Dried Plant Tincture Recipe

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We usually tincture dried plants when fresh ones aren’t available; for example, if you buy rather than grow them. For most plants, fresh is preferred, but dried will do. However, a few plants are actually best tinctured when dried. Elderberry, elderflower, cherry bark, and alder bark have mild toxins and/or nauseating properties that are eliminated in the drying process. Many adaptogenic roots, such as ashwagandha, are traditionally dried first to enhance potency.


  • 1 part by weight dried herb
  • Jar with tight lid
  • 5 parts by volume 100-proof vodka*


1. If desired, grind herb coarsely in a blender or crush with a mortar and pestle. This improves extraction but isn’t absolutely necessary. Place herb in jar.

2. Cover herb with alcohol. Secure the lid and shake well. Store jar in a cool, dark place. Shake regularly, every day or so.

3. After at least 1 month, strain the liquid through a cloth. Squeeze out as much extract as you can with your hands. A potato ricer, wheatgrass juicer, or hydraulic tincture press will also work.

4. Pour into a dark glass bottle and store in a cool, dark, dry spot. The tincture will keep for 3 to 10 years.

*Note: Vodka, preferably 100-proof (50 percent alcohol), works well for most dried plants, but 80-proof brandy or vodka (40 percent alcohol) works in a pinch. Or mix 60 percent 190-proof ethanol with 40 percent filtered or distilled water to get approximately 60 percent alcohol in your finished tincture. As noted earlier, use 10 percent food-grade vegetable glycerine with your alcohol for high-tannin plant material. For more information, see “Making Sense of Proofs and Alcohol Percentages,” in Herbal Tinctures for Health and Well-Being.

Discover information and more recipes for tinctures in Herbal Tinctures for Health and Well-Being.

Excerpted from Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies © by Maria Noël Groves. Photography © by Stacey Cramp. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Expert herbalist Maria Noël Groves has advice for budding herb gardeners: grow exactly what your body needs! In Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies, Groves provides 23 specially tailored garden plans for addressing the most common health needs, along with simple recipes for using each group of herbs. Whether the need is for headache relief, immune support, stress relief, or a daily tonic, readers will learn the three to six herbs that are most effective and how to plant, harvest, and care for each one. All of Groves’ plant suggestions emphasize safe, effective, easy-to-grow herbs that provide abundant harvests and can be planted in containers or garden beds.Order from the MOTHER EARTH LIVING Store or by calling 800-234-3368.

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