How Tinctures are Made

Tinctures are created by soaking plant material in alcohol, apple cider vinegar, vegetable glycerin, or MCT oil to release the beneficial compounds from within the plant’s cell walls. After the mixture has been given time to sit, usually between 1-15 days, the plant material is then strained out to create a finished product.

Man dropping CBD tincture under his tongue

How Tinctures Work

Tinctures can be used in a variety of ways, but the most popular form of consumption with tinctures is mucosal delivery. This involves the absorption of an herb through a mucous membrane.

With tinctures, this is usually done by placing a few drops under your tongue, where two large veins allow for quick absorption of the tincture into the bloodstream for fast and effective relief. Unlike with edibles, the active ingredients don’t have to be processed by your digestive system and therefore take effect more quickly. 

Other Uses for Tinctures

Tinctures can also be used as edibles when added to food. When a tincture is immediately digested instead of absorbed through the mouth, it is metabolized more slowly by the body but has longer lasting effects. To use a tincture this way, you can simply add a few drops to anything from your coffee to a smoothie or juice — or even just to your water! 

Tincture bottles with fresh thyme for making your own tinctures at home

Woman pouring alcohol into jar with herbs for making tincture at home

Supplies

  • high proof vodka

    • The higher the proof, the better here. If possible, Everclear is a great option! 

    • Alcohol is the traditional way to make tinctures, but you can also use Apple Cider Vinegar, MCT oil, or Vegetable Glycerin

  • dried or fresh* herbs

    • *The water in fresh herbs can decrease the stability and shelf life of your tinctures

  • clean, dry jar + labels

  • coffee filter

Directions

  • Grind dry herbs / chop fresh herbs & place in jar
  • Cover with vodka (or other liquid of choice)

    • Dry herbs may absorb alcohol; add more liquid to the jar as needed over time to keep herbs covered
  • Seal and place in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking every few days
    • Not patient enough to wait two weeks for a good soaking? Need your tincture today? See below for how to make a tincture in the LEVO Infusion Machine
  • Pour through a coffee filter or other strainer

  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place

    • Properly stored tinctures can be kept for 3-5 years

    • Discard if there is discoloration or change in aroma

To use: place drops under tongue

  • Hold drops as long as possible before swallowing, ideally 15-120 seconds

Safety Notes: use caution; extractions can be potent. Be mindful of whether or not the user should be exposed to alcohol

Make a tincture in the LEVO Oil Infusion Machine

  • Place herbs in LEVO infusion pod
  • Set to infuse for 4 hours at 175°F
  • Dispense into jar and store in a cool, dark place 
Kristen Williams
Tags: DIY Wellness