About Herbal Tinctures: A Starting Guide
WHAT ARE HERBAL TINCTURES?
Tinctures are very concentrated liquid extracts of herbs and one of the most popular ways to take herbal medicine internally. You can simply dilute a dropperful or two of the tincture in a small amount of warm water and drink (which is wonderful if you don't want to fill your bladder before bed!). Tinctures use alcohol as the solvent, which extracts a greater amount of the medicinal constituents of the plant and preserves those constituents much longer than you can with dried herbs, or powder. Herbal tinctures are long-lasting--about 5 years--and preserve the freshness and potency of medicinal plants.
One of the reasons we find herbal tinctures to be so convenient is that they are an easy way to get herbs into your body, especially the ones that don't taste very good as a tea! Not to mention that they make it easy to take your health practices on the go; while at work, vacation, etc. when making a tea is more difficult to do.
HOW TO TAKE HERBAL EXTRACTS?
We like building our apothecary of single herb tinctures rather than pre-made blends, as it allows greater versatility to mix & match on your own for each family members' needs. For example, combining Lemon Balm + Chamomile for a good night's sleep, and Lemon Balm & Milky Oat for a stressful occasion.
How many drops of tincture should I take, and how often:
Because it's a concentrate, you don't need that much. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar offers a useful standard dosage for a 150lb adult:
- Chronic Problems (i.e. allergies): 1/2 to 1 tsp, three times a day, under the tongue or in a little warm water
- Acute Problems (i.e. a cold coming on): 1/4 to 1/2 tsp every 30 to 60 minutes until symptoms subside.
Of course, one size doesn't fit all, and optimal dosage will vary based on weight, a person's sensitivity to food & herbs, overall health, and the particular condition or health issue being treated.
For children under 12, we really like this Children’s Dosage Guide for recommendations. For bitters, we suggest 15 minutes before meals, and for them to be taken undiluted as is--the point is to taste the bitter flavors so that our digestive system responds.
Lastly, do your own research!! Pick just one herb, and dive into learning all about it.
*For medical advice always consult your healthcare practitioner. This article is based on personal experience and is not intended to diagnose or treat health conditions*