In general, use 1 part herb to 4 parts menstrum. Place 1 oz. of freshly crushed or powdered herb by weight into a 6 oz. glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour 4-oz. of 80-100 proof liquor, such as vodka or brandy, over the herbs in the jar. Stir the alcohol into the herbs until they are thoroughly saturated, then cap tightly. Bear in mind that if the herbs being tinctured are particularly fluffy and voluminous, such as flowers like chamomile, calendula or yarrow, you may need to use 1 part herb to 5 or 6 parts menstrum. So for every 1 oz. of chamomile flower by weight you will use 5 or 6 oz. of menstrum by liquid measure. Because commercial drinking alcohol contains a certain percentage of water, you need not add extra water to the solution (please refer to the Alcohol section in the Ingredients chapter for a further explanation). In a few of the formulas, 190 proof alcohol is used to make a tincture with resinous herbs such as vanilla,
but for the most part tinctures in this blog are made with 80-100 proof alcohol. Label the jar with the date and contents, and keep it in a dark place away from direct light or heat; a cupboard is a good place. Try to shake the jar daily the agitation maximizes the release of the herbal properties into the liquid but even if you don’t shake the jar you will have a potent tincture. Let the herbs steep in the liquid for a minimum of 3 weeks. (I like to let my tinctures steep for 6 weeks or longer.) After steeping, strain the tincture by placing a strainer lined with a thin cloth over a bowl and pour the entire contents of the jar into the cloth-lined strainer. ow the liquid to seep into the bowl, then gather the ends of the cloth together and squeeze out any remaining liquid. The more you squeeze or press, the more tincture you end up with. However, you can expect a loss of about 20-30 percent even after thoroughly squeezing and pressing, since the dried herbs absorb a portion of the menstrum. Note that the tincture can also be stored unstrained until needed.
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