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Herbs can be consumed in a variety of ways - fresh, capsulated, tableted, as tinctures, in teas. A tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract. In every herbal medicine tradition, herbal extractions have been used to increase the bio-availability and delivery of the healing properties of plants into our bodies. The extraction process can be done with the use of a solvent. The most commonly used solvents are water, glycerin, or alcohol. With the oldest surviving proof of alcohol came from a clay vessel in China containing rice wine, honey, and grapes, dating back 7000 BCE - alcohol extractions of herbs are dated back just as long. Throughout the history of herbal medicines across the world, alcohol has been known as the most effective solvent, with alcohol extractions resulting in the most potent concentrations of active constituents.

  Although it has garnered some infamy through the ages, our species is very well acquainted with the powerful and altering nature of fermented grains.  Used therapeutically, spiritually, and recreationally, alcohol is common to many cultures throughout time and across the globe.  Modern chemistry has defined ethanol alcohol as a “universal solvent” which makes it one of the oldest and greatest extractors of medicinal constituents known to humans.  

Having been around forever, herbal tinctures made a drop off along with all other herbal medicines during the takeover by pharmaceuticals and allopathic medicine in the 20th century. However, as society realizes the deficiency of pharmaceutical drugs in the overall pursuit of health and healing, herbal medicine and herbal tinctures have made a powerful comeback. With today’s preferences for convenience, efficiency, and potency, tinctures are also taking on a new popularity as a modern, accessible way to take herbs, as they are easy to make, easy to store, easy to carry, and easy to administer. A few drops into your mouth or drinking water makes this powerful medicine accessible in today’s busy lifestyle.


How Is a Tincture Made?

Simply put, most tinctures use ethyl alcohol, which is a high-proof alcohol that is commercially available and very safe for consumption.  The alcohol is mixed with water to create a balance - with the amount of alcohol used depending on the unique properties of the herbs and how much water they contain. While water is often referred to as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves the most substances, not because it dissolves every single compound.  In actuality, it only breaks down polar substances.  Alcohol, on the other hand, can dissolve non-polar (water-insoluble) chemical compounds.  The two combine to make the best extraction tool that nature could provide.  

Tinctures can be made from a single plant or a combination of plants. Fresh or dried leaves, roots, bark, flowers, and berries may be used to make tinctures. A tincture is typically made by soaking herbs and other plant parts in solvent for weeks to extract the active constituents. After a period of weeks, the herbal mixture is strained and the herb parts are removed, leaving behind the concentrated liquid. 


Why are Alcohol-Based Tinctures So Great?

  A plant contains many constituents such as resins, alkaloids, oils, that are poorly soluble in water. Alcohol is preferred as the superior solvent because it is the only food-grade solvent that can extract the highest amount of herbal constituents safely without harming the body. The body can absorb alcohol quickly into the bloodstream - makingalcohol-based tinctures extremely fast-acting, In addition, in contrast with pills, tablets, and capsules, which have to be travel through our digestive tract, an alcohol-based tincture allows the properties of the herbs to skip the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream almost immediately through the capillaries and 

With alcohol-based tinctures, only a small dose is required to reap the benefits.Everyday food items such as an overripe banana, a piece of bread, and fermented fruit and vegetables contain approximately the same amount of alcohol as a single dose of a liquid extract.  Given that the amount of tincture taken is very small (usually between 20-40 drops) the amount of alcohol consumed is actually negligible and safe from any of the effects associated with drunkenness from imbibing.

In addition, because alcohol is a preservative, it gives the tinctures longevity - allowing you to keep them in your medicine cabinet without worrying about losing the active properties of the herbs.


Olanani’s Tinctures

All of our tinctures are handcrafted with lots of love and intention using ethanol alcohol, distilled Hawaiian water, and the absolute best herbs that we can source. Our herbs are sourced both locally, from organic farms in Hawaii, as well as from herbal suppliers that provide extensive third-party laboratory testing for heavy metals, pesticides, and quality assurance to affirm that they are free from contaminants. We combine herbs and prepare them for extractions, creating formulas as based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Our founders, Tai and Alicia, who both have master’s degrees in Traditional Chinese Medicine, both oversee the making of every formula. In every bottle, they share their passion for herbal medicine, and “Yao jiu”, known as purely medicinal alcohol in the Chinese tradition. With their dedication to healing, balance, and respect for nature, Tai and Alicia are honored to carry forth the powerful tradition of medicinal alcohol extractions into the modern day.