Tinctures are one of my favorite types of herbal remedies. I find them easy to carry with me wherever I go, I can just put a few drops under my tongue to get the medicine that I need and they have a long shelf life. What is a tincture you ask? In it's simplest definition, a tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract that is made from soaking plant material in a solvent that extracts the active medicinal constituents (simple, right?). Though what is labeled as a tincture can often become a heated debate among herbal users. Some will argue that in order for it to be a true tincture, alcohol (at least 40% or higher) must be the solvent used. People with alcohol sensitivities often opt to use vinegar or vegetable glycerin as a alternative solvent in their preparations, but purest would prefer to have these labeled as extracts or glycerites rather than a tincture. Just to sum it up, or possibly make it a little more confusing......All tinctures are extracts, but not all extracts are tinctures.
What solvent, also known as a menstruum, we use is determined by what plant and parts we are using. We find that alcohol works best for extracting from roots and barks. When creating our White Willow tincture (our go-to headache remedy) we start with a jar of white willow bark. We fill it to the top with alcohol, we prefer to use 50% (100 proof) or higher. It is important to make sure that all of the plant material is completely submerged in the menstruum (solvent), otherwise it could be exposed to air and mold, destroying the batch. This jar is stored away from the light for 6 weeks and shaken daily to fully extract all of the active medicines from the bark.
After 6 weeks we strain the majority of the liquid through a cheese cloth. Then the plant material goes into the basket of our SUPER COOL tincture press.
We press ALL of the liquid from the plant material. The liquid then gets strained again. It is important to make sure that all of the plant material, or marc, is removed from the final product. Plant material can mold and ruin your tincture. After we have strained, pressed and strained again, we allow the tincture to settle for 2 days. This settling process, known as decanting, allows any marc left in the extract to sink to the bottom of the jar. After the 48 hours have passed, we strain the tincture one final time, taking care not to use the last inch or two of the jar as this contains the settled residue. Once we are satisfied that we have a pure tincture, we bottle, label and seal the products. Any questions about our process? We would love to hear from you in the comments section below!
Make sure you that you do not miss out on our small batches of White Willow (headache remedy) and Black Raspberry (diarrhea remedy) tinctures featured in our Summer Subscription box.
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** For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease**