Nowadays, making a tincture is almost synonymous with using alcohol as a base.
So much so that the majority of tinctures (not to be confused with extracts) you find are made of alcohol. And although they’re very potent thanks to the alcohol, you can still maintain adequate potency without it.
Supporters of alcohol-based tinctures love them because of their extra long shelf life, but there are equally beneficial alternatives to it.
If you want to avoid alcohol for whatever reason, today we want to show you how you can remove alcohol from herbal tinctures.
Instances When You Might Want an Alcohol-Free Tincture
There are a few cases where alcohol just isn’t the best choice. For example, children shouldn’t be exposed to alcohol, and the taste is hard for them to swallow anyway.
Since children can benefit from the therapeutic effects of certain kid-friendly herbs, they need an alternative way to get them in their system.
Beyond children, some people have adverse reactions after consuming alcohol-based tinctures. Alcohol, by itself, can invoke side effects in highly sensitive individuals.
It can also worsen the side effects of prescription drugs they may be taking.
Besides the risk of side effects and absolute contraindication for children, some people simply don’t consume alcohol due to personal values.
If you fall into any one of those categories, you’ll find the section below helpful.
How to Remove Alcohol from Herbal Tinctures
When prepared appropriately, alcohol-free tinctures have a relatively long shelf life. In fact, they can last for more than a year without refrigeration.
Here is a step-by-step process for removing alcohol from herbal mixtures. Or you can learn how to make an alcohol-free tincture here.
Step 1: Pour the herbal tincture into a glass jar. Do not use a metallic jug.
Step 2: Put the jug in a saucepan with cold water.
Step 3: Bring the water to boil.
Step 4: Watch it closely until the water starts boiling.
Step 5: Once boiling point is reached, turn off the heat immediately.
Step 6: Take the saucepan off the burner but leave the jug in hot water. Keep the herbs inside the jar.
Step 7: Leave the setup (without a lid) for a few hours. Being uncovered allows the alcohol to evaporate.
Step 8: Evaporation takes time to complete. In most cases, the setup is left alone for up to 24 hours. You may want to repeat the process from step 2 because the target is to reduce the initial tincture volume by one third.
Step 9: Once your target is achieved. Pour the tincture into a storage bottle. You can top it up with some honey to fill the container. Adding honey creates a syrup that tastes better and has additional health benefits (if raw and locally sourced).
Step 10: The resulting tincture should be used according to the dosage instructions of the initial label. You can store it in the fridge. This storage method is a better preservative approach.
Does This Method Really Work?
The process of evaporating alcohol is quite tedious. There are reports that it isn’t even effective.
Sometimes the difference is negligible, and it may appear like you didn’t do anything significant. And in fact, some studies have found that about 85% of the alcohol content remains.
If you store the preparation overnight in the open air without any heat, you can often get that number down to about 70%.
Usually, regarding all herbal tinctures, the amount of alcohol is negligible to the average person, but not to children, sensitive individuals, and those who don’t take alcohol due to personal beliefs.
The Better Alternative if You Want an Alcohol-Free Tincture
A glycerin based tincture is the perfect alternative. As the name suggests, they use vegetable glycerin as the agent of extraction.
However, glycerin is not as powerful of a preserver as alcohol. So you can’t store them for decades.
But most people use their tinctures long before then. Glycerin tinctures - also called glycerites - last at least a year, which is still plenty of time to use and benefit from them.
Learn more about the differences between glycerin vs alcohol here.
Benefits of Glycerin Tinctures
- Glycerin maintains active tincture constituents
Like most remedies with therapeutic benefits, tinctures have proteins and enzymes whose activity causes the effect of these tinctures.
Alcohol can sometimes denature these proteins and enzymes, while glycerin does not.
- Glycerin preserves the herbal taste.
Currently, glycerin is the only extraction solvent that preserves the natural herbal taste of tinctures.
Both alcohol and water remove their natural flavor.
- Ideal for people who struggle with healthy blood sugar levels
Alcohol is metabolized quickly into sugar. These sugars rapidly alter blood glucose levels and can lead to fluctuating blood sugar.
While this effect appears negligible for most, it can negatively impact those with certain conditions.
Glycerin, on the other hand, is metabolized slowly and doesn’t lead to sudden fluctuations in blood sugar.
If your goal is to eliminate alcohol use in your home for whatever reason, glycerin-based tinctures are your best bet. Shop our store for 100% vegan and organic glycerin tinctures today!