Tinctures offer an easy yet effective way to consume the healing medicine found in plants.
Tinctures are used to treat a wide variety of medical issues, including, but not limited to, immune support, insomnia, anxiety, hormone regulation, cardiovascular health, digestion problem, and many more. As more and more people return to natural, holistic methods for first-line treatment in personal healthcare, the use of tinctures is on the rise.
But, like many medicines, tinctures don’t always taste that great. Here are four ways to take tinctures without making a bitter face 😖.
But first - What is a Tincture?
Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that use alcohol as the solvent. We all know Vanilla Extract, right? Well, that’s a tincture! Tinctures are made when plant material - leaves, flowers, roots, etc, are steeped in alcohol to extract the medicinal qualities of the plant.
Herbal extracts may also be made with vegetable glycerin, vinegar, or even water. These are not tinctures, as a tincture by definition uses alcohol as the solvent. Extracts made with other solvents may be called elixirs, oxymels, or glycerites. Herbal extracts as a whole are a fantastic way to ingest the healing properties of herbs. Your choice of extract depends on many factors, including your overall health and physiology, the issue you want to address, the results you seek, and whether or not you have sensitivity to alcohol.
Why Take Tinctures?
- Tinctures are potent. Because of the extraction process, they contain a higher concentration of medicinal properties than found in tea.
- Tinctures are easily absorbed by your body. Because tinctures are highly concentrated, they don’t require digestion to begin working.
- Tinctures are convenient. You can quickly take a few drops of tincture in your beverage of choice or under the tongue when needed. Because tinctures come in small dropper bottles, you can carry them with you wherever you go. And, they have a shelf life of several years!
Ugh - but the taste is not so great!
It’s true - the alcohol in tinctures does make for an unpleasant taste. While many people ingest tinctures sublingually, or under the tongue, this method can turn some folks off due to the bitter, spicy flavor. Not to worry, though. You can take your medicine with a smile instead of a bitter face :)
Here are four ways to take your tincture with a smile:
1. Burn off the alcohol
Simmer your tincture dose in a small amount of water for about 5 minutes. This will burn off the alcohol content, removing the alcohol taste without reducing the medicinal benefits. If you are someone who avoids alcohol for any reason, you might try this method. Alternatively, another form of extract, like an oxymel or glycerite, may be a suitable replacement.
2. Drink with Tea
3. Add Honey
There may have been some occasions where I’ve dropped my tincture straight onto a spoonful of honey and gleefully put the whole spoon in my mouth. I admit it. I have a very demanding sweet tooth! But, you know what? It works! And, honey has its own medicinal benefits, especially if you have a sore throat. You don’t have to be as uncouth as me, though. Mixing your tincture in a small bit of warm water with a spoonful of honey works just as well. If you are vegan or just not a fan of honey, you can try agave or a simple syrup instead.
4. Dilute with Water or Juice
Typically, tinctures come in a one-ounce bottle with a dropper. A standard tincture dose is one to two dropperfuls, 2-3 times per day. Sometimes, you’ll see a tincture dosage recommended as 30-60 drops - this is about the same as 1-2 dropperfuls.
However, there are different approaches to dosing based on the remedy as well as the stage of illness. For urgent issues, such as a headache, insomnia, or you’ve caught the flu, you can, in general, up the dosage. If you take tinctures as a long-term strategy for wellness, I suggest consulting with an herbalist to discuss your specific situation. And, always do your research.
Final Word of Advice
Many herbal remedies are safe for all types of use. But, we are all different, and it’s important to be aware of what you ingest, as well as any potential side effects. Always do your own research and get comfortable with your plant medicine knowledge. If you have any health concerns or take medication of any kind, speak with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any herbal remedy.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!