Herbal Tinctures 101

Tinctures 101

What is a tincture?
A tincture is a concentrated liquid extract of an herb or plant. Most often an herbal tincture is extracted in alcohol, though sometimes they are made with vegetable glycerin (a naturally sweet sugar alcohol that does not spike blood sugar) or apple cider vinegar. At Rhubarb Botanicals, the majority of our tinctures are crafted from freshly harvested herbs at a ratio of 1 part herb by weight to 2 parts alcohol by volume. This proportion ensures a potent concentration of the herbal constituents and a consistency in managing dosage. When making an herbal tincture the herbs are finely chopped and covered with the appropriate proof of alcohol and left to macerate for at least 4 weeks or one moon cycle. The tincture is then pressed and the 'spent' herbs are composted while the medicinal constituents of the plant remain concentrated in the alcohol.

How do I take a tincture?
Depending on your tolerance, there are many ways to take it. The easiest way is to drop the liquid directly on your tongue. If you find the alcohol too strong or do not like the taste of the tincture, you can dilute it in 1-4 oz of water, tea, or juice. Note that for our Digestive Bitters and when taking other bitter herbs to stimulate digestion, it is important that you taste the bitter flavor so I recommend taking these directly on the tongue if you are able.

What is a "dropperful?"
A dropperful is the amount of liquid that comes up into the dropper bulb when you squeeze and release the rubber top. The tincture will only fill the dropper bulb about half way - this is one dropperful. There is approximately 30 individual drops in one dropperful, which also measures out to approximately 1/4 tsp. Most of Rhubarb Botanicals tinctures have a suggested dosage of 1-2 dropperfuls which equals 30-60 drops or 1/4-1/2 tsp.

Can I take more or less than the suggested dosage?
The suggested dosage is just that: suggested. If you know that you are generally sensitive to what you consume, we recommend a lower dosage than listed at first. If you have no adverse reactions, you can increase the amount of drops you take until you find your desired range. Note that some tinctures have quite immediate effects (such as Calm, Cool, Collected; Cramp Comfort; Digestive Bitters; Stay Calm; Sleep Easy) while others are more for system restoration and may take 2-12 weeks to notice the effects. If you have any questions about dosage, drug interaction, or how to establish an herbal regimen, please reach out to us.

How long do tinctures last?
It varies depending on which plant is tinctured, though 1-5 years is a rough estimate for potency. For maximum shelf-life, keep your tinctures out of direct sunlight and areas that experience temperature extremes (ie do not leave in your car in July). Over time you may see some sediment form - this does not indicate the tincture has gone bad, just shake well before you take it. If you have an "old" tincture laying around and are curious about its efficacy, try a few drops directly on your tongue and notice what you feel. Does it still taste strong? Can you feel its' effect in your body? If not, it may be past its' prime, or you may have to take more than the recommended dosage for the same effect as a freshly extracted tincture. We hope you reach for your Rhubarb Botanicals tinctures often and utilize their magic before ever wondering if it's too far gone!