Plant Medicine 101 – Tinctures

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Many times, we have been asked “what are tinctures?” and “why should I take herbs in tincture form?”. Read on to learn about the therapeutic advantages of this traditional herbal preparation – and what makes St. Francis Herb Farm tinctures stand apart from the rest!   

What Is a Tincture? 

In its most basic definition, a tincture is simply a concentrated extraction made from suspending a medicinal plant (berry, bark, leaf, etc.) in a water and alcohol (or other solvent) solution.  

Over a specific length of time, the solvent extracts beneficial components from the plants, after which the mixture is strained and bottled.  

Tinctures differ from other liquid herbal preparations like infusions and decoctions in that they extract a greater spectrum of therapeutic compounds from the whole plant and preserve them for much longer.

There are many ways of administering herbal medicine (e.g., capsules, tablets, extracts, and teas), and at St. Francis Herb Farm® we are proud to carry the tradition of tinctures as an effective way of tapping into the therapeutic benefits that herbs bring to people.


The Advantages of a Tincture 

  • Retains the most complete range of a plant’s therapeutic constituents 
  • Absorbed immediately as it enters the stomach 
  • Requires no digestion, making it valuable for those with compromised digestive function 
  • High degree of bioavailability 
  • Flexible administration of dosage 
  • Small doses can be as effective as large doses of the same herb in another form 
  • Can be taken internally or applied topically 
  • Long shelf life (up to 4 years)

Did you know? A unique characteristic of tinctures, is that they naturally preserve the therapeutic influence of taste, since the healing effect of a medicine begins at ingestion through the mouth (e.g., herbal bitters).

Why St. Francis Herb Farm Tinctures?  

There are many tinctures on the market and deciding which is best for you can be a challenging process.  

Through our Holistic Herb Approach, which combines traditional methods with insights gained from experience, we’re proud to produce single herb and blended tincture formulations that maximize the healing powers of herbs, to help treat common ailments and support everyday health.   

Our premium, plant medicine tinctures are the result of: 

30 Years of Experience  

Making tinctures is a delicate process that considers many factors in creating remedies of the highest quality and effectiveness; it is as much a craft as a science! As skilled herbalists with respect for and a mastery of the traditional methods, we’ve been in the business of making tinctures for over 30 years.

Plant Medicine 101 - Tinctures - Harvesting herbs
Plant Medicine 101 - Tinctures - Harvesting herbs
Strict Sourcing and Herb Quality Protocols  

At St. Francis Herb Farm®, we are notoriously fastidious in our selection of herbs. Wherever possible, we source locally grown Canadian herbs and are uncompromising in choosing only plants of the highest grade and quality that meet our rigorous standards. 

Our Commitment to Organic Ingredients  

When it comes to establishing final product quality, this is probably the most significant of factors. We were focused on sourcing organic herbs many years before “organic” became fashionable, and our commitment to the highest organic standards continues to this day. Of our herbs and plant medicines, all but a select few—those impossible to obtain otherwise—are Certified Organically Grown, sourced from a handful of our most trusted and highly reputable suppliers.  

A few years ago, fine-tuning our commitment to quality, we also introduced Certified Organic alcohol into our tincture line. As a result, over 125 of our tinctures are Certified Organic and carry the official logo.

Oréganum Plus
Tailoring the Process to Fit the Herb  

Accessing an herb’s most powerful medicinal benefits requires a deep knowledge of each herb’s unique characteristics. If handled improperly, an herb’s chemical and physiological benefits to the user may never be fully realized. There are several different elements to consider:  

  • Using recently harvested herbs. Part of traditional knowledge is understanding whether to tincture an herb when it’s fresh or when it’s dried.  
  • Herb-specific grinding. The size and type of the grinder affects the next form the herb takes. We have the experience to know if an herb works better when it’s finely ground or coarsely ground.  
  • Choosing maceration liquid. Maceration refers to the process of soaking the herb in a liquid to draw out its healing properties. The liquid used in the process can be water, alcohol, glycerine, or a combination. Knowing which ones to use and how much of each are two pieces of the puzzle. 
  • Length of process. The length of the maceration process for each herb varies, as each herb carries its own unique set of chemical characteristics.  
  • Tinctures and Ratios. In tinctures, the proportion of a medicinal plant in relation to its liquid base is most often expressed as a ratio. For example, a 1:4 ratio, which is typical of our tinctures made from dry herbs, means that every 4 ml of the final preparation has been made from 1 gram of plant material. On the other hand, our fresh herb ratios tend to be 1:1 or 1:2 because of the moisture that already exists in the plant. 

The commitment to quality and efficacy has made St. Francis Herb Farm® a valuable resource to professionals. For many years, we have been the tincture supplier of choice for the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and an overwhelming favourite among medical practitioners.  

We are dedicated to honouring and bringing people the full potential of each herb – and delivering that potential in every one of our effective formats: including our extensive line of tinctures!

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Careers at St. Francis

At St. Francis Herb Farm, we have a fantastic, hard-working team. We are truly passionate about our work, and that shows in the effort that goes into crafting, selling and telling the world about our herbal medicines and whole food products.

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