How to Make a Glycerin Tincture

An herbal glycerite, or glycerin tincture, is a medicinal preparation that uses liquid glycerin to hold the herb’s beneficial compounds. A glycerin tincture is a great alternative to the common alcohol-based tincture for children or anyone who prefers to avoid alcohol. When you learn how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself, you can save money and customize the medicine to your unique needs.

An herbal glycerin tincture is a great alternative to the common alcohol-based tincture for children or anyone who prefers to avoid alcohol. When you learn how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself, you can save money and customize the medicine to your unique needs.

Save money by learning how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself. Customize your medicine by using only the herbs that you need. Great for kids too.

Both glycerin and alcohol tinctures:

  • provide the same medicinal benefits
  • typically have the same dosage
  • are easy to administer
  • have a long shelf life

Save money by learning how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself. Customize your medicine by using only the herbs that you need. Great for kids too.

Glycerin is an excellent natural preservative and offers nearly as long a shelf life as 100-proof alcohol. Herbal glycerites can be safely stored for 3-5 years without developing mold or losing their potency.

The Method I Won’t Use (Anymore)

I’m going to go about this a bit backward by telling you the method I won’t use to make an herbal glycerite first.

While it is possible to make a glycerin tincture by mascertaing (soaking) the herbs directly in glycerin, I don’t recommend it. The three times I tried, I ended up having to throw away my precious herbs and didn’t have any medicine to show for it.

The glycerin is so thick that I wasn’t able to strain the herbs out of it. The mixture would just sit in the cheesecloth with very little of the glycerin dripping through.

When I tried to press the cloth to get more glycerin out, the herb-glycerin mixture would pop out through the top of the cheesecloth and flop into my jar … ruining what little bit of clean glycerin I’d managed to get.

So I gave up.

Maybe using a larger cloth to strain the mixture and squeezing it with a vice or press would work. But I haven’t wanted to potentially waste any more of my herbs trying to find out.

Save money by learning how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself. Customize your medicine by using only the herbs that you need. Great for kids too.

Supplies Needed

How to Make a Glycerin Tincture (the easy way)

Start with an alcohol tincture – either made from a single herb or an herbal combination. You can even mix together equal parts of different single-herb tinctures to make your own combination. (Here are the directions on how to make an herbal tincture if you need them.)

Carefully measure the volume of your alcohol tincture. I like to measure it in milliliters because it’s more precise than fluid ounces.

In a glass measuring cup, pour your measured alcohol tincture and an equal amount of glycerin.

Save money by learning how to make a glycerin tincture for yourself. Customize your medicine by using only the herbs that you need. Great for kids too.Fill a saucepan about halfway full of water and place your glass measuring cup into it. (Of course, make sure the measuring cup is tall enough that none of the water from the saucepan ends up in it.) I like to put a folded washcloth into the saucepan and set the measuring cup on top of it. It reduces any ‘clattering’ as the water simmers.

Set the saucepan over low-medium heat and bring the water to a light simmer. You want the liquid in the measuring cup to get hot enough to evaporate the alcohol but not hot enough to simmer itself. You’ll see steam rising from the tincture mixture.

Allow the tincture to continue evaporating until it’s been reduced by half. Be patient! This can take 1-4 hours or more depending on how much you need to evaporate.

At this point, all of the alcohol and some of the water will have evaporated, leaving only glycerin and the medicinal herbal compounds.

Turn off the heat and remove the measuring cup from the water.

If you accidentally evaporated off too much liquid, add some pure water to bring the mixture back to the original volume of your alcohol tincture. You want to end up with the same amount that you started with.

Allow your new glycerin tincture to cool somewhat and then pour it into clean bottles or jars. Label each container and store them in a cool, dark place.

Besides ensuring that you won’t waste any herbs like I did, there’s another advantage to making an herbal glycerite this way. Alcohol is better at pulling the beneficial constituents out of herbs than glycerin is.

This method may cost a bit more (since you’re evaporating the alcohol into the air…) but the resulting tincture will be optimally potent and useful. Oh, and glycerin is sweet and yummy!

Now that you know how to make a glycerin tincture, what herbs will you use? Do you have any alcohol tinctures already that you’d like to convert to glycerin?

Scroll down to grab the printable instructions.



Sources

Green, James. The Herbal Medicine Maker’s Handbook: A Home Manual. Crossing Press, 2000.


This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is intended only for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your healthcare routine.

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Homemade Glycerin Tincture
Convert an alcohol-based herbal tincture into an alcohol-free glycerin tincture that tastes great and is safe for children.
Ingredients
  1. alcohol tincture
  2. vegetable glycerin
  3. glass measuring cup
  4. saucepan
  5. bottles or jars
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Instructions
  1. Carefully measure the volume of your alcohol tincture.
  2. In a glass measuring cup, pour the measured alcohol tincture and an equal amount of glycerin.
  3. Fill a saucepan about halfway full of water and place the glass measuring cup into it.
  4. Set the saucepan over low-medium heat and bring the water to a light simmer. You want the liquid in the measuring cup to get hot enough to evaporate the alcohol but not hot enough to simmer itself. You’ll see steam rising from the tincture mixture.
  5. Allow the tincture to continue evaporating until it’s been reduced by half. At this point, all of the alcohol and some of the water will have evaporated, leaving only glycerin and the medicinal herbal compounds.
  6. Turn off the heat and remove the measuring cup from the water.
  7. Allow your new glycerin tincture to cool somewhat and then pour it into clean bottles or jars. Label each container and store them in a cool, dark place.
Notes
  1. If you accidentally evaporated off too much liquid, add some pure water to bring the mixture back to the original volume of your alcohol tincture. You want to end up with the same amount that you started with.
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