Ask an herbalist: What is an herbal tincture?

You’re not the first person to have questions about herbs and herbalism. So, we brought in one of our experts to help answer some of the most common questions and concerns. David Bunting, Herb Pharm’s VP of Botanical Affairs, began studying herbalism in 1979 and has been making herbal medicines professionally since 1982.

Question: What is an herbal tincture?

Tinctures are liquid extracts that are made with potable alcohol as all or part of the combined extraction solvent, known as the menstruum. Following the extractive process, the tincture is then separated from the spent herb and is typically filtered. From there it is bottled as a single herb extract or blended with other tinctures to form a compound product. Tinctures are convenient and easily dosed according to labeled instructions.

The alcohol used in tinctures is the same ethanol produced by fermentation that you find in beer and wine. Alcohol acts as an excellent solvent for a wide variety of phytochemicals, especially those that have limited solubility in water. It is also an excellent preservative, so that tinctures typically last several years. Like other extracts, tinctures bypass the need to digest entire herbs in the gut and are easily absorbed. While the term “tincture” is sometimes applied to liquid extracts made without alcohol, technically only liquid extracts made with alcohol are tinctures.

The extraction menstruum can be tailored for each herb to best extract its unique phytochemical profile with an emphasis on known actives. This is done by using other components such as water to dilute the alcohol concentration. When starting with the highest concentration of naturally distilled alcohol, this gives a possible alcohol percentage range of about 20 to 95%. That range can accommodate extraction of more water-soluble polysaccharides all the way to highly alcohol-soluble resins. The menstruum can also be composed of other ingredients such as glycerin, which is used to curb precipitation. Since the menstruum becomes part of the finished extract, every component must be food grade and/or pharmaceutical grade.

4 questions with Cassandra our herb buyer

Cassandra is both an herbalist and an herb buyer

What exactly is an herb buyer?

I coordinate with our Farm manager on all the herbs we grow ourselves and what our needs will be for the year. Whatever we don’t grow ourselves, I have to find from other suppliers. I manage all the details of getting herb in for production: contracts, forecasts, schedules, transport, and making sure the suppliers meet our quality standards.
Ultimately, for a lot of growers and wildcrafters, I’m the person at Herb Pharm they know. And the one to help sort out any issues that come up. Continue reading “4 questions with Cassandra our herb buyer”

5 questions with Dagmar the Technical Affairs Manager

5 questions with Dagmar

What exactly is a Technical Affairs Manager?

The easiest answer is that I manage technical things like the analytical work in our lab. The longer answer is I create and maintain all sorts of processes for our products. How do we develop them? How do we test them? How do we scale up production? What standards do we need to meet?

How do you grow up to become one?

I was born in East Germany of Jewish descent. My parents escaped then later had us smuggled out. Engineering is in my family. My dad was a mechanical engineer. My brother is an electrical engineering professor back in Germany. And I’m a chemical engineer. I worked in biotech cancer research for a while. But I always loved herbs. I followed Herb Pharm online for years before I applied. Continue reading “5 questions with Dagmar the Technical Affairs Manager”

A sip of golden Turmeric honey

turmeric honey recipe

Try this simple way to get Turmeric into your day

There’s more than one way to get healthy Turmeric into your daily life. Golden Turmeric Honey lets you add a bit of Turmeric to all sorts of meals and drinks. You can even let it star in its own hot beverage.


  • 5 ounces raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon (1/2 oz) Herb Pharm Turmeric extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup hot water


  1. Place honey in a small, wide-mouth jar.
  2. Stir in lemon juice.
  3. Add Turmeric extract and stir well until it is uniformly mixed.
  4. Stir 1-2 teaspoons into the hot water until it is fully dissolved.

Turmeric extractDosing information

2 teaspoons  of Golden Turmeric Honey (without water) equals approximately one dose (0.7 ml, 1 dropper) of liquid extract.  Store Golden Turmeric Honey in a cool, dry place for up to a week.