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Herbal Medicine Making

Storing Herbs


Cold infusions
Sun tea
Lunar tea


Storing Herbs:

Storing your herbs correctly is very important especially in warm climates. After purchasing herbs, store them in the freezer for a few days and then put them into glass jars with tight fitting lids.
Keep your jars stored in a cool, dark place as moisture, heat, and light can rob your precious herbs of their potency.

Label your jars with the following information:
Name of herb or herb blend
Botanical name or list of herbs in blend
Any contraindications
Dose if applicable


A tincture, also called an herbal extract, is made by combining fresh or dry herbs with a menstrum such as alcohol, vinegar or glycerin. Tinctures are a concentrated liquid form of herbal medicine that is easily assimilated and requires no refrigeration.

Chop herb(s) coarsely and fill a clean wide mouth jar about ½ to ¾ full with herb or herb mixture.
Cover completely with menstrum. (Make sure menstrum covers herbs by at least 1- 2 inches).
Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the jar and cover tightly with the lid.
Put a label on your tincture with the contents and the date you made it.
Shake daily for at least 2 weeks or up to 6 weeks.
Strain and store liquid in dark bottles in a cool dark place.
Pour off into smaller 1, 2, 4 or 8 oz dropper bottles that you can carry with you.
Dosage depends on herb(s) used and disease or imbalance but usually ½ tsp. 3 times per day for chronic imbalances or 1/8 – ½ tsp. Every hour or two for acute. *These dosages are based upon tinctures made by yourself using whole herbs, not standardized or other commercially made products.

Note: You can make tinctures for either internal or external usage. Just be sure to label “For External Use Only” where applicable.

A menstrum is the liquid used to extract the constituents from the plant material. When you make a tea, the menstrum is water. When making a tincture the menstrum is alcohol, vinegar or glycerin. Unlike water, these menstrums not only extract out the plant constituents but they also preserve your medicine, often for many years.

Alcohol has the greatest range of uses and is by far the most used of all three menstrums.
It extracts a wide range of plant constituents and preserves your precious medicines for many years.
It is quickly and easily absorbed in the body so you get the effects of your medicine quicker.
Quality in all your ingredients is very important so make sure to buy the best alcohol you can afford.

Be sure to use 100% vegetable glycerin.
To make a tincture using glycerin, the ratio is 75% vegetable glycerin and 25 % water. (3/4 part glycerin with 1/4 part water)
Glycerin is a highly nutritive substance.
Glycerin tinctures (at 80% glycerin, 20% water) keep for 2 years or longer.
Glycerin is a great alternative for alcoholics.
Glycerin is added to tannin-rich tinctures (at 10% concentration) to prevent the precipitation of alkaloids.
Glycerin is safe for the stomach and fine for use with ulcers.
Glycerin is sweet and makes a good base for kids’ medicine.

Vinegar is a food and is helpful for the digestive tract. It helps your body’s acid/alkali balance.
You can use vinegar when tincturing herbs you use daily as a tonic or for more chronic conditions. Vinegar extracts minerals very well, so it’s a good choice for things like “High Calcium Tinctures”.
Add a bit of cayenne pepper and honey to your vinegar tinctures to cut the bite of the vinegar.
White vinegar is preferred over apple cider vinegar due to its longer shelf life.
Keep tinctures in a cool dark place.
Shelf life is approximately 2 years.


Teas are one of the least expensive and easiest way to prepare herbs. Typical dosage is one teaspoon of herb per cup of water. A traditional adult dosage for a long standing chronic condition is 1 cup 3-4 times a day or 1 quart a day. Medicinal formulas are usually much stronger teas using much more herb (up to 1 ounce herb or herb blend per quart but not always).

Decoctions are made when using roots, barks, berries, and more tenacious plant parts.

Use 1 tsp. To 1 Tbsp. dried herb per cup of water (2-6 Tbsp. fresh herb).
Put herbs and COLD water in non-aluminum pan (glass and stainless work well)
Cover tightly and bring to a simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Strain and drink.

Infusions are made when using leaves, flowers, and roots high in volatile oils such as valerian or sassafras. Infusions can be made in a pot, tea pot, French press, or a mason jar.

Use 1 tsp. To 1 Tbsp. dried herb per cup of water (2-6 Tbsp. fresh herb).
Traditional daily dosage on most preparations is 2-4 cups per day.
To make 1 quart, I put about 4 Tbsp. of dried herb in quart jar or teapot and fill with hot to boiling water.
Cover tightly and steep 20 minutes or overnight. Strain and drink.

Cold Infusions

Sun teas are a great way to prepare your teas using the energy of the sun and earth. Sun teas work best with leaves and flowers. Place 1 cup of dried herbs in a one gallon glass container. Fill container with pure, cold water and cover tightly. Set in the sun for 4 to 6 hours. Strain and refrigerate.

Lunar teas are great especially for formulas designed to balance the reproductive system. Use the same procedure as you do when making sun teas except, this time, set your teas in the moonlight and leave them overnight. Strain and drink first thing in the morning.


1 teaspoon of dried herb to 1 cup of water
1 teaspoon of dried herb = 1 tablespoon fresh herb
60 drops of tincture = 1 teaspoon of tincture
1 teaspoon of tincture = 1 cup of tea = 2 “00” capsules


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For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Use as directed. Individual results may vary.