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How To Make Your Own Tinctures In 6 Simple Steps

tinctureTinctures have been used for centuries as a way to extract the beneficial compounds from natural plant sources. Tinctures are a great way to get the most from your medicinal herbs, increasing their power and potency and making them easy to take or apply topically. With just a little practice and a bit of equipment you can be making customized tinctures out of all of your favorite plants and herbs in no time.

What Do I Need To Get Started?

While tinctures are easy to make with equipment that you might have in your kitchen, it’s useful to have a few things on hand especially for preparing and storing them. 
  • Scale: One of the big benefits of making tinctures is that they can easily be stored. Use a scale to measure your herbs, and make enough to take tomorrow and the next day.
  • Measuring Cup: Along with a scale, accurate liquid measurements mean you know exactly how strong your final product is. Always weigh and measure your tinctures, not just for safety, but so you can reproduce your results.
  • Strainer: Made with stainless steel mesh to last a lifetime, this strainer will get the plant material out of your tincture after it’s been extracted.
  • Alcohol: Ethanol is the only alcohol that you should use for tinctures. Using pure ethanol means you can add as much or as little water as you like. Most vanilla extract, for instance, is made with 40% alcohol. 1 part water, 1 part 95% alcohol can also work.
  • Glycerine: Used to stabilize alcohol-based tinctures, adding glycerine is an optional step that will slow evaporation and keep your tinctures fresh.
  • Citric Acid: Pure food-grade citric acid will help keep your tinctures fresh, as well as acidifying them for efficient extractions.
  • Stainless Steel Funnel Set: The best way to avoid spills and fill small bottles, this set of funnels has a range of sizes, making them useful for batches of every size.
  • Extraction Bottle: These chemical resistant bottles are guaranteed not to break down or release harmful compounds into your tincture even when heated.
  • Storage Jars: Amber-colored glass jars are the best way to store your tinctures. The colored glass will keep out light so they stay potent longer, and the chemical resistant cap is great for alcoholic tinctures.

boiling jar for tincture
Here is how to get a tincture simply.

Alcohol-Based Tinctures In 6 Easy Steps

1. Weigh

If you’re making more than one dose of tincture at a time, and you should be, make sure to weigh the herbs and write down the weight before you start. This step is vital for determining dose later, and should not be skipped.

Recommended dosage:

  • Add 4 ounces (113g) of powdered herb with 1 pint (473ml) of 40% alcohol
  • Add 7 ounces (198g) of dried herb material to 35 fluid ounces (1 liter) of 40% alcohol

You can use 40% liquor such as vodka or save some money by using watered down 95% ethanol (half water / half ethanol to get about 40%)

2. Steep

Add your pre-weighed herbs to a glass or chemical-resistant plastic container then cover them with alcohol. If you’re using citric acid, add that now and give it a stir. If not using a water bath, steep your herbs for a week in a cool place. If you’re using a water bath, warm the water to a simmer before removing it from the heat and placing the container gently in the water. Leave the container in the hot water for an hour and repeat once with freshly heated water.

3. Strain

Strain the herbs out of your tincture with a sieve and pour the tincture in a bowl to evaporate.

4. Evaporate

Cover the bowl full of your tincture lightly with aluminum foil to keep out dust. Allow the alcohol to evaporate until it has reduced in volume by at least half.

5. Measure

Using a measuring cup and the starting weight of your herbs, you can now figure the strength of your tincture. Divide the weight of the herbs from the first step by the final volume of your tincture. For instance, if we start with 200g of mullein and end up with 10 tablespoons of tincture, the final strength of our tincture is 20g of mullein per tablespoon.

6. Label and Store

It’s a good idea to label the tincture with the name of the herbs used, the strength from the previous step, and the date that it was made. When stored in a cool, dark place, your tincture will stay potent for a year on average.

Optional. Add glycerine
When the tincture is done you can now add glycerine.
Glycerine is used to ‘stabilize’ the tincture and stop it from evaporating so quickly. It also works as a preservative to keep the chemicals in the extract from degrading over time. Depending on the tincture, you would want to have about 5-10% glycerin.

All About Alcoholic Tinctures

Alcohol-based tinctures are a great way to get the benefits of medicinal herbs while lessening stomach discomfort and other side-effects. Alcoholic tinctures can be added to drinks or applied topically, depending on the nature of the herb and the results you want. Mullein tincture, for example, has been used for centuries as a cure for earaches, while tincture of Kratom is a powerful pain reliever.

Because of the nature of alcohol as a solvent, nearly every herb can be extracted using it. Whether the active ingredients are essential oils or alkaloids, alcohol will dissolve them efficiently and quickly leaving you with a concentrated, effective medicine. There are a few tricks to making your own alcohol-based tinctures at home as well as shortcuts that you can take to speed the process.

Heating the alcohol to steep the herbs speeds up the extraction time significantly, but remember that alcohol vapors are flammable, so care must be taken to keep away from open flames while you make your tincture. A hot water bath, however, gives you the best of both worlds. You can make your tincture in a short amount of time while still remaining safe. In order to make an effective water bath, you should boil water in a pot and then place the container of alcohol and herbs, with the lid off, into the hot water. Do not do this on the stove top, remove the pot of water from the stove and turn off the heat before placing the container into the water.

Glycerin is an excellent addition to alcoholic tinctures. It’s plant-based and all-natural, and the properties of glycerin help stabilize the finished tincture and keep it from evaporating during storage. Especially if you are using pure alcohol, glycerin is an excellent addition to tinctures that will be stored for long periods of time.

A small amount of food safe acid, like citric acid, is also a great additive for your tinctures. Citric acid helps to keep the alkaloids in the tincture in their salt form. Alkaloids are responsible for the medicinal effects of many natural herbs and can exist in two forms. Salts, also called acidic salts, are one form. Salts tend to be more stable than the other form, alkaloid freebases. In plants, alkaloids are often found in a mixture of both freebase and acidic salts, but converting them all to salts makes for a more efficient, stable, and potent tincture.

The last thing to keep in mind with your tinctures is storage. Storing tinctures in an amber-colored glass jar in cool conditions will prolong their potency. Light and heat break down many of the natural compounds found in herbs, and tinctures stored in a warm place or in sunlight will quickly lose their effects.


That’s all there is to making your own tinctures. There’s no reason to keep paying the high prices or live with the limited selection of health store tinctures. Buy your herbs in bulk online and save money while getting exactly what you need.

Once you’ve mastered simple tinctures, try mixing two or more herbs together in order to make compound tinctures. Kratom, wild dagga, and kava kava will provide pain relief and relaxation. Scullcap and blue lotus tinctures treat insomnia. Or try a tincture of calamus root and kanna for energy and focus. When you make your own tinctures, you’re in complete control.

Damiana Love Tincture
Have fun!

Marshmallow roots

IMG_8011The Marshmallow root (Althea Officinalis) is also known as white mallow herb. Other alternative names are Malvavisco, Althea, Khatmah, Usubeni-tatiaoi, Khitmi, Iviscus, and Ghasul. This psychoactive herb  originated from Europe. Its therapeutic effect to the body explains why it is use as an alternative medicine.

Ancient medicines use this herb as a tea. It produces several desirable effects to the body, which are bound to prevent other lifestyle diseases such as hypertension. The marshmallow root had been adopted for domestic use in America. It is one of the identified beneficial herbal medicines in Asia, as well. This herb predominantly thrives in the salty and dark marshes.

Medicinal Benefits of Marshmallow Roots

The marshmallow root has several medicinal benefits. Aside from the roots, other part of this psychoactive herb is used as an active ingredient for teas, food supplement, and pharmaceutical medications.

The flower of this herb is used for conventional processing in making cough syrups. It contains potent natural compound that can loosen thick secretions. Thus, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture expectorants use the flower of this herb to extract the essential elements.

Other medicinal benefits of Marshmallow root (Althea Officinalis) are:

1. Used as a remedy for sore throat. Ancient medicine extracts the large amount of mucilage found in this herb to treat respiratory problems such as pertussis (whooping cough) and bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes).

2. The active compound found in this herb produces therapeutic effect for alleviating the manifestations of diarrhea (watery stool). It improves the peristaltic movement, which facilitates proper digestion. The marshmallow root is effective for relieving the signs and symptoms of several digestive problems like Chron’s Disease, Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

3. Drinking of marshmallow root tea has been linked to weight loss, as well. The physiologic effect of the tea can block the body’s receptor, which signals the hunger center of the brain. As a result, people who drank this tea may have the feeling of fullness, and thus, eat less.

Therapeutic Effects of Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root tea involves anti-inflammatory effect. It works effectively for reducing the occurrence of peptic ulcer disease (PUD), ulceration in the mouth, gastroenteritis, colitis, and hiatal hernia.

1. This psychoactive herb works for external application. In 1960, laboratory tests were conducted about the effects of Marshmallow roots for topical use. The research output states that, when applied topically, Marshmallow roots can reduce inflammatory processes on the skin surface.

2. It works effectively for wounds, cuts, and other skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema. Other solutions made of this herb works to treat conjunctivitis (sore eyes).

3. Other domestic products like mouthwash may contain this herb. The roots of the marshmallow plant can help reduce the inflammation of gums (gingivitis).

4. It reduces the extent of irritation in the mouth, which commonly affects the teething infant. The roots are peeled and can be chewed, as well.

Proper Dosages and Administration of Marshmallow Root

There are supplements in the form of herbal tablets, which contain marshmallow roots. These are ingested orally or crushed and mixed to liquid.

1. It is recommended to take 5 mg of marshmallow root tablet and mixed it with water. Take at least 5 – 10 ml of the mixture for 3 times in a day.

2. For cough and other respiratory ailments, 2 grams of marshmallow root is sufficient to obtain its effect. Mix the solution to cold water and leave it for 2 hours. Afterwards, use the mixture as mouth gargle and do this for 2 times in a day.

3. For topical application, peel the root and soak it in warm water. Mix it until the solution becomes pasty. Spread the solution in a clean cloth and apply it directly to the affected area of the skin.

Smoking Marshmallow roots

Marshmallow roots makes a smooth smoke . It is ideal as a base for any herbal blend alike herbs like Mullein and Damiana.  It relaxes the mind when smoked on his own, but it’s not as strong as some other herbs like Skullcap or Wild dagga flowers.

Side Effects of Marshmallow Roots

Using of this herb can provide several therapeutic effects to the body. However, there are few things that anyone should consider before using. These things are related to the potential adverse reactions, when using the Marshmallow root (Althea Officinalis). Below are the common side effects of this psychoactive herb:

1. It may produce a minimal interaction to other pharmaceutical drugs. Medications that are used for stabilizing the blood sugar (oral hypoglycemic) should be taken with precautionary measures.

2. The marshmallow root can promote milk production. However, this can affect the normal stimulation of the mammary gland. Hence, high doses of this root can cause some hormonal changes in the body.


There are no cases reported to the toxicity level of using this herb. Furthermore, there are limited resources that could involve the marshmallow roots for legal implications. It is currently legal everywhere.



Marsh Hedge Nettle (Stachys palustris)
Marihuanilla (Leonorus sibericus), commonly known as Siberian motherwort or little marijuana, is a herbaceous biennial native to Siberia, Taiwan, Korea and China. It is used as an alternative to marijuana. This herb also grows wild in Chiapas, Mexico as well as in Brazil.

Marihuanilla translates from spanish in “little marijuana”.

The herb grows between 1-2 meters tall with basal leaves that are ovate in shape. It has long flower rods that comprise of small reddish violet flowers that have an upper lip which is oblong. It should be noted that the plant is intolerant to frost thus should preferably be grown indoors as a potted plant in winter.

History and Use

Traditionally the flowers of the Marihuanilla were used in offering and devotional rites called “pujas” by the Hindu. It was also traditionally used by the Chinese as a medicinal herb owing to the belief that it could lower blood pressure, regulate menstruation, clear toxins, help blood circulation and prevent excessive clotting and ward off fungal and bacterial infections. Such use was achieved by ingesting the leaves of the herb as a vegetable and cooking its roots with pork.
Marihuanilla was also used in folk magic in Veracruz, Mexico to make the “groom return” and as a marijuana substitute in Chiapas, Mexico.

Marihuanilla is commonly used in modern day society for its pleasant taste and its relaxing effects.

Methods of Use

As an Infusion or Tea
Traditionally the Asians would use Marihuanilla by soaking 1 to 3 teaspoons of the herb in hot water for 15 minutes after which it would be drunk. The roots and leaves of the Marihuanilla may also be boiled and taken as tea as the herb has a delightfully pleasant taste.
As a Smoking Blend
Alternatively, the leaves may be collected when the herb is in bloom, dried, and smoked with rolling papers or in a pipe as a mild intoxicant. It may also be used in combination with other smoking blends and herbs such as wild dagga.
Though not commonly used in this manner, Marihuanilla may be vaporized using readily available vaporizers such as Vapor Genie and inhaled.

Medicinal Benefits

The fruits, seeds, and leaves of Marihuanilla are all considered to be of great medicinal value and its use as a medicinal herb is recorded among various cultures. Among the Chinese for instance the herb is used to treat an array of medical conditions ranging from painful menstruation and postpartum bleeding in women, as well impotency in men. The herb is also used as a diuretic as it can help treat among other things high blood pressure and kidney diseases.

Native cultures in Chiapas, Mexico also use Marihuanilla to treat and calm an array of ailments affecting the female reproductive system such as to aid in painless menstruation. This is achieved by drinking the root of Marihuanilla steeped in tea.
Marihuanilla may also be used to treat rheumatism or arthritis since its leaves are soluble in alcohol and can therefore be macerated in alcohol to create a tincture which if externally applied is useful in treating the aforementioned condition.

It may also be used as an anesthetic since it contains alkaloids that are proven to possess qualities that result in the suppression of responses by the peripheral nervous system to sensory stimulation, and one such alkaloid present in this herb is leonurine. It may therefore be used to treat an array of skin problems and bruises.


When smoked
The effects of Marihuanilla are varied and dependent on the mode of its use. Marihuanilla is mildly narcotic thus when smoked it causes mild intoxication and is therefore ideal if the idea of the user is not to get highly intoxicated. To increase its potency however Marihuanilla may be mixed with other smoking blends and herbs such as wild dagga and B. caapi leaves. It has a nice smoke that is mild tasting and therefore causes a nice relaxing high that is euphoric.
When Ingested
When drank in tea or otherwise orally ingested Marihuanilla cause a calming and relaxing effect probably owing to the fact that it contains alkaloids namely stachydrine, preleoheterin, prehispanolone, cycloleourinine, leoheterin, leosiberine, leuronurine, leosibiricin and leonurine as aforementioned.

Side Effects

Marihuanilla is not known to cause any side effects.


Use of Marihuanilla has not been made illegal in any known jurisdiction.

St. John’s Wort


St John's wort
St. John’s Wort is one of the most commonly used herbal medicine in the United States. It is also called goatweed, Tipton’s weed, and Klamath weed.
It belongs to the plant species Hypericum Perforatum.

St. John’s Wort can be found in sub tropical and temperate climates of Europe, North America, China, Russia, Turkey, and other countries. This plant prefers to grow on sandy, dry soils, with full sun, and can often be found in roadsides, meadows, waste areas, dry land, and even in cracks of sidewalks.

St. John’s Wort is considered to be a feel-good plant and is mostly used to reduce mood disorders. The name is derived from the day of the year when the plant’s flowers bloom. They bloom for the first time in a year during John the Baptist’s birthday-on June 24, thus the name, St. John. The flowers come out during the Summer Solstice-which is the longest day of the year. Wort means plant in Old English.

The plant has been used throughout history as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments. It was considered to be a magical plant by many. Greeks and Romans used the plant for snake bites, ulcers, wounds, and melancholy. Early Christians regard it as a holy plant, with the five petals on the flowers resembling a halo, and the red liquid that comes out once you pick it symbolizes the blood of St. John. They used to wrap it around wreaths and hang it on their front doors to ward off evil spirits. St. John’s Wort was also believed to strip witches of their evil powers.

Methods of Use

St. John’s Wort is available in tablet, capsule or in liquid form. The recommended dosage is 300 mg twice a day. There are also oils, oil based ointments and lotions. Dried herb can also be drunk as tea. Some people also use the herb by itself for smoking or infuse it with other herbs.


The effects of taking St. John’s Wort are not instant. You have to take the tablets for at least five weeks before you can truly feel the effects of the herb. Also, the herb will not actually make you feel euphoric since it will normalize your mood.

People who drink the herb as tea or smoke it do report feeling mentally calmer after, but for smoking, it would take at least 1 or two bowls a day for two weeks to feel the true effects of the herb.

Medicinal Benefits

St. John’s Wort’s main use is in alleviating mood disorders and has highly been prescribed for mild depression. In Germany, it is the number one prescribed medicinal herb for mood disorders. The most potent chemicals in the plant are Hyperforin and Hypericin. Hyperforin is said to be the main chemical in St. John’s Wort that’s responsible for its antidepressant properties. Hypericin is said to contain antibacterial and antiviral properties and increases the level of dopamine in your brain, making you feel happier.

Taking St. John’s Wort can also help in heart palpitations, menopause, people with obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety problems, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, hepatitis C, and are being studied as potential medicine for HIV and cancer.

The ointments can also be used for wounds, bruises and scraps, inflammations, first degree burns, and bug bites.

Side Effects

St. John’s Wort may be a natural herb but it does have quite a few side effects. Before you start using it, consult your doctor first if you are taking medications that can negatively interact with St. John’s Wort. Avoid taking it with alcohol, allergy drugs, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, anti-depressant medicines, and a host of other drugs.

The most common side effects are dizziness, nausea, digestive problems, tiredness, dry mouth, and sun sensitivity. It is also not recommended for pregnant women, those who are trying to conceive and breastfeeding mothers.

Taking a large amount of St. John’s Wort has also been associated with Serotonin Syndrome. Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that is associated with mood, hunger, and other bodily functions. The symptoms of the syndrome include hallucinations, nausea, loss of muscle coordination, confusion, and sweating.


St. John’s Wort is uncontrolled in the U.S., meaning the plant can be cultivated and sold legally without a license or prescription. However, if it is distributed as a supplement, it should adhere to US supplement laws and the FDA.




Wormwood was originally used as a remedy for ailments like headache, dysentery and intestinal worms but in early 18th century, it became even more widely used when French Doctor Pierre Ordinaire created a concoction with it as the main ingredient. The drink was later on named Absinthe.

Though Absinthe became an instant hit, in 1915, its production was banned because Wormwood was reported to have hallucinogenic effects when mixed with alcohol. The French government thought that it was driving drinkers to madness. It was also reported to have caused Vincent Van Gogh’s mental illness.

Its production only became legal again just recently when several modern tests claimed that the accusations n 1915 are not true. The tests indicate that even when drank in large quantities, the most that it could do is making the drinker really drunk, but nothing close to being insane.
And because Wormwood has a lot of medicinal benefits, its usage became widespread again.

Medicinal Benefits

Wormwood may be used as a relaxant. With the right dosage, it can stimulate the brain to create a peaceful and calming feeling.
Wormwood can also be used as a light anaesthetic. It is commonly used to give relief to menstrual cramps and muscle pains. It is also being used as a remedy for common cold, tapeworm, headaches, dysentery and even rheumatism.

There are also reports claiming that Wormwood is an effective and natural aphrodisiac. Thus, instead of using artificial aphrodisiacs that are not only expensive but risky as well, use Wormwood instead (or damiana).

Methods of use

Those who want milder effects of Wormwood may smoke it instead of ingesting it. The effect is quicker but it is also shorter. Hence, this method of use is recommended to those who have headaches, common colds or mild rheumatism.

To those who need to experience Wormwoods effect longer; it is advised that they make a tea out of it. Soak one teaspoon of Wormwood to a cup of hot water. Let Wormwood tea cool and then drink. It can instantly relieve moderate to severe pain and will also create a calming and relaxing feeling.


Wormwood stimulates the brain to create a calming and relaxing effect. It was also reported to relieve discomforts caused by common cold, pinworms, tapeworm, headaches, dysentery and rheumatism. This is why it became well known as a light anaesthetic. Rather than using synthetic medicines, the use of Wormwood is highly advised because it is just as effective and since its 100% natural, then there are less adverse side effects.

Side effects

When taken with alcohol or in large quantities, Wormwood might cause mild to severe hallucinations. As stated above, it is the main ingredient of absynthe.


The use of Wormwood is now legal all over the world thanks to the modern tests that disproved its alleged adverse effects and proved its medical benefits. Because Wormwood is now legal, a lot of farms has been growing it but to make sure that what you have is the most potent strains of the plant that are grown under the strictest conditions, It is important to buy it only from a reputable source.