How to Make a Tincture Without Alcohol

How to Make a Tincture Without Alcohol

December 16, 2019

Most herbal tinctures today use alcohol as its base. That’s because it’s an effective preservative and powerful extractor.

But...it also tastes bad.

So today, we want to show you how to make a tincture without alcohol. 

Plus, what to buy when you don’t want to DIY.

Why You Might Want an Alternative to Alcohol-Based Tinctures

Many people can’t tolerate the unpleasant taste of alcohol. This makes them more likely to avoid tinctures altogether, causing them to miss out on their potential benefits. 

Its strong taste is also less palatable to children. Convincing them to take it is often a losing battle. Again, the herb’s benefits are left unreaped - all because of alcohol’s strong taste.

Besides, if you’re using tinctures to help cleanse or detox your body, alcohol isn’t recommended, especially if you have underlying liver issues.

Alcohol is hard on the liver and could potentially worsen your condition instead of improving your symptoms.

Moreover, ethanol – which is the major component of alcohol used to make tinctures – has a tendency to denature certain organic compounds, thereby reducing their effectiveness.

So, are you out of luck if you don’t want the typical tincture? Certainly not!

How to Make Alcohol Free Tinctures

Glycerin and vinegar are both effective (and alcohol-free) alternatives. The only downside for these types of tinctures is that they aren’t as durable as their alcohol-based counterparts.

Let’s look at glycerin first, known as “glycerites.

Using Glycerin to Make Tinctures

Vegetable glycerin was discovered in 1789 and came into mainstream use by herbalists half a century later in 1849.

The fluid is highly processed and is obtained by the hydrolysis of fixed oils or vegetable fat.

Glycerin is sometimes called glycerol. It is clear, colorless, and odorless with a consistency of thick syrup. When used as an alternative extract to alcohol, the extracts are referred to as glycerites.

Despite having anti-fermentative properties, glycerin has a relatively shorter shelf life of 14 to 24 months compared to alcohol, which has a shelf life of between 4 to 6 years.

Glycerites are certainly an herbal fan favorite and well-suited for this role because it has a very pleasant taste and provides the best alternative for children.

How to Make Glycerin Tinctures

What you need:

  • 2 mason jars
  • Organic vegetable glycerin
  • Dried herb
  • Cheesecloth
  • Bottle

Directions:

  1. Chop the dry herbs well into smaller pieces.
  2. Put the chopped herbs into a mason jar until halfway full.
  3. In the second jar, mix 1 part distilled water with 3 parts organic vegetable glycerin and shake well.
  4. After mixing glycerin and water in the second jar, pour the mixture over the herb in the first jar until full. Ensure that all the herbs are fully submerged by the liquid mixture.
  5. Shake the mixture at least every day for about 4 to 6 weeks.
  6. After 6 weeks, strain the mixture using cheesecloth and store it in a well-labeled bottle.

For your label, be sure to include the herbs used, date made, and approximate expiration date. 

Using Vinegar to Make Tinctures 

Vinegar, when used as a solvent, delivers almost the same medicinal value compared to alcohol-based tinctures.

Both vinegar and alcohol have relatively similar and rapid onset of action.

In most cases, vinegar tinctures are appropriate for children (depending on herbs used, of course!) and are not associated with chemical dependency or medical issues associated with alcohol intake.

Vinegar-based herbal tinctures also have a greater variety of use.

For instance, some people like to use their vinegar tinctures as salad dressings. 

They can also be used as a base for hot drinks especially when battling colds. The major downside of vinegar tinctures is that they have a relatively shorter shelf life of about 12 months. 

They’re also not well received by children due to taste. In such cases, glycerin tinctures may be better. 

How to Make Vinegar-Based Tinctures

What you need:

  • Dried herbs
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Glass jar with a tight-sealing lid
  • Cheesecloth
  • Funnel

Directions:

  1. Chop the dried herbs into smaller pieces.
  2. Put the chopped herbs into a glass jar and fill two-thirds full.
  3. Pour apple cider vinegar into the glass jar until the herbs are completely submerged.
  4. Cap the container tightly and label the container appropriately, indicating the date and its contents.
  5. Store in a cool, dark place.
  6. Shake at least every day for about 14 days.
  7. After 14 days, strain the contents of the container using a cheesecloth. You don’t have to strain all the tincture. Just strain the amount you need to use and leave the rest for later use as needed.

Tips for Success When Making Tinctures Without Alcohol

Although the steps for making tinctures are straightforward, you need to master the nitty-gritty of these procedures to achieve better outcomes.

Here are some things to be mindful of:

  • When filling the jar, pour the liquid to the brim. You don’t want to leave a lot of space for air when you cap it because it can cause your herbs to spoil.
  • During the process of tincture maturation, avoid direct exposure to sunlight. 
  • Label your containers appropriately with clearly defined dates so that you can monitor the amount of time they have steeped. 
  • Always use dry herbs when preparing tinctures using glycerin and vinegar. These solvents have relatively shorter shelf lives compared to alcohol tinctures and therefore have low preservative quality in the presence of water. 
  • Avoid using white vinegar because it’s highly processed and may contain additional chemicals.

Tinctures are easy to prepare, but when you’re in a crunch and need them fast, shop our store for truly high-quality tinctures without alcohol. 

We use only organic vegetable glycerin with no preservatives or chemicals.