To make glycerine tinctures you will need: Pint Jars, Boiling Water, Food Grade Vegetable Glycerine, Herbs, Crock Pot with a “warm” setting, Small Hand Towel.
Making glycerine tinctures is a bit of a different process than making alcohol or vinegar tinctures. For adults alcohol or vinegar tinctures are great, and actually preferred as they tend to extract even more of the medicinal qualities from the herbs, as well as having an almost indefinite shelf life. However, for children, the mild nature of glycerine, as well as the sweet taste and excellent extraction properties make it a great alternative to constantly having to brew up tea, or infusions that will go bad quickly.
To start, Put your dry herb mixture into a pint jar.
Next, barely cover the dry herbs with boiling water, just enough to wet the herbs. Use a spoon to tap down or stir the herbs to make sure they are all wet, and barely covered with the water.
Then add your glycerine to the jar, and fill to about 1/2 inch to the top of the jar. Put the light on tight and shake well.
If you are making more than one type of tincture at a time, be sure and write what each jar is on the top in permanent marker before you put them into the crock pot.
Take a small hand towel and put it in the bottom of your crock pot, put your jars of tincture in on top of the towel, and then fill your crock pot half full of water.
Put the lid on your crock pot and turn it on the “warm” setting. You don’t want it to cook the herbs, you just want it warm enough to leech the “goodness” into the glycerine water mixture. If you smell the herbs cooking, or the mixture is turning dark or looks or smells burnt, you crock pot is too hot. Many times this can be remedied by taking the lid off, or leaving it slightly askew on the pot. If the jars are too hot to take out and shake once a day with your bare hands, then the pot is too hot, so leave the lid sideways.
After the tincture has been in the crock pot for three days (some do a little more, some a little less) remove the jars and strain through several layers of cheese cloth, or I simply use a crib sheet I have just for this purpose, the corners with the elastic work great for dumping the mixture into. The tincture should have darkened in color, depending on the herbs used, and should be rich and fragrant, but not burnt smelling.
It is important to dump your jar of herbs into your cloth of choice, and then twist cloth to close the top as pictured below.
Then, after your herb mixture is safely twisted into a corner it’s time to REALLY man handle it! SQUEEEZEEEE! You want every drop of goodness you can get out of this wonderful tincture! If you are using a cheese cloth squeezing is a bit easier, if you are using a more tight woven cloth, it might make you question what you are made of! But don’t give up!
After you have squeezed out all the liquid you can from the herbs, you can place the leftover herbs in the compost or garbage, and put your finished tincture into glass bottles for storage.
I don’t suggest using the tinctures out of the larger containers, as there is a much greater risk of contamination to the whole. I suggest putting some in dropper bottles, like this one:
This is an old bottle from other drops that I washed up and am using again with this fresh batch!
The tincture should keep for at least a year, you can store it in the fridge for a longer shelf life if you prefer, or if you live in a very warm climate where spoilage is more likely.
And that’s all there is to making your own herbal glycerine tinctures! Part 3 will go into more details on herbs, dosing, etc.
Happy concocting all!