Integrating tinctures into your everyday for their preventative and health enhancing use may seem like quite a leap for some. Here we offer some responses to many of the questions we receive regarding the use of tinctures, and a few extra related to our business and practices as herbal tonic makers.
What is a tincture?
Tinctures are herbal preparations that use alcohol as a solvent. Alcohol allows the most effective extraction of plant properties while preserving the herbal preparation much longer than water-extraction methods.
While utilized for many purposes, tinctures are most often offered to support, nourish, and/or balance various aspects of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Tinctures vary widely in personality based upon the plant material extracted within and the potency/extraction rate at which the plant material is extracted. Read more about potency here.
What is the difference between a tonic and a potion?
Our nomenclature is inspired by folk herbalism and hedgecraft, so the words we use to describe our remedies point to their intended use. We'll break them down for you:
Tincture: as noted above, any herbal preparation, either in single herb form or multi-herb formula, that uses alcohol as a solvent. 'Tincture' is the umbrella term for the terms below.
Tonic: Probably the most ambiguous of herbal terms, we employ tonic here to mean any preparation that is intended to be taken over a longer period of time (2-3 months minimum) to yield the greatest effects. While not explicitly stated, we consider all mushroom extracts to be 'tonics'.
Potion: A preparation to be taken as needed and not intended to be taken long term.
Bitters: A 'tonic' preparation (that is, can be taken long term) that includes bitter herbs where bitterness is perceivable on the tongue and has an affinity for the digestive system. Bitters are often, but not always, slightly sweetened.
Elixir: A tincture sweetened with honey to a greater degree than a bitters preparation.
Are your tinctures alcoholic?
Short answer: yes!
Long answer: alcohol is an excellent extractive and preservative used to extract alcohol soluble plant constituents and stabilize water soluble constituents for long term storage. All of our tinctures are between 30-40% alcohol. When taken at the recommended dosage, you will not feel effects from the alcohol.
Tell me about the booze you use.
We use organic cane alcohol distilled by a small company in Oregon. This alcohol is an incredibly pure alternative to commercial grain alcohol products, which may introduce unwanted chemical residues in our tinctures.
This organic alcohol is three-stage filtered to assure the highest level of purity and tested by an independent lab to ensure that it meets United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) standards.
How long will tinctures last?
As alcohol is an excellent preservative, in general, tinctures will last many years. We recommend using our tinctures within two years of production date, ensuring longevity by keeping your tinctures out of direct sunlight. A dark, cool room will do the trick, although our amber glass bottles do protect against light exposure to some degree.
Over time, the plant constituents extracted may precipitate out and settle on the bottom of the bottle. If this happens, simply shake the bottle gently before use. We recommend shaking before each use to awaken the potion anyway.
If you want to find out the year of production, look for the batch number on the side of the label, and shoot us an email with the batch number and product name and we'll let you know when the tincture was produced.
How many servings are in a bottle?
Our suggested serving sizes vary among our tinctures. One "dropperful" (one squeeze of the rubber dropper top) amounts to roughly 25-30 drops. One dropperful roughly equals 1 ml. At two dropperfuls (2ml) / serving, a 2oz bottle comes to about 30 servings.
If you take our tinctures daily at the recommended dosage, a 2oz bottle will likely be sufficient for a 1-month supply.
If you are enjoying a potion or bitters blend regularly (but not daily), a 2oz bottle is likely to last 2-3 months.
As always, we recommend a dosage that resonates with you. Experiment with dosage, working your way up from a low dosage, listening to your body to find the pocket!
What’s with all the haiku?
Haiku, and other small format poetry has been a trusted ally and traveling companion on my journey exploring herbalism, mycology and ecology for some years now. For a while, I didn’t try to make sense of it, I was just grateful for the company.
But recently, it’s dawned on me.
Haiku is impossible to define. In its smallness, the power and magnitude of nature can be glimpsed. Poet Billy Collins acknowledges it’s “mysterious power to cause in the reader’s consciousness a sudden shift, literally a new way of seeing.”
The form is small, and in it’s brevity there is no time to explain. Instead of explanation, the haiku conveys experience directly.
Sounds a lot like a tincture to me! Extracted within a small form, the bottle holds within it the myriad processes of nature that engendered it. Along with its ingestion, the experience and wisdom of the plant is communicated directly to the body, sidestepping the ego’s desire to grasp.
This is why both are so powerful in seeing, feeling, and healing. They offer the shift we need to tune into something that we cannot fully understand.
So, I include a haiku with each order. Not that it’s necessary. More so because it’s pointless.