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Tincture -
how to make a tincture and why is it better than infusions or decoctions.

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Tinctures are somewhat more complex to make than infusions and decoctions but they do have the advantage that they have a much longer life (some tincture can retain their potency for three or more years) and are much easier to transport than even the dried herbs, making them more convenient for travelers.

Tinctures are made commercially with pure alcohol made from grain.

While decoctions , infusions and teas can be made relatively easily by using things that are available in every kitchen tinctures are a little more difficult. They have to be planned and in all likelihood a shopping expedition is needed before you can start. Apart from that the process is simple.

Here is what you need:

An airtight resealable glass or ceramic jar - preferably opaque.
The herb
Mortar and pestle (or a coffee grinder but do not forget that it has to be cleaned of any trace of the previous use)
Alcohol - this does not have to be grain alcohol (which is pure alcohol 197 to 199 proof) but you do need 100 proof. It really does not matter whether it is rum, brandy or Vodka - any spirit of or over 100 proof is fine. Also make sure that it is ingestible (methylated spirit is not suitable as it is toxic).

Here is what you do:

Grind the herb to the consistency of ground coffee. It does not need to be ground at all but the bigger the pieces the longer it takes.
Clean the jar and dry.
Add measured amount of ground herb to the jar (normally 25 grams, but it may vary depending on the herb)
Add measured amount of alcohol to the jar (normally 150cc, but it may vary depending on the herb) 
Seal the jar and shake vigorously
Store for six to eight weeks (longer if not using powdered herb) in a dark place (unless you are sure that harmful light cannot get through the jar) shaking at least once a week.
Filter (this is purely optional as it would not do harm to leave the material in the tincture)
Store in an airtight/light free container.
You have a tincture!

Warnings and rules:
Keep out of reach of children
Take care with dosage - tinctures are very concentrated
Keep tightly sealed to retain potency
Keep in darkness if possible, tinctures retain their potency much longer if not exposed to light.

For those that do not drink alcohol it is possible to substitute the alcoholic spirit with vinegar. Tinctures made with vinegar take almost twice as long before they are ready and will not last as long.



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