, while half 80-proof vodka and half 190-proof grain alcohol are better for fresh and high-moisture herbs. The alcohol also helps act as a preservative.

If you don’t want to use alcohol, high-quality apple cider vinegar (organic is best) is a good substitute.

Girl grinding herbs

Making Your Tincture

  1. Fill up your glass jar halfway with your herbs. You can fill the jar 2/3 of the way full for a stronger tincture. Do NOT pack down.
  2. Optional step: You can pour a tiny bit of boiling water over the herbs to help draw out their healing properties at this stage, but it is not necessary.
  3. Add your solvent to the jar until the liquid hits at least two inches above your herbs, and stir with a clean spoon. The amount of solvent you want to add will vary depending on if you’re using fresh or dry herbs, so try to research your chosen herb’s requirements before this step.
  4. If you don’t have a plastic jar lid, place parchment paper between the lid and the jar to prevent corrosion, and then seal the jar. If you have a plastic jar lid, simply seal the jar tightly.
  5. Store your jar in a cool, dry place, shaking the jar once a day for anywhere between three weeks to six months, depending on your herb, to help the steeping process.
  6. Once your tincture has reached its desired potency, line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth over a bowl, and pour your tincture over it so that it strains. You can compost leftover plant matter.
  7. Deposit your homemade tincture into your droppers with a funnel, and enjoy!

Common Herbal Tinctures

If you’re interested in mixing together your own special tincture but need inspiration, some common herbal tinctures and their uses include:

  • Chamomile for calming your nerves and for promoting better sleep
  • Elderberry for reduced inflammation
  • Peppermint to soothe an upset stomach
  • Cannabis (in legal states) to help reduce nausea, treat pain, and promote relaxation
  • Turmeric to help relieve inflammation
  • Reishi mushroom for immunity

Image Credit: Steeping tinctures via Unsplash. All other images via Getty

32 comments

Edgar Z
Edgar Zuim5 months ago

Thanks.

SEND
hELEN hEARFIELD
hELEN hEARFIELD5 months ago

tyfs

SEND
Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara5 months ago

Who has time?

SEND
Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara5 months ago

th

SEND
Greta L
Past Member 5 months ago

thank you

SEND
Sherry K
Sherry Kohn5 months ago

Many thanks to you !

SEND
Danuta W
Danuta Watola5 months ago

Thank you for sharing

SEND
Frances G
Past Member 5 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Angela K
Angela K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing

SEND
Kathy K
Kathy K5 months ago

Thanks.

SEND