At Indigo Herbs we have over 120 herbal tinctures in our range. While they may be familiar to us, we get a lot of questions about them. Our hope is that this article will explain everything you need to know about herbal tinctures.
What is a Tincture?
Tinctures are a convenient way to deliver the healing power of herbs quickly and easily. A tincture is a liquid preparation made by steeping a herb for several weeks in a blend of alcohol and water. Through this process the alcohol extracts chemicals from the plant material that water alone cannot, creating a concentrated herbal extract. The alcohol also acts as a preservative, giving the solution a long shelf life. The solution is then strained to remove debris and the liquid extract is bottled for consumption.
Tincture Strength Ratios and Alcohol Content
The strength of the tincture is usually stated on the label in the form of an extraction ratio, for example, 1:3. This means they have used one part herb for every three parts liquid. In other words, one kilogram of herb was steeped in three litres of solution.
Because the solution is typically made of a mix of water and alcohol, the percentage of alcohol used is also presented on the labels. For example, 45% volume means 45% alcohol, 55% water.
What Percentage of Herb is in a Tincture?
We often get asked how much percentage of a herb is in a tincture. And while it may seem like a straightforward question, it doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
Some variants to consider include:
- the length of steeping process
- each herb reacts differently in the alcohol and water solution according to its intrinsic chemical makeup
- the final preparation is a concentrated extract of the herb, which can include varying amounts of dregs of the actual herb
It is therefore impossible to gage how much of the actual herb is present in the final preparation without proper laboratory testing. We do not have the capacity to test each batch of every tincture we get and rely on the ratios and alcohol percentages that are given by our suppliers to communicate as much information about the tinctures as possible to our customers.
How to Take a Tincture
Our tinctures come with a pipette or dropper, which when full, measures at 1ml or about 20 drops.
Because tinctures are concentrated, you only need to take a small amount. And while we always recommend you speak to a medical or herbal practitioner for advice on how much to take for varying conditions, the suggested use we state on our labels is usually between 2ml to 3ml up to three times a day.
Being in liquid form, the chemical constituents of the herb enter your bloodstream rapidly. Tinctures can be taken in a little water or juice. For children or those who wish to avoid alcohol, add tincture to boiling water and leave for ten minutes, which allows most of the alcohol to evaporate.
If you have any doubts about how to take tinctures or whether you should be using them, please consult a registered medical herbalist. We have a list of practitioners here.
Convinced tinctures are something you'd like to try? Here's a full list of our herbal tincture range.
Anything to Add?
Have we missed anything? Do you have more questions we didn't answer? Reach out to us on Instagram at @indigo_herbs or email us at email@example.com to let us know! We want to make sure we've covered all of your concerns.