Tinctures are an alcoholic liquid made by steeping either fresh or dried herbs in a
mixture of alcohol and water for several weeks. This then extracts the active ingredient of the herb.
The strength of the alcohol is varied according to need – different strengths extract different constituents. For example, you may use 25% alcohol to extract polar constituents such as polysaccharides, tannins, anthocyanidins and berberine. At least 45% alcohol is needed to extract volatile oils and a very high alcohol content of 90-95% is needed to extract non-polar resinous constituents from plants such as Calendula and Myrrh.
The usual dose is one teaspoon (5ml) three times a day although children can respond very well to drop doses and I am a big fan of using large ‘heroic’ doses for some acute conditions such as a chest infection.
I buy my tinctures from reputable, sustainable, quality controlled British suppliers. Where possible my tinctures are also organic. One day I hope to make my own tinctures.
There are many other ways to take herbal medicine if you wish to avoid alcohol. Please do call me to find out the various options.