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How To Make Alcohol Extracts

In Herbal Preparations and Natural Therapies, Debra Nuzzi St. Claire recommends using 100 proof vodka, which is readily available and is equal to the required solution of 50 percent alcohol and 50 percent water. The standard ratio is four ounces of herb to one pint of alcohol. The herb should be finely cut or powdered, placed in a clean glass jar. Initially, it is best to work with dried herbs in making tinctures, as it can be cumbersome to achieve the correct ratio with fresh herbs, which take up more space.

After pouring the alcohol over the herb, the jar is tightly covered. Shake the container for a minute or two each day. St. Claire notes that frequent shaking allows for optimum distribution. She says it also imbues the tincture with your energy.

At the end of two weeks, strain the tincture through cheesecloth, a jelly bag, or a coffee filter. If you happen to have a wine press, you could use that. "It is best to put up one's tincture on the new moon and strain it off on the full moon so that the drawing power of the waxing moon will help extract the herbal properties," suggests Tierra. Store herbal tinctures in dark glass bottles away from heat and light.

Tinctures/extracts are very concentrated, so a dose may be only a few drops or a teaspoon or two rather than a cupful. They can be put into smaller bottles, making daily doses easy to transport.