So, What IS a tincture, anyway?! Simply put, a tincture is a liquid herbal extract. A solvent is used to extract the most of the beneficial properties from it. [Solvents extract more than a simple suspension would, such as water]. Solvents are liquids that breaks down the plant/herbs that they are added to. The most common solvents are alcohol, vinegar and vegetable glycerin.
You will find many tincture manufactures using only solvent in their formulas. For Shawnee Moon tinctures, I’ve always understood that a completely alcohol based tincture is not necessary. Victoria taught that alcohol is only needed as a solvent, after that, the rest is just suspension.
Purified water is included in Shawnee Moon formulas as that suspension. So you are getting a product that is not heavily laden with alcohol, just enough to draw out the needed properties and constituents from the herbs to be the most beneficial and uses water to allow for suspension needs. The alcohol also acts as a natural preservative.
The other alternatives to alcohol mentioned above are vegetable glycerin and apple cider vinegar. We do make a tincture in apple cider vinegar and water, Lobelia V, because it is traditionally most effective in that base. But on the whole, vegetable glycerin is more expensive, and apple cider vinegar is hardly palatable. I continue using grain alcohol as I was taught, and it was chosen by Victoria as what we see as a middle ground in offering an affordable product in an easy to use, safe as possible, form.
How long will tinctures last?
If stored at moderate temperatures, away from extremes, in a dark place and properly sealed/resealed, the tinctures will last indefinitely. If you noticed the seal has been broken (lid not securely replaced), or the product has been in extreme heat for extended periods, it is possible for the growth of bacteria in side the product. Always inspect the contents of the product if it has been over 12 months since last use and you suspect improper storage. The viability of the product may deteriorate with age, but on the whole, if stored properly, away from sunlight, little health value should be lost from your tinctures. Kept in a cupboard in your home, it should store well and be useful for years to come.
Want to learn more?
Check out my Herb Classes page to expand your herbal knowledge base with Biblically based herbal teaching. Plus it’s just fun! Zoom meetings happen live every Thursday, some cost and you get downloadable notes, and some are free and we just hang out talking about plants! Check out all the upcoming dates here.