The beneficial properties of herbs can be extracted using a mixture of herbs and alcohol to make a preparation known as a tincture. The alcohol acts here as a preservative, and for this reason, this is a great way to store herbs out of season; a tincture will keep for up to twelve months.
Keep in mind that tinctures are much stronger than infusions, macerated oils, or decoctions, so use it in smaller quantities. Tinctures can vary in strength (e.g., 1:3 or 1:5), therefore always follow the dosage instructions on the bottle when buying. The following quantities make an approximately 1:5 tincture.
- 7oz (200g) dried herb (fresh herbs have to be dried before using, in order to reduce the water content of the tincture),
- 1 quart (1 liter) 37.5% proof vodka.
- Chop the herbs finely, and put in a large sterilized sealable jar.
- Pour the alcohol over the herbs.
- Seal the jar and store for two weeks away from direct sun, shaking occasionally.
- Strain the mixture through a piece of cheesecloth and then filter through an unbleached coffee filter.
- Pour into a sterilized dark glass bottle. Label with the name and date, and store in a dark and cool place.