Making vegetable glycerin tinctures is one of the easiest thing that we can do at home and anyone trying to make your own medicines should give it a try. The best thing about tinctures is the shelf life, they can be stored for a long time and if you are traveling, it comes in very handy. Tinctures can be made with alcohol or glycerin as a base, I prefer glycerin based tinctures as it can be given to young children. For the glycerin, we need food grade, pure vegetable glycerine. Nowadays every departmental store has glycerine but make sure to check that it is food grade and try to get the best quality glycerine. As for the choice of the herbs, if you are living in a city and find it hard to collect or dry herbs, opt for dried herbs that are sold in herbal shops. They sell organic herbs that are already mixed in proper proportions to suit different requirements. Like for instance, herbs that assist in general well being, herbs for cough, etc. Jut search for tincture mix kit online and you can choose the herbs according to your requirements. I opted for eucalyptus leaves for making the tincture, as there is no eucalyptus tree in our farm. I had collected some fresh eucalyptus leaves, sun dried and stored them about a month before, so it came in handy while making the tincture. But this eucalyptus tincture can be consumed only by adults as eucalyptus leaves are considered toxic for kids (it is safe for adults in smaller dosages). But for kids, this tincture can be mixed with water and can be used as a gargle for sore throat. I have also decided to make tinctures for all the herbs that I don't get in my place slowly one by one using this method. I did this whole process over my stove top and this whole process took about 3 hours. Since I used dried herbs, I mixed in a little bit of water to soften the herbs a bit. If you are using fresh herbs then you can skip the water and use just glycerine, as fresh herbs will have moisture in it. The only precaution while doing this glycerine tincture is making sure that you put a towel underneath the bottle else the bottle will break and the fire should be on the lowest setting to prevent burning. These tinctures are very concentrated medicines and should be used sparingly. The whole house was smelling good when I was making the tincture and I had a wonderful time making this tincture at home :)
1. Take the herbs that you have chosen and cut into small pieces if they are fresh or crush them with your hands, if they are dry.
2. Take a glass bottle and drop in the herbs. Wet the herbs with little bit of water till the herbs are moistened, if they are dried. If they are fresh herbs, skip the water.
3. Fill the bottle with vegetable glycerin till the herbs are fully immersed and cap it tightly.
4. Take a large pan and fill it with water. Take a kitchen towel, fold and keep it at the base of the pan, this prevents the bottle from cracking.
5. Place the bottle on top of the cloth and take another cloth and cover
the pan to retain the heat, as a lid won't fit above the bottle. Heat
the water and once it gets hot, lower the flame as much as possible.The water should not boil but should be hot enough the entire time. Let the bottle be in the pan for 3 hours. Each one suggest different timings for boiling the herbs from 2 hours to 10 hours! I went with 3 hours.
6. Remove, let cool and pour in small bottles. The individual dosage depends on the herb that you are using. For internal consumption for adults, around 10 to 15 drops of this eucalyptus tincture twice a day after food. To use it as gargle for kids, mix around 15 drops in 1/4 cup water and gargle with it.
The color of the final product depends on the herbs that you are using and the amount of time you are boiling.
You can crush the leaves finely, which I realized I didn't do for maximum extraction.
Glycerin tinctures spoil faster than alcohol based tinctures and the shelf life is from 6 to 8 months.
Glycerin tinctures taste sweet which makes it easier for the kids to swallow so try it with different herbs.