Herbal tinctures are alcohol or water/alcohol solutions made from dry or fresh herbs. The alcohol or alcohol/water solution extracts the medicinal constituents out of the plant material. This is a great way of preserving and using herbs. Store herbal tinctures in dark glass bottles away from heat and light. Tinctures remain viable for several years. Tinctures are highly concentrated and taken by drops into water or juice. Hot water or tea can be used to dilute the tinctures which will evaporate the alcohol out.
Typically extracts made from FRESH plant material use equal parts of material to equal parts of solvent such as a ratio of 1:1 and extracts made from DRIED material will require more material against solvent such as a ratio of 1:4
These standard ratios are acceptable to use. However if you wish to use more exacting ratios, a comprehensive list is available here: Michael Moore’s Tincture Formulas
As an example, Echinacea (cone flower) is listed as such:
ROOT and FLOWERS. Tincture [Fresh Plant 1:2, Dry Plant, 1:5, 70% alcohol], 30-100 drops as needed.
To make a tincture of Echinacea with FRESH PLANT:
One part by weight of the fresh, chopped herb steeped in 2 parts by volume of grain alcohol. Steep 2 – 4 weeks. Strain & press herb.
For example: 2 oz. fresh herb (1 part by weight) to 4 oz. (1/2 cup) of grain alcohol.
To make a tincture of Echinacea with DRIED PLANT:
One part by weight of the dried herb, steeped with 5 parts (by volume) of solvent. Steep 2 – 4 weeks. Strain & press herb.
For example: 2 oz. dried Echinacea steeped in 10 oz. solvent – 70% of 10 oz. = 10 oz. x .70 = 7 oz. grain alcohol and 3 oz. distilled water
Grain Alcohol is 198 proof (just under 100%) and Vodka is available as 100 proof (50%).
In making a tincture using the standard ratio:
FRESH PLANT: 1 part plant to 1 part grain alcohol. Fresh plant already has water in it so it is advisable to use grain alcohol so as to not dilute the tincture more.
DRIED PLANT: 4 parts plant to 1 part alcohol. 100 proof vodka is suitable.
Mountain Rose Herbs is a wonderful place to get dried, high quality herbs for making your tinctures.