I have been making herbal tinctures for 30+ years. I have a huge collection, possibly the largest privately owned collection in the world.....
Most all "good" herbal books of any value date pre 1980.
The best American books/education are related to Native American History.
A tincture would have been something the Europeans came up with, but once inside America, the Mid Eastern States surely are the ones that made it happen.
I have never liked any herbal book's suggestions on how to make an Herbal Tincture. Even Dr. John R. Christopher's methods was not the "standard" method suggested by all. It comes up "short" in many ways.
Pre Tinctures there were herbal vinegar and essential oils date back into the days of the Pyramids. They all have 1 goal----make stronger than a tea and last as long as possible on the shelf.
The Egyptians will say their essential oils are good for 3,000+ years and they are not "steam" distilled. I would hope proper steam distilled would last ever longer; but the manufacturers are bound by the governments to tell the consumer they are best used within 2-3 years. With health and medicines---you often have to use your own judgment on what to choose to believe and always prove it to your self when possible.
Most of your standard herbal tinctures are going to be 60% water.
I HAVE NEVER EVER LIKED THAT IDEA. Especially the way they explain in herbal books to make tinctures. Modern day tinctures are not tinctures at all, they are just commercial produced herb/acids and I would avoid them as equally as I avoid drugs and vitamins..
I chose to make my own herbal vinegar years ago.....I use many fruits, but the base fruit is the apple. ALL fruits can be added, all juices can be added.....I never empty my tank....I ad as I need each year.
The problem with vinegar is the MOTHER. The Mother needs thrown out once a year. In a large tank, this can be 100-200+ pounds of material which simply means your vinegar cost you more than you thought it was. Vinegar you buy in stores, is not real vinegar.....even the commercial gimmick vinegar with some dead mother floating in the bottle is all a joke-IF you were wanting real vinegar.
naturally most people are never going to make their own vinegar.....I try to keep 500+ gallons handy....
Those making their own herbal tinctures often do not even know they are making a 60% water end product, because the herbal books never explain the method well enough for anyone to think about what they are doing.
In my vinegar I also like Coconut Water and as well to drink coconut water when it is 100% real juice.
Occasionally I will hear from a person that says they do not like the taste of the vinegar in the herbal tincture. In fact, the herbal tincture made of pure fruit juices is an extremely potent herbal extract by its self and the flavor is going to make tinctures all taste like the raw vinegar taste......
the vinegar method is just an improvement over using "water".........I do not believe humans are designed to consume ground water and when I can substitute juice for water, I believe that is a better deal.
For those that do not like the flavor of a potent fruit vinegar, another great option would be coconut water when water is called for.
Those making herbal tinctures to make $$$, will surely like using lots of water------for those that want to make the best----vinegar or coconut juice are a few options I like.
Taking 50% Raw Honey and 50% Raw vinegar is a doable product that many adults do not mind the taste of.....the honey is alive and the vinegar remains alive. The price of real honey has been rising rapidly and that stuff they call honey in the stores for cheap---well, it is either gov subsidized or flavored corn syrup, because real honey takes allot of work and should never bee cheap to buy.
REAL VINEGAR? Sorry, your never going to find that being sold in a commercial store and even worse-----the few farms/amish/orchards that make a little raw vinegar---it is not fit to consume; they never keep the fruit flies out and often thousands upon thousands of these dead flies are in their vinegar.I figured out years ago to pressurize my vinegar tank......being pressurized it supplied the needed oxygen and keeps all bugs out.....
THERE is ALWAYS better and easier ways------but commercialism seems to go in the opposite directions.