Tinctures, Extracts, and Infusions – Oh My! 14


This is a new area for me and before last month I had never heard of the word – tincture (yes, I had to look it up). I have heard and used extracts and infusions, I just didn’t realize that I could make my own own tinctures, extracts, or infusions and incorporate them into my lotions and soap recipes. I guess someone has to make this great stuff, it might as well be us.

So now I’m here to show you how you can make your own tinctures, extracts, or infusions by using some of the great botanicals available at thesage.com and how you can use them in your own recipes.

Let me start by giving you some definitions and examples of some great tinctures or extracts that you could make with me.

Tinctures – are solutions that use alcohol as its solvent. When making tinctures the herbs or botanicals are put in a container with alcohol, 80 proof vodka for example. The jar is left to stand for a period of time, maybe two to three weeks, and shaken daily in order to maximize the extraction process. Tinctures can be used as a facial toner, added to clay to make facial masks, or added to the water when making a foot bath.

Infusion – means to steep in liquid, usually to extract a flavor. The infusion process is the method used to prepare tea and herbal teas. The tea is placed into hot water and allowed to steep until the desired flavor is achieved. Making a pot of tea and using the tea water in your lotion recipes is a great idea to make that lotion extra special. Infused oils can also be created for a great twist in making lotions or soaps.

Decoction – means to extract the flavor or properties of something through a continued boiling process. A decoction process is different from infusion in that the process is often longer and the water is kept at a boil. A decoction is used more often with roots such as making ginger tea from fresh ginger root. Doesn’t that sound great to add to your recipes? The decoction process of mashing, boiling, and straining can be used to create various types of malt beverages as well (think beer).

Extracts – all of the above are extracts but I am going to go a bit further here and explain an extract as any carrier (water, oil, or alcohol) that is used to remove a soluble portion from plant material. So, an extract might be a tincture, infusion, decoction or a combination. Boiling a plant material in alcohol will create a decocotion/tincture. For ease of reading let’s define extracts as oil soluble infusions.  We will only heat the oil and plant material to extract the oil soluble properties.

Don’t worry about this set of definitions, I won’t be giving a test. Taylor might, however. 😉 All teasing aside, we will be making each of these items and you will be more prepared on how to make your body care products extra-special.

I am going to show you how to make several of these items that you will be able to use as toners, soap oils, lotion oils, massage oils, etc. I’m going to go gather some fabulous botanicals, as well as other supplies, and I’ll meet with you soon with a “how to” blog that will get you started.

Tonya

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14 thoughts on “Tinctures, Extracts, and Infusions – Oh My!

  • Deb

    Ohhh, can’t wait for this how too…thanks for sharing the difference in what all of them are, I’ve wondered a time or two. :-))

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  • Janet Schreiner

    I think I still have room in my brain to learn something new…I’m looking forward to it!

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  • Cindy

    Oh this should be fun! I have been making all of my own tinctures, decoctions, extracts, infusions, and all sorts of herbal treasures for years and it is lots of fun; lots of work, but the finished product is well worth all of the effort. The nice thing is that you know exactly what you have when you have your own herbal concoctions. I’l looking forward to seeing more on this. What a great place to start! Cindy

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  • Madea

    I can’t wait. I recently started making and using my infused oils in lotions, pomades, butters and creams.

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  • Nadya

    woohoo! I’m still struggling with making tinctures. would love to hear your instructions!

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  • Karen Harvey

    Looking forward to this series. I bought some lavender blossoms from MMS for this purpose. I’ve been using calendula tea (that I brew) in some of my soaps. Need to expand my knowledge in using these.

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  • Leilani

    I’ve been using infusions (water and oil) to make soap, for a long time. It’s one more way to get goodies in your soap. Need to start doing it in my lotions also. Looking forward for some more ideas.

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  • Barb Murphy

    Oh My is right! I like to stick as close to natural as possible, and what can be more natural than tinctures, extracts and infusions? Maybe you could help with this dilema….I have some dried magnolia blossoms that I wanted to infuse into a bit of oil for a natural coloring for lip balm. I covered the blossoms with a blend of castor and almond oil and placed the glass jar in a bit of water to slowly simmer. No color was infused at all (I use the blossoms to make tea and it is a beautiful cranberry color). I have had the oil and magnolia blossoms sitting in that oil for 2 weeks now with no color bleeding through. What am I doing wrong???

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    • Tina

      Barb, You might not be doing anything wrong. The color may be water soluble and not fat soluble. All of my magnolia blossoms are white so I don’t know what to tell you. If you like any odor that is coming through (it should be soft and polite) then I think you are doing the infusion correctly. There just may not be any color that is oil soluble for you to extract.

      Tina

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  • Erica

    I can’t wait to try to make these! I’m already thinking about green tea lotion and possibly sweet tea lip balm! Thanks for thinking of these series!

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  • Barb

    My favorite tincture uses lemon peel in vodka. After a week add some suger syrup and you have lemonchello. Works great to take the edge off a soap fail. Seriously, looking forward to these lessons.

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    • Leilani

      My husband is Italian, and my father-in-law used to always make lemonchello for the holidays. Wicked strong stuff!

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  • Kam

    This is great. My daughter and I were just talking about making tinctures, extracts, and infusions. I’m so glad you are doing this series. Thanks!

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