How To Choose Between a Herbal Powder, Tincture or Tea

How To Choose Between a Herbal Powder, Tincture or Tea

 

Have you heard about a particular herb or superfood you’re curious to try? Are you stumped because it’s available in multiple forms? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some tips on how to choose between a powder, tea or tincture.

Powder, tincture or tea – what's the difference?

 

Powders and Powder Extracts

At Indigo Herbs we carry pure herbs in their powdered form, some of which we sell in capsules as well. The dried herb is ground and milled into a powder, which sell loose. These powders can easily be added to juices, smoothies, or to food when cooking or baking, while capsules can simply be taken as supplements.

Powdered extracts are formed by soaking herbs in solvents, which are then evaporated. The concentrated powder that is left is full of potent plant compounds. This powder is typically mixed with whole herb powder to bulk it out.

By ingesting the entire herb, you get the full benefit of all its phytochemicals. Extract powders tend to be more potent and can be even stronger than liquid extracts.

Some things to consider when choosing a powder:

  • Some herbs will benefit from taking raw, as is and therefore great to mix into water, juices and smoothies
  • Other herbs will benefit from being heated, or cooked
  • Capsuled powders can be convenient, but can limit the amount that can be taken

For more information about how to take a herbal powder, click here.

Herbal Teas

For our herbal teas, either the flowers, leaves, stems, and/or roots is dried to be used for tea. The part of the herb that is used is dependent upon the individual herb and its benefits.

Many herbs’ phytochemicals are water soluble and taking them in an infusion or decoction can be one of the best ways to draw out these beneficial compounds.

An infusion is made by pouring boiling water over the dried herbs and letting them steep for 15 minutes, or even up to 24 hours, depending on the herb. This can also be done with fresh herbs. Decant the liquid through a strainer before enjoying. Infusions are best for teas made of flower and leaves as the enzymes and vitamins are easily extracted through water in this way.

Decoctions are made differently and are usually best for barks, roots, dried berries and medicinal mushrooms. These components typically need more time to release their compounds. This method is done by gently simmering the herb over very low heat for about an hour. This allows the liquid to evaporate so that what remains is quite concentrated.

Some things to consider when choosing a tea:

  • Making an infusion or decoction isn’t convenient and can be more time consuming
  • Some phytochemicals are better extracted with alcohol and not water

For more information about how to make a herbal tea, click here.

Tinctures

Tinctures are typically made by steeping the herb in a solution of water and alcohol for several weeks. During this process the chemical compounds are extracted into the solution, which is then strained of the herb. This solution can also be a mixture of water and vinegar or vegetable glycerine. Just as certain phytochemicals are best extracted through water, some phytochemicals are best extracted through alcohol or glycerin. After steeping, the liquid is strained, leaving the herb behind. The liquid that remains is very concentrated - as well as preserved - making it a quick and convenient way to receive all the benefits of the herb.

Some things to consider when choosing a tincture:

  • It has most likely been made with alcohol
  • To remove the alcohol, you’ll need to evaporate it with hot water

Otherwise, tinctures are easy and convenient to use. For more information about how to take a herbal tincture, click here. And for more in-depth information on herbal tinctures, click here.