So, What IS a tincture, anyway?! Simply, 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. At Shawnee Moon, we understand that a completely alcohol based tincture is not necessary. Victoria was aware 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 has water to allow for suspension needs. The alcohol also acts as a natural preservative.
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, because it is traditionally most effective in that base. But on the whole, vegetable glycerin is highly expensive, and apple cider vinegar is hardly palatable for some. We have chosen what we see as a middle ground in offering an affordable product in an easy to use, safe as possible, form.
How long will a tincture 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 to no 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.
What has been your experience with tinctures? [if any?] Comment below with your thoughts and/or questions!
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only; it is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure disease. It is simply for use in the maintenance and promotion of good health in cooperation with a licensed medical practitioner. Kerry Brock and Shawnee Moon are not licensed to treat or diagnose disease. Consult with your physician for diagnosis or treatment. By using this information you agree that the decisions regarding your health are your own responsibility and understand that Kerry Brock and Shawnee Moon are not liable for your health decisions.
Prescription for Nutritional Healing James & Phyllis Balch, Weiner’s Herbal Michael Weiner, The New Age Herbalist Richard Mabey The Way of Herbs Michael Tierra, The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine Daniel Mowery, Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible Earl Mindell, Victoria Fortner, The School of Natural Healing Dr. John Christopher, Back to Eden Jethro Kloss, The Complete Medicinal Herbal Penelope Ody, A Modern Herbal Mrs. M. Greieve, The Complete Illustrated Holistic HerbalDavid Hoffmann, The Green Pharmacy James A. Duke, Ph.D., 20,000 Secrets of Tea Victoria Zak, The Herb Book John Lust, Various informative websites containing herbal and health information, including Wikipedia.