Why Use A Tincture?
The primary importance of an herbal tincture is to allow for preservation of the healing properties of the herb used. In order to be effective, an alcohol tincture needs to use 45% alcohol for preservation. Additionally, all plant matter must be well covered to prevent oxidation which spoils the mix. Different alcohol/water ratios are used for different chemical properties of the herbs. My alcohol tinctures sit out on the counter for several weeks and I shake them at least once during the day. After I am sure that oxidation will not be a problem, I place the tincture in a cool, dark place in my barn for at least two months. Most well made alcohol tinctures will remain viable for ten years.
What Are Different Kinds of Tinctures?
Vinegar and Food Grade Glycerine can also be used. They preserve for less time but are also useful. Glycerin tinctures are most commonly used for children and those wishing to avoid alcohol, although my personal preference in these cases is to use a non-byproduct hydrosol for many plants.
How Much Of A Tincture Should I Take?
The amount of tincture to take remains controversial. There are advocates of “drop dosage” such as Matthew Wood who use the tinctures primarily as an energetic message to the body. Others advocate larger doses, relying on the herbal substance to heal. Formulas for herbs are also debatable. Many herbalists, particularly Susun Weed, advocate the use of “Simples” which means using only one herb at any time. Susun and others feel that this is the way to get to know an herb rather than using a formula which combines herbs.