Plant Medicine 101 – Tinctures

June 2021 - Health & Wellness

Many times, we have been asked “what are tinctures?” and “why should I take herbs in tincture form?”. Read on to learn about the therapeutic advantages of this traditional herbal preparation – and what makes St. Francis Herb Farm tinctures stand apart from the rest! 

What Is a Tincture?

In its most basic definition, a tincture is simply a concentrated extraction made from suspending a medicinal plant (berry, bark, leaf, etc.) in a water and alcohol (or other solvent) solution.

Over a specific length of time, the solvent extracts beneficial components from the plants, after which the mixture is strained and bottled.

Tinctures differ from other liquid herbal preparations like infusions and decoctions in that they extract a greater spectrum of therapeutic compounds from the whole plant and preserve them for much longer.

There are many ways of administering herbal medicine (e.g., capsules, tablets, extracts, and teas), and St. Francis Herb Farm is proud to carry the tradition of tinctures as an effective way of tapping into the therapeutic benefits that herbs bring to people.

The Advantages of a Tincture

  • Retains the most complete range of a plant’s therapeutic constituents
  • Absorbed immediately as it enters the stomach
  • Requires no digestion, making it valuable for those with compromised digestive function
  • High degree of bioavailability
  • Flexible administration of dosage
  • Small doses can be as effective as large doses of the same herb in another form
  • Can be taken internally or applied topically
  • Long shelf life (up to 4 years)

Did you know? A unique characteristic of tinctures, is that they naturally preserve the therapeutic influence of taste, since the healing effect of a medicine begins at ingestion through the mouth (e.g., herbal bitters).

Why St. Francis Herb Farm Tinctures?

There are many tinctures on the market and deciding which is best for you can be a challenging process.

Through St. Francis Herb Farm’s Holistic Herb Approach, which combines traditional methods with insights gained from experience, they’re proud to produce single herb and blended tincture formulations that maximize the healing powers of herbs, to help treat common ailments and support everyday health.  

Their premium, plant medicine tinctures are the result of:

30 Years of Experience

Making tinctures is a delicate process that considers many factors in creating remedies of the highest quality and effectiveness; it is as much a craft as a science! As skilled herbalists with respect for and a mastery of the traditional methods, St. Francis Herb Farm has been in the business of making tinctures for over 30 years.

Strict Sourcing and Herb Quality Protocols

At St. Francis Herb Farm, they are notoriously fastidious in their selection of herbs. Wherever possible, they source locally grown Canadian herbs and are uncompromising in choosing only plants of the highest grade and quality that meet their rigorous standards.

Their Commitment to Organic Ingredients

When it comes to establishing final product quality, this is probably the most significant of factors. St. Francis Herb Farm was focused on sourcing organic herbs many years before “organic” became fashionable, and their commitment to the highest organic standards continues to this day. Of their herbs and plant medicines, all but a select few—those impossible to obtain otherwise—are Certified Organically Grown, sourced from a handful of their most trusted and highly reputable suppliers.

A few years ago, fine-tuning their commitment to quality, they also introduced Certified Organic alcohol into their tincture line. As a result, over 125 of their tinctures are Certified Organic and carry the official logo.

Tailoring the Process to Fit the Herb

Accessing an herb’s most powerful medicinal benefits requires a deep knowledge of each herb’s unique characteristics. If handled improperly, an herb’s chemical and physiological benefits to the user may never be fully realized. There are several different elements to consider:

  • Using recently harvested herbs. Part of traditional knowledge is understanding whether to tincture an herb when it’s fresh or when it’s dried.
  • Herb-specific grinding. The size and type of the grinder affects the next form the herb takes. St. Francis Herb Farm has the experience to know if an herb works better when it’s finely ground or coarsely ground.
  • Choosing maceration liquid. Maceration refers to the process of soaking the herb in a liquid to draw out its healing properties. The liquid used in the process can be water, alcohol, glycerine, or a combination. Knowing which ones to use and how much of each are two pieces of the puzzle.
  • Length of process. The length of the maceration process for each herb varies, as each herb carries its own unique set of chemical characteristics.
  • Tinctures and Ratios. In tinctures, the proportion of a medicinal plant in relation to its liquid base is most often expressed as a ratio. For example, a 1:4 ratio, which is typical of St. Francis Herb Farm’s tinctures made from dry herbs, means that every 4 ml of the final preparation has been made from 1 gram of plant material. On the other hand, their fresh herb ratios tend to be 1:1 or 1:2 because of the moisture that already exists in the plant.

The commitment to quality and efficacy has made St. Francis Herb Farm a valuable resource to professionals. For many years, they have been the tincture supplier of choice for the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and an overwhelming favourite among medical practitioners.

St. Francis Herb Farm is dedicated to honouring and bringing people the full potential of each herb – and delivering that potential in every one of their effective formats: including their extensive line of tinctures!

LINK: Holistic herb approach:

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