In medicine, a tincture is an alcoholic extract (e.g. of leaves or other plant material) or solution of a non-volatile substance; e.g. of iodine, mercurochrome). To qualify as a tincture, the alcoholic extract is to have a ethanol percentage of at least 40-60% (sometimes a 90% percent pure liquid is even achieved). Solutions of volatile substances were called spirits, although that name was also given to several other materials obtained by distillation, even when they did not include alcohol.

General method of preparation

A general method of preparation on how tinctures can be prepared is the following:

  • Herbs are put in a jar and a spirit of 40°C pure ethanol is added
  • The jar is closed and left to stand for 2-3 weeks. It is shaken every once in a while.

To make a more precise tincture^, more extensive measuring can be done by combining 1 part herbs with a water-ethanol mixture of 2-10 parts, depending on the herb itself. With most tinctures, however, 1 part water at 5 parts ethanol is used.

Examples of tinctures

Some examples that were formerly common in medicine include:

Examples of spirits include:

See also

  • Nalewka - a traditional Polish category of alcoholic tincture.
  • infusion - a water or oil based extract with similar historical uses to a tincture.
  • Elixir - A pharmaceutical preparation containing an active ingredient that is dissolved in a solution containing some percentage of ethyl alcohol.
  • Extract


External links

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