Tincture Definition

What Is a Tincture?

This is a tincture of lavender.
An alcohol extraction or tincture is an effective means of isolating molecules from plants, animals, or certain inorganic compounds. Jonathan Kantor, Getty Images

Tincture Definition: tinc·tureˈ/tiNGkCHər/

A tincture is an extract of a sample into a solution. Usually, the word tincture refers to an alcohol extract, although other solvents may be used. Tinctures most commonly are used to prepare extracts of plants, such as vanilla, lavender, and cannabis. However, the process also works with animal samples and nonvolatile inorganics, such as iodine or mercurochrome.

Typical Tincture Preparation

For an herbal preparation, for example:

  1. Place herbs in a container.
  2. Cover with an alcohol solution containing 40% ethanol, or a higher concentration. Vodka or Everclear are popular choices. Denatured alcohol is not suitable for tinctures to be taken orally.
  3. Seal the container and let it sit for 2-3 weeks, shaking the jar ever now and then to ensure a good extraction.
  4. Filter out the plant matter. Save the liquid (the tincture), keeping it in a dark-colored bottle, away from direct sunlight and heat.