What is tincture?

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Tincture is an alcoholic extract of a herb or a non-volatile substance such as iodine. While alcoholic tinctures use Ethanol as the primary solvent, herbal tinctures may use other solvents like vinegar, glycerol, ether and propylene glycol. When the pH factor of the solvent is taken into consideration, ethanol’s pH is considered close to neutral pH.

 

Different types of tincture

As already mentioned, tincture can be prepared by storing both herbs and non-volatile substances in alcoholic solvent for a given period and then strained and used as a preservative or medicine. The different types of tincture that can be quickly recollected are: tincture of benzoin, tincture of iodine, tincture of ferric citrochloride, tincture of ether, nitre etc. Some common herbal tinctures are tincture of green soap, camphor, warburg’s tincture, Ambergris tincture, tincture of wine and tincture of opium. Some people make their own home made tinctures out of various herbs like Echinacea tincture, motherwort tincture, skullcap tincture, ginseng tincture, dandelion root tincture, wormwood tincture, poke root tincture and yarrow tincture. Some tinctures are also made with dried roots, fresh roots, leaves and flowers.

 

How is tincture used?

Tincture can be simply defined as an alcohol based plant medicine. The characteristic of alcohol is such that it extracts and retains in itself the various properties of plants and medicines which are soaked in it and makes it perfect for a first-aid kit or herbal medicines collection. Hence tinctures are concentrated making it easy to act fast on a wound or simply restoring and maintaining good health. Generally tinctures are applied locally on wounds or minor skin irritations, rashes and allowed to come in contact with the herbal extracts or medicinal properties present in them. There are some tinctures which are specifically used in herbal medicine and certain medicines like homeopathy in which case they are administered orally as well as for external use. Some tinctures like iodine tincture etc are known to cause burning sensation when applied on skin for obvious chemical properties of iodine. However due to the fast healing seen with its usage, many doctors and nurses prefer tincture of iodine, benzoin for first aid bandaging of wounds. When herbal tinctures are prepared and used for internal consumption, care should be taken to ensure that the herbs used are safe and can be assimilated by the body without any side effects.