How To Make A Tincture Using Extracts


Powdered extracts are most easily added to formulations by first dissolving the extract in a mixture of alcohol and water, then adding this tincture to your product. Not all extracts are completely soluble, however, so you may see some residue after it has been blended; if necessary, this can be removed by using a filter.

A general rule of thumb is, if there is difficulty dissolving the powder, increase the percentage of alcohol.

If using a glycerine menstruum, allow it to sit a few days. With water, simply filter.

The MSDS will indicate if an extract is only partially soluble. Vodka which has an alcohol content of 40-50%, or another grain alcohol (such as alcool) can be used, but any water in the formulation should be distilled water.

Do not use isopropyl alcohol in your formulations! 

Alcohol is somewhat drying to the skin, and there are some people who seem to be allergic to the ingredients used, such as with gluten intolerance, though any gluten should have been dispelled with during distillation. Though isopropyl alcohol is deemed acceptable for disinfecting skin before an injection, etc. it is lethal when ingested, and thus should never be used in cosmetic preparations; that would facilitate its crossing the skin barrier.


When the use of alcohol presents a problem, there are other options. Pure Glycerine, which is a gentle humectant and thus a popular ingredient in products, can be used, something often done by herbalists. Or a solution blended from Glycerine and distilled water can be used for a less viscous menstruum.


If the preservative system allows it, one could also use distilled water alone in which to dissolve the extract for the water phase. What is not used in the formulation should be discarded. Unlike herbal tinctures, there is no need to let the tincture sit and leech out the constituents of the plant material, such as in an herbal infusion or decoction. This has already been done during the extraction process, and the goal now is to simply liquefy the powder so that it can be evenly blended into your product.

Using Metric Measures

100 ml of tincture should be equivalent to 20 g of the raw plant. For example, at an extract ratio of 4:1, 4 kg of plant material was used to product 1 kg of extract. You would thus use 5 g of extract (or 20/4) to 100 ml of solution, or menstruum (e.g. vodka, or a mix of grain alcohol at 40% to 60% distilled water, etc.).

Using Imperial Measures

4.6 oz. of tincture should be equivalent to 1 oz. of the raw plant. For example, at an extract ratio of 4:1, 4 lbs. of plant material was used to produce one lb. of extract. In simple terms, for that extract, you would use 1 rounded teaspoon of extract to 4 oz. of solution, or menstruum (e.g. vodka, or a mix of grain alcohol at 40% to 60% distilled water, etc.).


4:1 Ratio

Extract Powder


Canada 5 g or 1 level teaspoon 100 ml
United States 1 rounded teaspoon 4 fl. oz. or ½ cup


Ratios per 100 ml (4 fl. oz.) by product

For 100 ml of Tincture

(Hydro-Alcoholic, Glycerine, etc.)

Botanical Extract Ratio Quantity Required
Aspen Bark 4:1 5 g
Astragalus Root 16:1 1.25 g
Bamboo Leaf 20:1 1 g
Banaba Leaf 30:1 0.67g
Burdock Root 4:1 5 g
Chamomile (10:1) 10:1 2 g
Chrysanthemum 12:1 1.67 g
Cucumber Peel 10:1 2 g
Dandelion 10:1 2 g
Echinacea Purpurea 10:1 2 g
Ginkgo Biloba 60:1 .033 g
Elderberry 24:1 0.83 g
Ginseng Root (American) 1:1 20 g
Grape Seed 120:1 0.16 g
Green Tea 12:1 1.67 g
Honey Suckle Flower 7:1 2.9 g
Horse Chestnut 40:1 .5 g
Licorice Root 4:1 5 g
Lotus Leaf 10:1 2 g
Lovage (10:1) 10:1 2 g
Lovage (15:1) 15:1 1.33 g
Magnolia Bark 20:1 1 g
Milk Thistle (Silymarin) 20:1 1 g
Olive Leaf 8:1 2.5 g
Passion Flower 4:1 5 g
Peppermint 4:1 5 g
Rosehips  20:1 1 g
Rosemary 80:1 .025 g
Sea Buckthorn 15:1 1.33 g
St John’s Wort 7:1 2.9 g
Sunflower Botanical 5:1 4 g
Thyme 4:1 5 g
Wheat Grass 4:1 5 g
White Willow Bark 16:1 1.25 g


Botanical Extract Ratios per 100 ml (4 fl. oz.)

For 100 ml of Tincture (Hydro-Alcoholic, Glycerine, etc.)

Ratio Extract Required
1:1 20 g
4:1 5 g
5:1 4 g
6:1 3.33g
7:1 2.9 g
8:1 2.5 g
9:1 2.22 g
10:1 2 g
12:1 1.67 g
15:1 1.33 g
16:1 1.25 g
20:1 1 g
24:1 0.83 g
25:1 0.8 g
30:1 0.67 g
40:1 .5 g
60:1 .033 g
80:1 .025 g
100:1 0.2 g
120:1 0.16 g


How to use powdered extracts in a dry formulation

To use these extracts in a dry formulation, such as a clay mask, the method will be slightly different.

Calculate the amount of dry material you will need for every 100 ml (or 4 liquid oz.) of liquid; to that you may add the extract required as per the ratio table.

Remember that with botanicals, once they are moistened, they must be used right away unless a proper preservative is used.

How to reconstitute fruit extracts

 To make spray-dried fruit extracts into a tincture for your water phase, please use the table below. Shake well and filter it before adding it back to your water phase.

To use in a dry formulation such as a mask, calculate the total weight of your finished product when it has been mixed with water (e.g., a scrub or body mask). For every 100 ml of water that will be required, add the appropriate amount of the powdered fruit extract to the dry material, as per the table below.

Remember that with botanicals, once they are moistened, they must be used right away unless a proper full-spectrum preservative is used.

 Fruit Extract Ratios per 100 ml (4 fl. oz.) 

Fruit Extract Ratios per 100 ml (4 fl. oz.) 

For 100 ml of Tincture (Hydro-Alcoholic, Glycerine, etc.)

Fruit Extract Ratio Quantity Required
Apple Powder 12:1 1.6 g
Banana Powder 7:1 2.85 g
Guava Powder 8:1 2.5 g
Lime Powder 9:1 2.22 g
Mango Powder 7:1 2.85 g
Orange Powder 9:1 2.22 g
Papaya Powder 10:1 2 g
Pineapple Powder 6:1 3.33 g
Strawberry Powder 10:1 2 g
Watermelon Powder 14:1 1.42 g


How to make a glycerine-based tincture using herbs

In a sterile jar, place the herbal matter. This should be comprised of high-quality dried herbs, if not fresh and finely chopped, and they should not be oily or resinous.

Cover with the menstruum, or a blend of 2 parts vegetable-based glycerine to 1 part distilled water (2:1). The herbs must be completely covered, and there should be at least 1″ extra menstruum at the top. This will allow for swelling of the plant material. If it should rise above the level of menstruum, add more menstruum until the herbs are again submerged.

Cap the jar and store it in a warm dark place for 2 to 6 weeks, shaking the jar daily. This prevents the herbs from becoming impacted at the bottom, and prevents air pockets in which any spores might grow. At the end of the maceration period, line a strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and strain the tincture, squeezing all the liquid out of the cheesecloth as possible. Pour tincture into a sterile jar and label.

Hope this helps!


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