How To Make Tinctures: Step-by-Step

How To Make Tinctures: Step-by-Step

Tinctures have a long history as natural remedies for various ailments. Whether it's a sore throat, sleep, or digestive issues, making your own tinctures can be empowering and affordable. In this article, we'll guide you through creating tinctures at home step by step. From gathering ingredients to extraction methods, we'll provide all the information you need to create potent herbal remedies.

What Are The Benefits Of Making Your Own Tinctures?

Making your own tinctures offers several benefits. Making your own tinctures offers control over ingredients, ensuring high-quality organic herbs. If you're concerned about pesticides or chemicals in store-bought options, this is vital. Creating your own tinctures saves money long-term, and allows customization for individual needs. You can choose the herbs and proportions that work best for your unique health concerns. This level of personalization can lead to more effective and targeted results. Making your own tinctures is rewarding and empowering allowing you take charge of your health and well-being while creating natural remedies.

How To Make Tinctures

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients and Supplies

Before you begin making your tincture, you'll need to gather all the necessary ingredients and supplies. Here's what you'll need:

  1. Herbs & Musheooms: Choose herbs or mushrooms that are appropriate for your specific needs. Note that some herbs are better processed fresh, like Milky Oats, where many herbs and mushrooms can be processed from dried material. Make sure they are of high quality and organic if possible. Common herbs used for tinctures include echinacea, chamomile, lavender, and ginger.
  2. Alcohol: The most commonly used alcohol for making tinctures is vodka, as it has a high alcohol content and a neutral taste. You can also use other high-proof alcohols like rum or brandy. Most ideal is a high proof alcohol like a 95% neutral cane or grain alcohol. This high proof alcohol can easily be diluted to the specific menstruum ratio needed for the herb or mushroom you are processing.
  3. Jar with airtight lid: Use a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid to store your tincture. Mason jars or amber glass jars are commonly used.
  4. Labels: It's important to label your tincture jars with the date of creation and the herb used. This will help you keep track of your tinctures and their potency.
  5. Strainer or cheesecloth: You will need a strainer or cheesecloth to separate the liquid from the herbs when the tincture is ready.

Step 2: Prepare Your Herbs

Once you have gathered your ingredients, it's time to prepare your herbs. Follow these steps:

  1. Measure: Measure out the desired amount of dried herbs. A general guideline is to use a ratio of 1 part herbs to 5 parts alcohol or menstruum by weight, but you can adjust this ratio based on your preferences and the strength of the herb. In folk methods you cover the herb or mushroom with just enough alcohol or menstruum so the material is fully soaked, if you aren’t worried about exact ratios this method works great.
  2. Grind: If necessary, grind the herbs into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or a grinder. This will help extract the active compounds more effectively.
  3. Place in jar: Transfer the ground herbs into your glass jar, filling it about one-third to one-half full. Make sure the jar is clean and dry before adding the herbs.

Step 3: Add Alcohol and Seal the Jar

Once your herbs are prepared, it's time to add the alcohol and seal the jar. Follow these steps:

  1. Pour alcohol: Pour enough alcohol into the jar to completely cover the herbs. Make sure the herbs are completely submerged to ensure proper extraction.
  2. Shake: Give the jar a good shake to mix the herbs and alcohol together.
  3. Seal the jar: Place the lid tightly on the jar and make sure it is sealed securely. This will prevent any air or contaminants from entering the tincture.

Step 4: Steep and Shake

After sealing the jar, it's time to let the tincture steep and infuse. Follow these steps:

  1. Store in a cool, dark place: Find a cool and dark place to store your tincture. This will help preserve the potency of the herbs and prevent any degradation due to light or heat.
  2. Shake daily: Shake the jar daily to agitate the mixture and help with the extraction process. This will ensure that the active compounds in the herbs are fully extracted into the alcohol.

Step 5: Dual Extraction

Some materials require a dual extraction for the best results. This process is crucial for most mushroom extraction, and some herbal extractions as well. For materials that require this process consider the following steps.

  1. Strain the alcohol off of your material and set it aside.
  2. Collect the mushrooms or herbs and put them into a pot and cover them with water.
  3. Heat the water to a simmer or boil depending on your material and let it cook for 2-8 hours.
  4. Strain off the “tea” and combine it with the alcohol.
  5. Ensure the final alcohol content is no less than 25% so that your extract is properly preserved. 

Step 6: Strain and Store

After the tincture has steeped for the desired amount of time, it's time to strain and store it. Follow these steps:

  1. Strain the mixture: Place a strainer or cheesecloth over a clean container and carefully pour the tincture through it. This will separate the liquid from the herbs, leaving you with a pure tincture.
  2. Squeeze out the herbs: Use a spoon or your hands to press and squeeze the herbs in the strainer or cheesecloth to extract any remaining liquid.
  3. Transfer to a storage container: Pour the strained tincture into a clean glass jar or dropper bottle for storage. Make sure the container is airtight to preserve the tincture's potency.
  4. Label and date: Don't forget to label your tincture with the date of creation and the herb used. This will help you keep track of your tinctures and their shelf life.

How Long Should Tinctures Be Allowed To Steep (Macerate)?

Steeping, also known as maceration, is a crucial step in the tincture-making process, as it allows the herbs to infuse into the alcohol or solvent and release their medicinal compounds. The duration of steeping for tinctures is a vital factor in determining the potency and effectiveness of the final product.

Tinctures generally need to steep for at least two to six weeks. This steeping period allows for the complete extraction of the active constituents found in the herbs, ensuring that the tincture is as potent as possible.

Before making a tincture, it's important to research the steeping times for different herbs. For instance, chamomile or lavender only need to steep for two to four weeks. In contrast, ginseng or valerian root may benefit from a longer steeping time of four to six weeks.

Remember, each herb has its own requirements. It's important to note that some herbs may even require several months of steeping to achieve maximum potency.

What Type Of Container Should Be Used To Store Tinctures?

The ideal container should be airtight, light-resistant, and made from a material that won't interact with the tincture's constituents. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Glass Bottles:

Glass is the most commonly recommended material for storing tinctures. Amber or cobalt blue glass bottles are particularly popular due to their ability to block out light and protect the tincture from UV radiation, which can degrade its potency. Make sure the glass bottle has a tight-fitting lid or dropper to prevent air exposure.

  1. Dark-Colored Bottles:

If amber or cobalt blue glass bottles are not available, you can also choose dark-colored glass bottles like green or brown. These options offer some level of light protection. However, they may not be as effective as amber or cobalt blue bottles.

  1. Dropper Bottles:

For tinctures that require precise dosing, using dropper bottles can be advantageous. These bottles typically have a built-in dropper or a separate dropper cap that allows for easy and accurate measurement.

  1. Stainless Steel or Aluminum Containers:

Glass is preferred, but stainless steel or aluminum bottles are suitable if you're concerned about breakage. Just make sure the interior of the container has a food-grade lining to avoid any interaction between the tincture and the metal. Additionally, make sure the container has a tight-sealing lid to prevent air exposure. It is best to avoid long term storage in metal containers, if possible.

What Is The Best Ratio Of Herb To Liquid When Making a Tincture?

The most commonly recommended ratio for making a tincture is 1:5. This means using one part of dried herb to five parts of liquid. For example, if you have 50 grams of dried herb, you would use 250 milliliters of liquid. This ratio is a good starting point for most herbs and provides a balanced extraction.

However, some herbs may require different ratios to achieve optimal results. Some powerful herbs, such as Valerian root or Echinacea, benefit from a higher herb-to-liquid ratio, like 1:3 or even 1:2. Conversely, more delicate herbs may need a lower ratio, such as 1:7 or 1:8, to prevent overpowering the tincture.

It's crucial to note that the liquid used in tincture making is typically alcohol, such as vodka or brandy, due to its ability to extract and preserve the medicinal properties of the herb effectively. For a non-alcoholic choice, substitute alcohol with vegetable glycerin or apple cider vinegar.

How Should Tinctures Be Stored?

Proper storage is essential to maintain the potency and effectiveness of tinctures. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Keep tinctures in a cool, dark place: Heat and light can degrade the medicinal properties of tinctures. Keep them in a cool area, away from direct sunlight, like a cupboard or pantry.
  2. Avoid moisture and humidity: Moisture can cause mold growth and spoil the tincture. Make sure the storage area is dry and free from excess humidity.
  3. Label and date the containers: To keep track of your tinctures and ensure you use them within their recommended shelf life, label each container with the herb used and the date of preparation.
  4. Shake regularly: Tinctures can settle over time, with the herb components sinking to the bottom. To evenly distribute the active compounds, shake the container gently once or twice a week.
  5. Check for signs of spoilage: Occasionally inspect your tinctures for any signs of mold, discoloration, or a foul smell. If you see any of these signs, discard the tincture to prevent health risks.

What Is The "Folk Method" In Tincture Making?

The "folk method" in tincture making is a less precise approach that relies on intuition and experience rather than specific measurements. It involves combining herbs and liquid in a jar, typically using a 1:5 or 1:3 ratio, and allowing the mixture to steep for several weeks. The jar is typically shaken daily to ensure proper extraction.

The advantage of the folk method is its simplicity and flexibility. It allows for experimentation and customization based on personal preferences and the specific properties of the herbs being used. However, it may not yield consistent results and can be less reliable for achieving specific dosages.

When using the folk method, remember that certain herbs need longer steeping times, while others benefit from shorter ones. It's also important to strain the tincture thoroughly after steeping to remove any plant material and ensure a smooth and potent end product.

Although the folk method can be fun and creative for DIY enthusiasts, seek guidance from a knowledgeable herbalist or do thorough research to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your tincture.

What Is The Difference Between a Tincture and An Extract?

Tinctures and extracts are both concentrated forms of plant materials used for medicinal purposes. To create tinctures and extracts, plant parts like leaves, flowers, or roots are soaked in alcohol or glycerin to extract beneficial compounds. These may consist of essential oils, antioxidants, and health-boosting vitamins and minerals.

The main difference between tinctures and extracts is the concentration of plant material and the solvent used. Tinctures are made by soaking plant material in high-proof alcohol, like vodka or grain alcohol, for an extended period.

The alcohol acts as a solvent, drawing out the active constituents of the plant. Tinctures generally have a higher alcohol content compared to extracts, typically ranging from 40% to 90%. A high alcohol concentration preserves the tincture longer, usually for several years.

Meanwhile, an extract is made by soaking plant material in a solvent like alcohol, glycerin, vinegar, or water. The choice of solvent depends on the desired properties of the final product.

Unlike tinctures, extracts can have lower alcohol content, making them better for those who avoid alcohol or have sensitivities. Extracts are also typically more concentrated than tinctures, as they often involve a longer extraction period or additional processing steps to further concentrate the beneficial compounds.


In conclusion, crafting your own tinctures at home offers a range of benefits, including control over ingredients, cost-effectiveness, and customization to your specific health needs. Following the step-by-step guide ensures potent herbal remedies, while proper storage and shaking maintain their quality. Seeking guidance and understanding the difference between tinctures and extracts further enhance the tincture-making experience. Embrace this empowering tradition to connect with natural healing practices and create personalized remedies for improved well-being.

Final Thoughts

At Feral Fungi, we are masters of mushrooms. Our devotion to excellence shines through in our expertly crafted mushroom extracts, which are made from carefully selected US ingredients sourced locally. Join the countless Americans who have chosen Feral Fungi for their path to wellness, as we bring the finest mushroom extracts from the beautiful state of Oregon right to your doorstep.



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our product has not gone under clinical trial and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, or any other diseases listed in this article. 


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