Herbal tinctures are making a bit of a name for themselves in the health world at the minute and with good reason too. They are simple to transport, convenient, long lasting, stable and easily absorbed into the blood stream which, are all undeniably good things in a health supplement. But what actually are tinctures, what do they do, how are they made and most importantly what can they do for me and how can I find out more? Well read on my friend and all your questions shall be answered!
An herbal tincture can also be called an herbal extract and it is simply a concentrated herbal perpetration where the purely medicinal qualities of an herb have been extracted in a liquid form. This liquid extraction is usually a mixture of distilled water and ethanol (alcohol) with herbal medicine usually having a 25% concentration of alcohol, although 45% and 90% are also commonly found. This extraction process at its base level is remarkably simple and involves no more than placing the herbs into the liquid solution and leaving for weeks on end, shaking to enhance the extraction.
Tinctures are so easy to take, the measures are clearly listed on the bottle and you can either take it directly or add it to a drink to make things even easier. This directness, means the qualities of the herbal tincture get to work straight away with no delayed reaction and because it is such an easy way of taking the medicine it is easy to do so even when out and about. This convenience is added to with the tinctures being stored in small bottles with dropper feed lids.
The main downside of tinctures is that most of them do contain alcohol. This isn’t a problem for most, but if you are trying to treat an infant, vulnerable elderly person or even someone who is particularly sensitive to alcohol then maybe a herbal tea or capsule might work better? Teas and capsules might also work better for women experiencing hot flushes as alcohol will make you feel hotter even in such small doses.
Putting that one minor disadvantage to one side for the minute, tinctures can be used to treat a wide range of health complaints from depression to PMS and it is best to consult with a herbal practitioner directly to make sure that you are going to get the right tincture for the job. However, for an overview of traditional uses of tinctures as well as a list of commonly available tinctures try Indigo Herbs for a comprehensive overview.