Jamaica Fiwi Roots

Jamaica Plants and Herbal Remedies

What is the difference between a tincture, a glycerite and an infusion?

An infusion is basically a tea. The qualities of the herns are extracted by allowing the herbs to steep in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, then straining and drinking.

Making glycerite involves infusing dried herb in a mixture of 75% glycerin and 25% water. Glycerine is a sweet, vegetable based medium that can make the potion more palatable for kids. Most often, glycerites are a 1:2 ratio; 1 part plant, 2 parts glycerin/water. Allow the glycerite to infuse for 4-6 weeks, then strain. Store in a cool, dry place out of sunlight for 6-12 months.

A tincture extracts the herbal goodness through the use of alcohol menstrum. The ratio is often 1:5, 1 part dried herbs to 5 part alcohol.

How to make Herbal Tinctures


Supplies for prepare your herbal tincture:

  • 4 ounces of finely cut dried herbs,
  • 1 large glass jar with lid that can hold up to 2 cups of liquid (1 pint)
  • 1 cup of Alcohol (80 proof Vodka or Rum). Rum is the option of choice in the Caribbean
  • Notes:
    - For Vinegar Tinctures, use 1 ounce of herb per 5 ounces of vinegar.

  • Properly clean the glass jar
  • Put the dried herb into the jar and pour in liquid, making sure the herbs are completely covered (this is very important). A stronger tincture can be made by adding more herbs.
  • Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least 3 weeks (longer is better).
  • Shake the mixture daily or every other day.
  • Filter the mixture when you are ready to use it using a cheesecloth bag, coffee filter, or fine cloth, capturing the tincture liquid  in another container.
  • Store the tincture in clean, dark glass containers, out of the sun.
  • If stored properly the tincture will be preserved for two or more years.
  • Vinegar tinctures should be refrigerated.

Common home made herbal tinctures

Bizzie and rum tincture for Nasuea
Chamomile tincture for restful sleep

Difference between Herbal Tinctures and Herbal Fluid Extracts

Fluid extracts is a more concentrated form of herbal medicine than a tincture. Sometimes called a liquid extract, it is made with a 1:1 ratio; one part herb with one part fluid, for example, 250 grams of herb to 250 ml. of alcohol or glycerin.

There is usually sediment in fluid extract bottles. The bottle must be shaken well to combine it with the liquid. The dosage of fluid extracts is much smaller, usually given in drops. The dosage of tinctures is usually given in milliliters. The disadvantage of fluid extracts is that they lose more of the plant's essential oils, due to the method of preparation.