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Tincture or Extract?

What is a tincture? What is an extract? What is the difference?

Unless you are eating a plant directly, in order to obtain the most "medicine" from a plant, there has to be an extraction method. The most common solvents used are water, alcohol, glycerine or vinegar.

Even in the world of herbalists, there is confusion about whether something is a tincture or an extract. Technically if you use alcohol (vodka, brandy, or high proof alcohol are most common), the result is called a tincture. Tinctures are simply concentrated herbal extracts using alcohol as the solvent. High proof alcohol is most often for roots and barks. Vodka and brandy work well for softer plant material like leaves and flowers.

Tinctures can be taken alone, but are often combined with other tinctures to make effective herbal blends. Below, our "Lights Out" Sleep Tonic, is a blend of six different herb tinctures. The Nettle Seed Tincture above is a single plant tincture. It can be used as is, or combined with other tinctures to make a special blend.

When glycerine or vinegar is used as the solvent, the resulting product is usually called an extract.

You may see that "tincture" and "extract" get used interchangeably and the end product should be the same. The label of your product should show the extraction method and solvent.

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