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Herbalism for Beginners: Glycerin Based Extracts

Kailah T.

 

 

Glycerites are glycerin-based tinctures made using food grade vegetable glycerin to extract vitamins and minerals from plant material. While vegetable glycerin is an even weaker solvent than water, it’s sweet flavor and low potency make it optimal for making child-safe tinctures at home. Since glycerites are sweet in flavor, they can also be used to help traditional alcohol-based tinctures go down a little easier.


These alcohol-free tinctures can be prepared using fresh or dry plant material. Although glycerites have a shorter shelf life than alcohol-based tinctures, if stored properly, they can last from 1-2 years. Below, I’ll share the details on how to prepare glycerites that last using your choice of fresh or dry herbs. 


How to Make Alcohol-Free Glycerin Extracts:


Step One:


Select the herb you would like to use and fill your mason jar ½ with the herb. If you are using fresh herbs, you’ll want to fill the jar ⅔ with your herb of choice. 


Step Two:


For dry herbs, combine 3 parts glycerin and 1 part water in a separate container and mix together. Pour this solution over your herbs and fill your jar to the top. Be sure to leave a little room at the top of your jar so that your herbs have room to swell as they soak up the glycerin mixture. .


For fresh herbs, simply pour glycerin over your herbs and fill your jar to the top. I suggest chopping fresh herbs down before covering them in glycerin so that the 


For both fresh and dry herbs, make sure that your glycerin solution is at least 60% glycerin. If the solution falls below 60% glycerin, you will risk spoilage. 


Step Three:

Label your jar with the date and contents of your solution and store in a cool, dark area for 4-6 weeks. Shake daily.  After 4-6 weeks have passed, strain your solution into a clean jar using a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. 


Glycerin extracts can last from 1-2 years if made and stored properly. Since you are not using alcohol to make this extract, be sure that you are using at least 60% glycerin in your solution (especially if you are using fresh plant material) so that your glycerite does not spoil from the water content in the solution. 


Aromatic herbs like peppermint are flavorful and make for great tasting glycerites. Herbs known for their immune-boosting qualities such as echinacea, ginger, and elderflower can also be used to make cold fighting glycerites that are a bit sweeter than traditional elixirs.


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