Three things women are always looking for: ways to sleep our best, an added dose of energy here and there, and a flawless complexion. One of the latest beauty trends might just be the way to achieve all three of the aforementioned and so much more. We’ve all indulged in a powerful plant medicine or two and most of us take our share of capsules and supplements, but tinctures might not be on your radar just yet. They have been used for decades by naturopaths and are essentially drinkable beauty cures. Sounds great right? We tapped the expert advice of Dr. Laurie Steelsmith to talk about the pros and cons of herbal tinctures, some of her favorite supplements for overall wellness, and so much more.
So what are herbal tinctures exactly?
Dr. Laurie Steelsmith: “To make a tincture, chosen fresh or dried herbs are placed in a large jar and covered with either alcohol or glycerin,” explains Dr. Steelsmith. They are then left to soak for weeks to extract the active compounds. After straining out the fibrous parts of the herb, the liquid extract is bottled and sold as a tincture.”
They are definitely trending right now. Why is that?
LS: “Tinctures are ‘old’, as they’ve been used for over a hundred years to extract the medicinal and healing properties of herbs. They are ‘in’ right now because they are often better absorbed, offer an alternative to taking pills, and provide more of the whole plant extract rather than just the active ingredient. They are also easy to mix with other botanicals, so that you can create the perfect herbal formula for your specific needs.”
As health-conscious women, we definitely want to weigh the pros and cons of everything new we try. What are the former for tinctures?
LS: “The benefits include being able to balance and support your body with herbs that are specific to your unique needs. For instance, if you suffer from acne you can use blood cleansing herbs like burdock root along with liver cleansing herbs like dandelion to support skin health. If you suffer from hormonal imbalance and low energy, you can mix together chase tree berry and adrenal boosting botanicals like Siberian ginseng or rhodiola to create the perfect ‘health cocktail’.”
And what are the cons?
LS: “Most herbs are extracted in an alcoholic medium. This makes compliance difficult for users who don’t want to have a hit of alcohol in the morning—or even in the middle of the work day. To mitigate the effects of the alcohol, add your herbal tincture to a cup of boiling water and allow the steam to blow off the alcohol. You can also mix it into your favorite tea. Alternatively, instead of taking tinctures you can take your herbs in pill form. For instance, I use a product called Asensia for my patients who have hormonal imbalances instead of an herbal tincture of chaste tree berry.”
What are some other supplements that are great for overall wellness?
LS: “One of the best companies producing herbal tinctures is Herb Pharm. They have been making high quality products for decades. The company has a number of herbal formulas on the market used to support health and beauty. They are readily available at health food stores in the supplement section and many pharmacies also carry them.”
What do you think of herbal tinctures? Will you be trying them?