How to Make a Lavender Herbal Tincture

After learning how to make a fresh dandelion tincture that can be taken to help with an array of health conditions such as;

  • Preventing gas
  • Helping with heartburn
  • Supporting healthy liver and kidney function
  • Blood purification
  • Plus much more!

I started looking into other herbal tinctures one could whip up at home to help boost one’s health, and seeing as I had lavender coming out my ears (our plant’s just flourished since I planted it in June of this year!), I thought I’d make up a tincture using our fresh lavender herbs.

The fresh lavender I collected from my garden to turn into this tincture (as you can see the bulk of it is leaves – it’s coming to the end of the season for lavender blooms, so I bulked it out using leaves. Though if you have the option, use blooms rather than leaves 😉 )

What can Lavender Tincture be used for?

A lavender tincture is similar to that of a lavender oil, however tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs, usually extracted into alcohol to obtain a concentrated level of the herbs’ healthful properties.

Once you’ve combined the alcohol and lavender, set the concoction aside near a well-lit window (out of direct sunlight though) for 2-6 weeks. You’ll see the colour of the liquid start to change over this time!

Tinctures can be taken orally to help assist with and improve a wide variety of ailments, but they can also be used in a number of different ways where you would commonly use an essential oil.

For example, you can use this lavender tincture:

  • In your oil diffuser at home to scent the air and help you fall asleep
  • Mixed in with a bit of coconut oil as an after bath lotion to help you fall asleep
  • Mixed in with some witch hazel as a natural bug spray to keep mosquitoes at bay
  • In a linen spray to scent sheets
  • As an extract to flavour lip balm
  • As a flavour addition to homemade lemonade (to make lavender lemonade!)
  • To scent bathwater to promote relaxation
  • Can be effective in combating antifungal-resistant infections
  • To speed up wound healing (it’s a great anti-inflammatory)
  • To promote hair growth
  • As a dandruff remedy
  • As an extract in your baking

These are just a few of the MANY different ways you can incorporate lavender tincture into your daily life (see here for an extensive list of uses for lavender at home + benefits of each!)

The tincture once it’s finished!! I collected the liquid in amber bottles to protect it from light. However, if you choose to use clear glass bottles/jars, store it in a cool, dark place. This tincture lasts for years!

Health benefits of Lavender

Lavender oil has been shown to have a whole array of beneficial properties due to it’s anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. As I mentioned before, it can help heal minor burns and bug bites, relieve pain from headaches, sprains, toothaches, and sores, may help in preventing hair loss, and is well-known for it’s calming and soothing qualities and is used widely for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness.

Consuming lavender as a tea may help with digestive upsets like vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas, upset stomach, and abdominal swelling.

Note: Use lavender with caution. When taken in high dosage amounts it can cause adverse reactions and be quite toxic. When taken orally, lavender is likely safe for most adults in food amounts. It’s possibly safe when taken orally in medicinal amounts. Just keep in mind, when taken orally lavender may cause constipation, headache, and increased appetite. So be on the lookout for any signs of adverse reactions, and discontinue use if you find you are reacting negatively to oral or external use of tincture.

As you can see, the colour of the liquid changed as it drew more of the beneficial properties out of the lavender herbs. You can use lavender tincture for so many different things!

Lavender oil is generally not poisonous in adults when breathed in during aromatherapy or swallowed in smaller amounts. It may cause a reaction in children who swallow small amounts, though the major effects are often due to allergic reactions of the skin. So it is advised to to be used orally in children, and if used externally on kids, be sure to start off with a test patch on their skin to see if any adverse reactions occur. Children, specifically young boys who haven’t yet reached puberty, should avoid lavender oil and products containing lavender oil as they may disrupt normal hormone levels. It is recommended that topical lavender oil should be avoided for children until more studies are conducted. It is also advised to avoid using lavender when pregnant or nursing, as there is still little research done in what the effects are of using lavender during this time.

Dosage for Lavender Tincture

Dr. Weil shared his recommendations on dosages for lavender:

  • Internal use – take 2-4 mL lavender tincture three times a day. Lavender tea often includes both leaf and flower and can be ingested before bed.
  • Aromatherapy – add 2-4 drops lavender essential oil to 2-3 cups of boiling water – some people may experience lung and/or eye irritation, so if experiencing these symptoms may be wise to discontinue use.
  • Topical use – add 1-4 drops lavender oil per tbsp of olive oil – avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes. For bald spots, one study combined the following essential oils: 3 drops of lavender, 3 drops of rosemary, 2 drops of thyme, and 2 drops of cedarwood, all mixed with 3 mL of jojoba oil and 20 mL grapeseed oil. This mixture was massaged into scalp every night.

Note: Lavender essential oil should only be used externally or as aromatherapy, as it is potentially toxic when ingested.

I’ve been taking my homemade lavender tincture as an “elixir”, to help add a boost of beneficial properties to my body (it’s great for calming and relaxing – I take it just before bed).

Lavender Tincture Recipe

Tinctures use alcohol as the solvent, whereas extracts may use alcohol, water, vinegar, glycerin or other solvents. The Alcohol proof does not equal percentage, so, for example, an 80-90 proof vodka equals about 40-50% alcohol, which is pretty standard and works well when making most tinctures. Note: You may need to mix vodka and 190 proof grain alcohol in equal parts for higher moisture items like lemon balm, berries and roots. This
190 proof grain alcohol would be for more tricky or highly bound essential oils. It will not taste good at all. So not advisable for use in tinctures. The final alcohol percent will be less as there is water in the plant that will be drawn out, diluting the alcohol content.

It’s quite strong, so you only need a little bit – and it tastes + smells strongly of lavender (naturally)

Keep in mind a little goes a LONG way with tinctures, so you only need a tiny amount when using, too much can be quite toxic.

Ingredients:

  • Lavender flowers, dried or fresh
  • Clean glass jar with tight fitting lid
  • Alcohol, either vodka 80 or 100 proof, or other woodgrain
  • Dark bottles to store your lavender tincture in (must be clean)
  • Filter material, such as cheesecloth, muslin, unbleached coffee filters or a fine sieve

To make:

  1. Chop up clean herbs to start with to help release essential oils and increase surface area; for fresh herbs fill the jar 2/3-3/4 of way full, no need to pack it in. If using roots of some plant, fill jar with less, 1/4-1/2. For dried herbs, fill jar 1/2-3/4 full.
  2. Pour alcohol over the herbs in the jar, you want to cover the herbs within completely. For roots, keep in mind that if using dried herbs, they will increase in size as they soak up the liquid – so leave ample space. Once covered, place lid on jar.
  3. Your jar should now be full, but not jammed packed. The herbs should be able to move around when gently agitated or swirled.
  4. Let the jar sit for 2-6 weeks, gently shaking it most days, if able. Different herbs require different lengths of time to sit in alcohol, so it’s important to do some research on the length of time required to sit in alcohol if using various different herbs to make tinctures, particularly if using medicinally. Otherwise, you might start extracting other components that are less desirable.
  5. Pour your tincture jar contents though the filter, and squeeze the filter to get as much liquid out as possible. The liquid will be coloured and no longer clear.
  6. Store the tincture in amber glass bottles to protect it from light, or in a cool, dark place if using clear glass bottles. Alcohol tinctures should last for years, though if it looks funky don’t use it. It can be a good idea to label what it is and when it was made, just to be sure.
  7. To use: this lavender tincture can be used in a whole variety of ways: it can be added to baths, used as a light perfume (dab on the wrists), to refresh sachets, as a liqueur/elixir, in cooking/baking and more! You can add tinctures to a range of body care products too (soap, lotion, massage oil, toner) or take them medicinally (just be sure to research amounts recommended if using medicinally, you don’t want to have too much).
You can use it in soaps, lotions, as a perfume, in baking, cooking, on your pillow at night to help aid sleep, and so much more! (It’s a chance to get creative 😉 )

As always, this is not personal medical advice and it is recommended that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products or following any new lifestyle regimes.

Have you made a herbal tincture before?! How did it go? Share your favourite recipe below! We’d love to try it out!

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Lavender. (Reviewed: September, 2016). Dr. Weil. Retrieved from https://www.drweil.com/vitamins-supplements-herbs/herbs/lavender/

Nordqvist, Joseph. (March 4, 2019). What are the health benefits and risk of lavender?. Medical News Today. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265922

How To Make Lavender Herbal Tincture. Odds And Hens. Retrieved from https://oddsandhens.com/2014/01/23/how-to-make-a-lavender-herbal-tincture/

Allen, Crystal. (Updated: September 12, 2018). DIY Lavender “Essential Oil” Tincture- Think Ahead Handmade Gift Ideas Series. Hello Creative Family. Retrieved from https://hellocreativefamily.com/diy-lavender-essential-oil-tincture/

Lavender. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender#:~:text=Lavender%20is%20commonly%20used%20for,support%20many%20of%20these%20uses.

Borke, Jesse, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP. Lavender oil. (November 3, 2020). Medline Plus. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002711.htm

Lavender. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-838/lavender#:~:text=When%20taken%20by%20mouth%3A%20Lavender,%2C%20headache%2C%20and%20increased%20appetite.