Alcohol vs Glycerine Tinctures

Alcohol vs Glycerine Tinctures

Tinctures are liquid extracts that are made with alcohol as all or part of the combined extraction solvent. Following the extractive process, the tincture is then separated from the spent herb and is filtered. From there it is bottled as a single herb extract or blended with other tinctures to form a compound product. Tinctures are convenient and easily dosed.

A good strong herbal tincture is some of the best medicine available. The strong taste is largely due to the amount of herb that has been drawn into the liquid, and alcohol draws out more herbal properties than anything else. While you can make tinctures out of vinegar or glycerin, they will not be as strong and neither will not have the same extended shelf life as an alcohol tinctured herb. A less powerful tincture means that you will have to take a stronger dose.

The alcohol also plays an essential role in carrying the medicine quickly and effectively, although you may dissipate the alcohol and still receive the herbal benefit.

Useful Facts:

  1. Vinegar and glycerin are two substitutes for alcohol as a tincture menstruum.
  2. Vinegar does not dissolve plant constituents as well as alcohol, but it is tolerable by most people ... including alcoholics and helps regulate the acid/alkaline balance in our bodies.
  3. Vinegar tinctures are reported to have a shelf life of 2 -3 years if stored in a cool, dark place, although the properties will begin to deteriorate after 6 months in most cases.
  4. Vinegar extracts sugars, tannins, vitamins, some minerals, glycosides, and bitter compounds.
  5. Warm the vinegar first, before using, to facilitate release of plant constituents.
  6. Glycerin is diluted 1:4 with water to make tinctures. It is good for the mucus membrane linings in our bodies.
  7. Although glycerine will dissolve sugars, enzymes, glucosides, bitter compounds, saponins, and tannins; it will not dissolve resinous or oily components, alkaloids or salts.
  8. Glycerine is sweet which makes it a good menstruum to use when making tinctures for children.
  9. Purchase only 100% vegetable glycerin for your tincture making.
  10. When taking an alcohol based tincture, the alcohol per dose is so insignificant that you are getting more alcohol when using most mouthwashes.
  11. The amount of alcohol in the average dose of tincture is equal to the amount of alcohol in a ripe banana.
  12. While tincture dosage has been tested on people who are alcohol sensitive with no adverse reactions, you should check with your healthcare practitioner first, or simply opt to remove the alcohol by putting it in a cup of just boiled water before consuming. 
  13. While dosage is different, alcohol tinctured herbs are generally safe for infants, children, and pregnant woman when the herb is considered to be safe in these instances. Meaning, not every herb in and of itself is safe in these cases. Additionally, it is always a good idea to check with your own practitioner before adding anything new into your routine.
  14. While a tincture dose is considered safe for use with alcohol dependency, we suggest consulting with your healthcare practitioner, or simply opt to remove the alcohol by following the instructions below at #15.
  15. We love the valuable role that the small amount of alcohol plays in delivering herbs to the body, however; if you're still concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water into the cup or add it to hot tea and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds.

The Herbal Toad's Line of Tinctures

We use only the highest quality herbs that are certified organic, holistically wild crafted, and/or locally grown. Our herbs are tinctured in organic alcohol and filtered water (free from harsh chemicals and fluoride treatments). This combination acts as a carrier, bringing the needed remedy straight to the blood stream to work fast and effectively. Tinctures are absorbed in the mouth and stomach and bypass the slower intestinal system which may or may not absorb the needed constituents of capsules. We hand make these wonderful herbal preparations in small batches. Tinctures are poured off into dark glass bottles creating a great product with an optimally long shelf life.


10th Jan 2019 THT Steph

APOTHECARY PIE - a Blog by The Herbal Toad