How to Remove Alcohol from Herbal Tinctures: A Step-by-Step Guide

Herbal tinctures are a powerful way to reap the benefits of herbs. They are concentrated extracts that can be taken in small doses and can be easily absorbed into the body. The process of making herbal tinctures involves steeping the herb in alcohol for several weeks. While alcohol is a great solvent for extracting the active compounds from the herbs, it can be a concern for those who prefer an alcohol-free solution. In this article, we’ll explore several methods to remove alcohol from herbal tinctures.

Importance of Removing Alcohol from Herbal Tinctures

Alcohol is the preferred solvent for making herbal tinctures because it can extract a wide range of compounds from plants. However, not everyone wants to consume alcohol, due to religious, cultural, or health reasons. Alcohol can also be a concern for pregnant or breastfeeding women and children. In such cases, removing alcohol from the tincture becomes important.

Another reason to remove alcohol from the tincture is that some people may experience allergic reactions or side effects associated with alcohol consumption. These can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, and others. Removing alcohol can help to reduce these risks and improve the safety of the herbal tincture.

Boiling Method

The boiling method is the easiest and most straightforward way to remove alcohol from herbal tinctures. Here are the steps:

  • Pour the tincture into a saucepan and heat it on medium flame.
  • Bring the solution to a boil and let it boil for at least 20 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • As the solution boils, the alcohol will evaporate and the liquid volume will decrease.
  • Once the solution has boiled for at least 20 minutes and the alcohol has evaporated, remove it from the heat.
  • Allow it to cool, and then store it in a glass dropper bottle or any other suitable packaging.

This method works well for tinctures with a low alcohol content, usually less than 35 percent. It may not be effective for tinctures with a high alcohol content of over 50 percent.

Double Boiler Method

The double boiler method is another effective way to remove alcohol from herbal tinctures. Here’s how:

  • Fill a large pot with water and place it on the stove.
  • Place a smaller pot or bowl in the large pot, making sure it does not touch the bottom.
  • Pour the herbal tincture into the smaller pot or bowl.
  • Turn on the stove and heat the large pot with water until it comes to a boil.
  • As the water boils, the steam will heat the smaller pot, causing the alcohol to evaporate from the tincture.
  • Stir the tincture frequently to prevent burning.
  • Allow the tincture to simmer until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid volume has decreased.
  • Remove from heat and let it cool. Transfer to a suitable container or storage bottle.

The double boiler method is effective for all types of tinctures, including those with high alcohol content. It is also safe and offers greater control over the temperature and evaporation process.

Evaporation Method

The evaporation method is another way to remove alcohol from herbal tinctures. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pour the tincture into a shallow dish or bowl.
  • Place the dish in a well-ventilated area, where it can be left undisturbed for several days.
  • Allow the alcohol to evaporate naturally, which can take 12 to 24 hours or longer, depending on the volume and temperature.
  • Stir occasionally to prevent the tincture from forming a skin.
  • Once the alcohol has evaporated and the tincture has reached the desired concentration, transfer it to a glass storage bottle or container.

This method works best for lower alcohol content tinctures, and may not be effective for those with high alcohol content. It is also time-consuming and requires patience and care to avoid dust and other contaminants.

Vinegar Method

The vinegar method is a popular alternative to removing alcohol from herbal tinctures. Here’s how to do it:

  • Pour the tincture into a clean glass jar or container.
  • Add an equal amount of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to the tincture.
  • Close the jar tightly and shake it vigorously for a minute or two.
  • Store the jar in a dark place and leave it to sit for at least a week, shaking it once a day.
  • After a week, strain the tincture through a cheesecloth or strainer to remove the solids.
  • Store the tincture in a suitable container or glass dropper bottle.

The vinegar method is effective for low alcohol content tinctures and offers a natural, healthy alternative to the evaporative methods. However, it can cause changes in taste and aroma, and may not be suitable for all types of herbs.


Consuming herbal tinctures provides numerous health benefits, but alcohol can be a concern for some people. Fortunately, there are several ways to remove alcohol from herbal tinctures, including boiling, double boiler, evaporation, and vinegar methods. The boiling and double boiler methods are effective for all types of tinctures, while the evaporation and vinegar methods work best for low alcohol content tinctures. Choose the method that works best for you and enjoy the benefits of herbal tinctures without any worries!

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