How to make a glycerite
What is a glycerite?
Perhaps the first question is ‘what is glycerine’? Glycerine is a type of alcohol made by hydrolizing fats. There are various ways to do this but using water and high pressure is often used. Always seek out an organic and plant baked source as glycerine can be made from animal fats and is also synthetically produced.
Glycerites are herbs extracted in glycerine, usually a combination of alcohol and/or water as well, known as the menstruum. Glycerites are also known as glyco-extracts.
They are made by soaking fresh or dried herbs in the glycerine-menstruum in a sealed vessel for a couple of weeks. With daily stirring, this extracts and preserves the soluble phytonutrients contained within the plants.
What is a glycerite used for?
Glycerites are soft, moistening, emollients used primarily where there is dryness and irritation, often found in remedies for the lungs and digestion.
An advantage of glycerites is that they are sweet and easy to take as well as being a valuable means to extract and preserve the phytonutrients. Good for children or those who want a no/low alcohol herbal solution.
Which herbs can I use to make a glycerite?
How do I make a glycerite?
As each herb has specific requirements and to ensure the best results, it is important to use the appropriate solvent strength, volume of menstruum and particle size to extract the phytonutrients you want.
It is very important to preserve the glycerite properly that you use the correct strength of glycerine. At a minimum it should be 60% glycerine/40% water.
When using fresh plants the herb juice will dilute the glycerine so use a strong blend of 1 part herbs to 2 parts menstruum with 80-90% glycerine. You can also add 10-20% alcohol to enhance extractive properties.
- 100g Herbs – finely cut
- 350ml Glycerine
- 150ml Water
- Alcohol (adjust with water volume as appropriate)
- Jars for storing the maceration
- Measuring jug
- Record book
- A mill
- A chopping board
- Pestle and mortar
- Pen and label
- Cut the herb into small pieces and weigh the appropriate amount.
- Add the suitable strength of glycerine with the water, ensuring the herbs are submerged. It is important that the herbs are covered entirely by the menstruum so there is no oxidation or bacterial contamination.
- Place in a sealed and labelled jar, in a cool dark spot for 2-4 weeks.
- Stir or agitate everyday.
- Strain and squeeze the ‘marc’ (the remaining soaked herbs’) either through a sieve, a muslin cloth or a small press.
- Label and date your glycerite.
- Use as appropriate for the specific herb and need.
- A starting guide for dry herbs is to use a ratio of 1 part herb:5 parts menstruum (the liquid solvent) – in this example it means you know that 5ml of the finished tincture extract is equivalent to 1g of the herb.
- Alcohol: Vodka is recommended here as it doesn’t mask the taste of the herbs. If you have access to pure spirit you can dilute that as per your needs for each tincture.