Herbal remedies such as herbal tinctures are centuries-old natural cures dating back to prehistoric times. A tincture is a potent herbal extract that is derived from medicinal herbs. According to Australasian College of Health Sciences, a single teaspoon of tincture has the equivalent medicinal potency of one cup of an herbal tea infusion. You can learn how to make a tincture at home inexpensively in a few steps.
1. Clean and sort through your herbs, discarding any yellow or moldy parts. Joyce A. Wardwell, in her book "The Herbal Home Remedy Book," suggests chopping up the herb, which helps promote extraction of the herbs medicinal properties by opening up the plant cell walls.
2. Fill up 2/3 of the glass jar with the chopped herbs. Pour in the alcohol, filling it up almost all the way to the brim, leaving about 1 inch at the top for headroom.
3. Stir the contents of the jar mix the herbs and alcohol thoroughly. This also helps to release any trapped air bubbles, which tend to cause spoilage.
4. Cover the jar tightly and then shake its contents thoroughly for one or two minutes. Label and date the jar clearly.
5. Place the jar in a dark, warm place and let it sit to allow the herbs soak (macerate) for the next four to six weeks (the longer you can leave it the better). Alternatively, you can place the jar in a paper bag, which can work just as well.
6. Shake the glass jar vigorously twice or thrice a day over this period. Check to ensure that the chopped herb material remains covered in the alcohol, and add more alcohol as needed.
7. Strain the herb material from the liquid (tincture) using muslin or cheesecloth. You may have to repeat this two or three times to strain all of the herb material from the tincture. Wrap the cloth around the herbs and wring or squeeze them through the cloth to extract every last drop.
8. Pour the strained tincture into a dark-colored glass bottle. Label the bottle, including the day's date and then store it in a dark, cool place.
9. Use your tincture by diluting one teaspoon of tincture in at least 1/4 cup of water or a glass of juice.