Natural Health Blog

Why You Should Try Herbal Tinctures

Homemade Black Walnut TinctureI recommend alot of tinctures to people. I even teach people how to make them. But I guess I should start over and tell you what a tincture is...

...Websters defines tincture (ˈtiŋ(k)-chər) as : a solution of a medicinal substance in an alcoholic or hydroalcoholic menstruum. The tinctures that I make are always herbal in nature and are steeped in a solvent of some sort, usually vodka. 

Water and vodka are both excellent solvents but the problem with water is it doesn't preserve herbal infusions (herbs steeped in water). Have you ever had a bottle of vodka go bad? Nope! These medicines can last indefinitely as long as they are kept away from heat, light and air. 

So why are tinctures so great? Aside from them keeping indefinitely?

Reason #1: Tinctures are inexpensive- especially when your making them!

 1 ounce tinctures at the health food store will cost anywhere from $9 to $11. Taking 30 drops a day will last you about a month. 30 drops a day is considered a maintenance dose (to maintain health but not necessarily enough to treat acute illness). One would take more for cold, flu or other illness or disease. 

80 proof vodka and black walnut hulls I collected last fall.Making a tincture at home in a quart jar can yield you 16-24 ounce of herbal medicine. This is 16-24 (1)oz bottles for $5 to $15 depending on the type of herbs and vodka you purchase. Essentially the same cost of just 1, (1) ounce tincture!

It's JUST as effective as the store bought. They may vary a bit on potency but the difference is minimal. It's like getting a bag of oranges one week and they are really sweet. The next week perhaps they aren't quite as sweet, but still good. Herbs are food and they should (in my opinion) be thought of as such. "Let food be thy medicine..." This DOES NOT mean I feel that the FDA should regulate herbs- quite the contrary! But herbs ARE food, and based on that I don't believe they should be standardized.

Reason #2: Tinctures break down easily in the digestive tract- allowing easy absorption. 

Tinctures are liquid by definition so they are easy for most anyone to assimilate. Now if this person can not have alcohol for any reason, they can take apple cider vinegar (ACV) and use this as the solvent instead. It works nearly as well from what I've read. Plus you get the benefit of the ACV.  

Giving your body a rest from digesting anything is a bonus. Your stomach and digestive tract and all the elimination organs (liver/kidneys etc) are working 24 hours a day for 80+ years to break down all the ham sandwiches and pizza etc~ give that belly a break! Take liquid tinctures to enhance assimilation of herbs (AND THE MINERALS THAT THEY CONTAIN!) and to give your digestive system something beneficial to absorb.

Chop off the meat surrounding the nut.Reason #3: Tinctures are convenient!

One ounce bottles are air travel friendly. They easily fit in your pocket to take on the go and can be put in water or juice so that they don't taste so strong.  I would say for some folks that last statement (tinctures being strong tasting) is the biggest hurdle for some. Tinctures taste like herbs, they take on whatever bitter, leafy or earthlike flavor that the plant has. Sometimes it's not so pleasant! Personally I just put it in a shot glass and down the hatch! For my husband if an herb is particularly nasty I'll mix it with a splash of water and a little raw honey. That usually does the trick. 

Tinctures are potent too! Where you might take 6 capsules, 2-3 times a day with a particular herb- let's say Black Walnut for parasite infestations, you can take 60 drops once or twice per day and your done. Seems easier to me!

I know tinctures aren't for everyone; but if you are tired of taking alot of capsules or tablets, take a look at tinctures. They are inexpensive, effective, they are mineral rich and can be used for every ailment under the sun. If you have questions about what herbs might work for what's ailing you, reach out to me anytime at 


Finished product!black walnut steeping in vodka...

cover all herbs completely with vodka. Make sure to check the next day as sometimes more vodka is required after herbs soak absorb liquid.