The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Solving Tincture Difficulties

The standard method of making a dry plant tincture is one part herb by weight to five parts menstruum by volume. An example is two ounces of licorice root in 10 fluid ounces of menstruum. The finished product is labelled 1:5.

Most herbs can be tinctured this way. There are always exceptions and this article gives three ways to work with herbs that are too large in volume to be covered by the menstruum when the traditional method is used.
These methods are:
1. Double Maceration Method
2. The Blender-Smoothie Method
3. The Weighted Rock Method


When to Use a Double Maceration

A few herbs are light and fluffy enough that the usual 1:5 ratio doesn’t work. Mullein leaves, calendula flowers and rose buds are examples. One ounce of these herbs in a jar takes up more space that 5 ounces of menstruum can cover. For these herbs the double maceration process is used.

Double Maceration Example
Combine one ounce dried mullein leaf and 10 ounces menstruum in a canning jar. Let sit for at least two weeks and strain. This menstruum (now a mullein tincture) is a 1:10 ratio.

Use the 1:10 mullein tincture as the menstruum and add another one ounce of dried mullein leaf. You may need to add a bit of fresh menstruum to get precisely 10 ounces. Let sit for at least an additional two weeks and strain. The final product is now 1:5.

Note:
The Double Maceration process can also be used for a batch of dried herbs that has lost some of its potency due to age.
For this, make a 1:5 tincture the standard way.
Save the finished menstrum and add more herb to get the 1:5 ratio again.


The Blender-Smoothie Method
Use a 1:5 ratio.
Place the measured amount of menstruum in a blender.
Turn the blender on.
Slowly and gradually add the measured amount of herb.
This creates a smoothie consistency, like a thick green pudding.
More herb can fit into the 1:5 ratio because the blending does away with the extra air space.


The Weighted Rock Method
Make a 1:5 tincture as usual. If the herb is sticking up above the level of menstruum, place a proper sized and weighted rock on top of the herb to push it back down under the menstruum level.
It is essential that the herb is always submerged below the menstruum level.
Any herb left exposed to the air can spoil the tincture.

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