What is the Difference between Herb Extracts and Herb Tinctures?

Our ancestors have been using herbal tinctures, liquid herb extracts and herb oils for more than thousands of years. Ayurveda and Chinese medicines give illustrations and examples of these potent herbs.



While many of the herbs are used fresh, they need to be dried for their usage off season and conserved for utilization for the rest of the year and beyond. There is no universal rule that only fresh herbs can be used for their persuasive properties, dried herbs are equally good and the method in which they are preserved can vary and be as unique as the herb. A wider range of herbs are used for medicinal properties in the form of dried herbs and capsules too.

Solgar – Milk Thistle Herb Extract


With a multitude of options available with herbs, you might get confused about what needs to be taken and in what form. Perhaps you might also want to know how were the herbs concoctions prepared and used. The herbology may get so baffling that at times you want to know what went behind the scenes to manufacture that herb tincture.

Most of the herb potions are safe especially those that that are used for external purpose. I would however caution you about the herbs, in case of doubt always consult a professional herbologist and your physician.
Compared to glycerine and water alcohol is the best solvent for extracting and conserving most of the essential herb constituents that are poorly soluble in water. Also glycerine and water reduce the shelf life of herbal extracts.

Find the key difference and explanation for Herb Extracts and Herb Tinctures –

Herb Extracts
An herb extract is often found in liquid form. The essential constituents and nutrients of a single herb is extracted and absorbed in a carrier which can be alcohol, water or glycerine. The solution is used to keep the properties of herbs intact and optimal, including the zest and aroma. The shelf life of such an extract may vary from 3 to 5 years. After the expiry date, the herbal extract does not go bad but usually starts losing its potency and effectiveness. The herb extracts have to be kept in a cool and dry place and strictly need to avoid direct sunlight. They don’t need to be refrigerated.

Herb Tinctures
Herbal liquid extracts and tinctures are used interchangeably. However; in many cases they are not the same. An herb tincture is more diluted than the herb extract. An extract is generally one part of herb to one part of alcohol however a tincture is one part of herb to 3 or more parts of alcohol base. The base to prepare the tinctures can be the same and the method too. However the end product will not be the same, you should check the good and certified brands.





The certified and organically grown herbs have better tinctures and they work faster because they are concentrated and preserved without being subjected to fumigation. An herbal tincture obviously has a longer shelf life, it is more potent and effective.


Healing Herbs, Panel II
Healing Herbs,…
Julie …
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Jar Full of Medicinal Flowers and Herbs
Jar Full of…
Lynn Johnson
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Aconitum. Seventeenth-Century Engraving in 'Bibliotheca Pharmaceutica-Medica' by J. Jacobi Mangeti
Prisma Archivo
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Frankincense, Illustration from 'Koehler's Medicinal Plants', Published in 1887
German School
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Interested in finding more about medicinal herbs. Check out –
Growing Medicinal Oregano Herbs
Holistic healing with Alternative Herbal Medicine
Alternative Natural Medicine

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