As I approach my third season of crafting herbal extracts, it is time to dive into the world of tincturites, acetates & making as quality of products as possible. This means using a combination of solvents to pull out as many of the constituents from the plant material as is accessible. My extracts will mostly be a combination of organic apple cider vinegar/vodka/vegetable glycerin. Glycerites also have some water added to the solution since this menstruum does not contain it as is; unlike the apple cider vinegar or alcohol. Water assists in extracting minerals from the herbs.
Though thinking about how Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is made using water with apples until fermented, it means that this menstruum also has benefits that remain from the apples like pectin; vitamins B1, B2, and B6; biotin; folic acid; niacin; pantothenic acid; and vitamin C which means there are health benefits just from this solvent alone. Then with some raw honey added, which will also be included in some of my recipes, there are a variety of beneficial reasons to add a bit of an acetate tincture to your preventative health routine.
What do these changes mean???
Basically this means that my extracts are going to taste differently than before. Many will be a mixture of solvents, meaning typically there will be 2-3 different menstruums working together, combined with the marc to leach as much of the beneficial constituents from the plant material. There are a few herbs that, based on their chemical makeup, will still be just a one solvent product, and some will only have glycerin as the menstruum because this is best for children. Yet, even with these, I will be considering which herbs are optimal, based on what I have access to, when using glycerin/water. Raspberry leaf is a good example. It’s tannins are best extracted with glycerin, so this is a great one for glycerites. With some water added, the vitamins/minerals will also be extracted making a great liquid vitamin for adults and children!
Okay, so this is a term I have created for labeling purposes, but to me it has a wonderful ring to it (I actually was told by my husband and daughter to use this vs glyciture). It is as it would appear by the word combination; a tincture & glycerite mixture. This is for those extracts that will use both organic alcohol, 80 proof vodka, and vegetable glycerin as the menstruums. These will typically also include a bit of purified/distilled water, since that is typically how a glycerite is crafted.
Simply this is a tincture that has organic alcohol, again 80 proof vodka, and apple cider vinegar as the base. The reason behind this is that apple cider vinegar is superior for extracting vitamins and minerals from herbs, which to me is very important. For example, when making a tincture of Dandelion, yes a definite this year and one that is already in the extraction process, it is essential that I offer a wellness product that will include its beneficial nutrients in it. Yet there are properties of the herb that alcohol is still superior at leaching like resins and bitters. My solution–combine the two menstruums so that there are a more full spectrum of constituents absorbed into the final extract!
Why the name acetate tincture, which I have only found used as a description on one website, Return to Nature? This term, which I will now be using to explain these solvents, is broken down below with a few definitions:
Acetate=a salt or ester of acetic acid (Definition from Dictionary.com)
This directly relates to apple cider vinegar because the term acetic comes from acetum, the Latin word for vinegar. About 5–6% of apple cider vinegar consists of acetic acid. (Information taken from Healthline)
Another great characteristic of acetate tinctures is that apple cider vinegar has its own plethora of potential health benefits including:
- Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
- Enhancing Weight Loss
- Lowering Cholesterol
- Improving Skin Health
- Reducing Blood Pressure
- Helping with Reducing Symptoms of Acid Reflux
(Information taken from Dr. Axe)
There is also a great overview of the beneficial aspects of using ACV as an extract for certain herbs, especially Dandelion, in the blog post by Earth Toned Herbal!!
One thing is that an ACV only extract would have a shorter shelf life than an alcohol tincture: 2 years vs. 5. Yet, even though the alcohol tincture lasts for 5 years the potency will start to diminish after about 3 so, as of now, my tinctures are dated as expiring in 3 years. Since most of my current extracts are now combination solvents, it will mean altering some of my labels and varying the expiration dates considering these variables.
Drying vs. Curing Herbs
One more new process that was recently introduced to me through an online video is the difference between drying (heat is used) and curing (dehydrating) herbs. Again since I am always learning and looking for best practice methods to create the most potent and quality products, this is something I plan to start implementing to my herbal routine very soon. Actually yesterday I purchased some materials so I can start doing this. Now it is just going to take a little time and effort to get my own version of this “curing closet” set-up. I decided to use some burlap, wooden slatted stands and probably sheets to create it. The netting that I found smelled too much like chemicals for me to feel comfortable using it as a surface for drying my plant material. This will also allow me more room to dry since right now it is limited to the top of a few grow lights.
All in all, my processes are being altered a bit, but it is all based on quality vs. quantity. As a forever learner in the world of herbalism, it is so important for me to keep altering what I know as new discoveries for creating better products are made. As always, these liquid extracts can be added to water/tea/smoothie to administer and now maybe even to a salad or stir fry for added flavor and health benefits. This gives more versatility and again is an easy way to get those powerful plant constituents into your body!!
Stay tuned and please visit my shop to order my current herbal products! As a bonus you can always use code: HERBALIFE2018 for 10% off!!
Your Backyard Herbalist ~Anne
***All information provided is for general knowledge based on personal research. In no way is it meant to cure, diagnose, treat or prevent disease. Please do your own studying & investigation before using or making any herbal products.***