Herbs are often suspended in liquid form in a base of water and some type of Alcohol. Ethanol or grain alcohol are often used because they are very stable, reasonably natural and improve the shelf life of the herbs. 25% alcohol being the most common.
To reduce the alcohol base of your tincture when you take them you can add your tincture to hot water and the alcohol will evaporate in just a few minutes.
Herbal tinctures are not always made using ethanol, though this is most common. Others include vinegar, glycerol & glycerite.
- Ethanol has the advantage of being an excellent solvent for both acidic and basic (alkaline) constituents
- Glycerine can also be used, but when used in tincturing fashion is generally a poorer solvent
- Vinegar, being acidic, is a better solvent for obtaining alkaloids but a poorer solvent for acidic components