Board index Botanical Medicine Herbal Medicine Making Making my first tincture

Making my first tincture


Post Tue May 02, 2017 8:51 pm

Posts: 57
Hello i am new here and have a passion and interest with botanical medicines. I want to make a Jamaican Dogwood tincture and was wondering if i use a 16oz jar and put 8oz herbs and fill the jar with 16oz alcohol would that ratio be 1:2?. Once i close the lid and shake the jar do i shake it everyday and open it see if it needs more alcohol?. Can i open the jar after a few days to see if it needs more alcohol and top it off or would it lose potency if i open it to often?.

I was reading an article that if one uses a handheld blender and blends the herbs in the jar with alcohol it will break the cell walls and expand more medicine inside the alcohol. Would this be a good thing to do before steeping it for 6-8 weeks?. For most dry herbs would a standard of 100 proof vodka (50%) be the best?.

Post Wed May 03, 2017 4:05 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1098
First question: Is this a fresh or dried plant material tincture? This is REALLY important to know. We almost always use dry plants since it is easier to control the water content/ratio and it is cheaper to use Vodka instead of Everclear. We use 40% vodka for nearly everything, the cheapest we can find.

You are comparing two different measurements for your ratio. One is weight and the other is volume. The problem is they have no relationship to each other. If you were using grams and milliliters then you could make that comparison since they are directly related.

You should not have to open the jar to see if it needs more alcohol. It will not lose potency but opening it should not be needed.

Alcohol will penetrate just fine without blending. The only time I have used blending is if I needed to keep from having to add more liquid due to wanting to keep a particular ratio.

We shake our tinctures for about 2 weeks. We then press as time allows or needs dictate. It is becoming our belief that a period of as little as 4-5 days is enough for many plants.

Post Wed May 03, 2017 4:34 am

Posts: 57
This is for dry plant material. Is it possible to have a ratio estimation for 8oz herbs in a 16oz jar with 16oz alcohol?. I read on a website for ratios and it says and i quote

"So to make a 1:2 tincture, we will use 1 ounce of marc on a scale for every 2 ounces of menstruum in a measuring cup. If you have more than 1 ounce of marc, multiply the weight of the marc by the 2nd number in the ratio. For example:
If I have 5 ounces of an herb and I want a 1:2 tincture, I will use 10 ounces of menstruum, because 2 x 5 =10.
If I have 5 ounces of an herb and I want a 1:3 tincture, I will use 15 ounces of menstruum, because 3 x 5 =15.

So basically if i have 8 ounces of herb and want a 1:2 tincture i use 16 oz of menstruum?. 2 x 8=16 is this correct for the ratio?.

Do tinctures become more potent when made with dry plant material or powdered?. I hear some people use powdered herbs to make tinctures. Which would be better and more potent?. I was thinking the cell walls of the plant are cracked when made into a powder so would be more concentrated and more medicine is absorbed in the alcohol. Is this correct?.

Post Wed May 03, 2017 12:59 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
Site Admin

Posts: 1098
There is no ratio relationship between weight ounces and fluid ounces. Without any reference I am assuming that is what you mean. You will need to WEIGH each part and not just use a measuring cup to assure proper ratio. So, you would need to WEIGH 16 ounces by weight of vodka. Does that make sense now?

Also, you will find that 1:2 with dry material will be way too dry. We use 1: 5 as our standard and find that many herbs and formulas are on the edge of being too dry.

The difference between ground and unground material is the speed of extraction. Ground material will extract FASTER and has nothing to do with potency. Unground material is also harder to keep in the menstuum.

Post Wed May 03, 2017 9:29 pm

Posts: 57
This is where i got the explanation of ratios https://oldwaysherbal.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/making-weight-to-volume-tinctures/ Maybe i didn't understand correctly.

If i wanted to mix herbs should i extract them separately and them combine them or put many mixed herbs in the jar and extract them together. You as a herbalist what do you prefer for method of extraction dry material or powder?.

I was wondering the dry planet material of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium sidoides) can it use 50% Vodka for extraction or does it need a stronger alcohol content like Everclear?.

Post Thu May 04, 2017 2:41 am
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1098
You can do it either way you wish. We extract formulas that Patrick has put together. This is because they will not change, at least very often.

For personal use it is sometimes best to keep the herbs separate so you can custom mix them as needed. Once they are mixed you cannot separate them!

I know nothing about the herb you asked about. If it is NOT resinous, then regular 40 or 50% vodka should do the trick just fine.

Post Thu May 04, 2017 4:24 am

Posts: 57
This is the herb Umckaloabo i don't know if it's resinous. How much % of alcohol do you think should be used? https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/umckaloabo-root/profile

Are herbal tinctures more potent when using fresh plant material vs dry plant material?. I know fresh needs to use stronger alcohol.

Post Thu May 04, 2017 12:56 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1098
The medicine is there in either condition. Dry plant material is normally more economical to work with due to the less expensive alcohol that is/can be used.

Post Thu May 04, 2017 12:59 pm
IdahoHerbalist User avatar
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Posts: 1098
My first guess is that that plant is primarily an astringent. Is that why you are looking to use the plant? If so, I believe there are other less expensive astringents out there that could be used.

I would use 40% to tincture it.

Post Thu May 04, 2017 6:26 pm

Posts: 57
Umckaloabo is a plant that is useful for many things but primarily for upper respiratory infections like bronchitis, flu, colds etc.. it has strong scientific evidence for that. I want to use it in case me or my family get flu or a cold during the winter. It is used to treat the flu but not prevent it.

I was wondering what % of alcohol would be good to tincture White willow bark?.

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