The first thing to remember is that making a tincture is fun. You are going to put your love and "good energy" into making this preparation. If you are all "nerved up" and in a bad mood, your tincture will taste like it.
Most proportion rules in the past have been 4 ounces of dried herb to one pint (16 ounces) of alcohol or 8 ounces of herb to a quart (32 ounces). Herbs have many varying weights and densities, which makes this type of formula ridiculous. What I have found to work best over the years is simply my half to full rule. Blend your herbs with your alcohol and then pour the solution into a big glass jar.
I let it settle for a day to see where the herbs end and the liquid starts. You want the herbs to settle at least halfway up to the top of the jar. If they settle to less, add more herbs.
If you want a stronger tincture, then make sure the herbs settle to 3/4 of the way to the top; a really strong tincture could be all pulp, like applesauce. This rule has worked better for me in my pharmacy over the years than all the rules in every herb book I have read.
You need to use your common sense when putting a tincture together. Eight ounces of mullein or red raspberry leaf may not even fit into a quart jar, so you have to use your best judgment. Follow my 1/2 to full method and you will never fail.
Common, inexpensive tincture jars are one (1) quart canning jars. A clear glass jar lets you observe the tincture as it's "working" and is okay to use as long as you keep it in a dark place, out of sunlight. Do not use
plastic, metal, or any other type of container that your base (alcohol) may react with undesirably.
Pour your solvent over the herbs and seal the jar. It should be shaken vigorously for several minutes to make sure there are no clumps of herb that have stuck together.
At this point you can open the jar and usually add more alcohol or herbs. Once your jar is fully packed, it is NOT to be reopened until the tincture is done. From this point on until it is finished, it should be shaken at least three (3) times daily or, as Dr. Christopher said, "every time you walk by it."
The tincture is left in the jar for two weeks. Start the tincture on the new moon and squeeze it out on the full moon (Many tests have been done by Dr. Christopher and myself as to the strength and potency of tinctures in relationship to the time they "brewed" and the phases of the moon; in all cases, those made in accordance with the phases of the moon made the strongest tincture.)
Obviously, most manufacturers of commercial tinctures nowadays, who use a 3 or 4 day "special process" and ignore the moon phases, are making a highly inferior product.
There are many astrological books and almanacs that give the times of the New Moon and Full Moon, although you may have to calibrate these times to your local area.
Most herbalists don't get too critical on the time, but go just by the day of the Full Moon. It is nice to keep a record of your tinctures as well as your other herbal preparations. I record the amounts of herbs, where I got them, the amount of base and % of alcohol, the date, and any other pertinent information. This logging of information could lead you to making fairly consistent tinctures.
The big complaint the A.M.A. and FDA. have of herbal preparations is that they are not standardized.
Even if you make a preparation the same exact way each time, you can't rely on the herbal medicinal properties being in the same quantity from one bunch of herbs to another. How Wonderful!!! This is nature's beautiful way of adjusting not only the chemical properties of herbs from season to season, but also the chemical properties to the local area for the local people.
We are not all living in the same climate, doing the same things, eating the same foods, etc. Personally, I would rather experiment with a dosage of a natural remedy than take any of the poisonous, isolated, synthesized chemicals the pharmaceutical industry has to offer.
You will first want to filter your tincture well through a natural fiber like cotton or through paper coffee filters (brown unbleached ones only.) Laboratory grade filters work well, too. Let's not forget the old cotton diaper cloth — it works great. If you use a funnel, use a glass one, not plastic or metal.
Bottle your tinctures in amber glass jars with tight lids. Laboratory polyseal are good airtight, leakproof tops. I usually put my tinctures in 16 oz. or 32 oz. amber glass jars and then pour or mix them into 1 or 2 oz. amber bottles with glass droppers as needed. A glass dropper is necessary You don't want a plastic dropper sitting in your tinctures or you will end up with a nice tincture of plastic.
Always label your tincture preparation jar, your tincture storage jars, and your 1 oz. or 2 oz. dosage jars to identify the type of tincture in them. I also include the base used, % of alcohol, and the date of bottling. An unlabeled tincture is dangerous and can be an unpleasant "surprise."