In the last herbal basics post I spoke about water based herbal extracts, a lot of which you can make yourself ( or you can purchase some of the Lavender & Co. tea blends here. ) In this post I’m talking about the two types of alcohol based extracts, and these are generally prescribed for you by a professional; however there are many recipes available, and there are a few I like to make myself and keep on hand that I will be sharing in a future post.
Please note: Before consuming anything please consult your holistic health care practitioner. These blog posts are for informational purposes only and I am in no way giving medical advice.
Alcohol based extracts include both tinctures and fluid extracts. If you’ve been to a naturopath or herbalist yourself you may have experienced some of these first hand. After your consultation your naturopath will determine the next best step - and wether this is a preventative or curative measure, many of us will prescribe a tincture of fluid extract that is mixed up for your personal needs. This method of prescription is favoured by many because it provides a concentrated dose of herbs. ( not to say this is the only form of prescription you may receive - or even the best form for you; your naturopath will determine this, I’m simply providing you with some information about them )
A fluid extract is made with one part herb to either 1 or 2 parts ‘liquid’. In this case the liquid formulation is part water and part alcohol ( this ratio depends on what constituents you want to extract from the herbs ). If you were to make an extract at home, alcohol like brandy or vodka can be used.
Fluid extracts are the most concentrated liquid preparation available - this is also the main difference between a tincture and a fluid extract ( although many people will refer to these as though they are the same )
Tinctures are slightly weaker than fluid extracts, and are made with a ratio of 1 part herb to 3 or more parts liquid. The reason for this is due to the herbs - in a tincture much stronger herbs are used ( think cayenne or chilli’s ) so they don’t need to be made as concentrated.
Although both of these methods provide a very concentrated herbal extract, and provides many positive benefits ( like proper constituent extraction, preservation, being easily absorbed once taken, versatility and convenience ) there are also a few things to consider. Due to the alcohol content in these extracts people with liver damage, or issues with alcohol should not take them. If you are still on you P plates it’s also best to avoid these if you have to drive. They also have a very strong, herbal taste - not at all like herbal teas but quite bitter ( although this can be dulled down by mixing it with a fresh juice or some water if it doesn’t interfere with it’s actions )