The Best Vegetable Glycerin for Creating Herbal Tinctures

Herbal tinctures are liquid extracts made from herbs that are dissolved in a solvent, typically alcohol or vegetable glycerin. Tinctures are a popular way to harness the beneficial compounds in herbs and create natural remedies and health supplements.

When making tinctures at home, choosing the right grade of vegetable glycerin is crucial for safety and effectiveness.

Vegetable Glycerin

Vegetable glycerin, also known as glycerol, is a clear, odorless liquid that forms the backbone of triglycerides and lipids present in vegetable oils. It has a naturally sweet taste, thick viscosity, and high solubility power.

Glycerin is obtained from fats and oils through a hydrolysis process using water and heat. Common vegetable sources include coconut, palm, soybean, and canola oil. The raw glycerin is then purified to remove residues, yielding food-grade or USP-grade products safe for consumption.

Compared to alcohol preparations, glycerites (glycerin based tinctures) offer some distinct advantages:

  • Non-alcoholic: Suitable for children, pregnant women, and those avoiding alcohol.
  • Sweet taste: The natural sweetness of glycerin makes tinctures more palatable.
  • Gentler extraction: Glycerin does not damage fragile plant constituents like alcohol can.
  • Better preservation: Glycerin stabilizes herbs for a longer shelf life.

However, glycerin does not extract all medicinal components as efficiently as alcohol. Combining the two to make an elixir is ideal for a broad-spectrum extraction.

Now let’s take a closer look at the criteria for choosing the highest quality vegetable glycerin for DIY tinctures.

What to Look for When Buying Vegetable Glycerin

1. Food Grade and USP Standards

It’s crucial to only use food-grade vegetable glycerin internally that meets United States Pharmacopeia (USP) standards. This designation means it is highly purified and approved for medical applications.

Some glycerin is made for industrial uses like manufacturing and would contain harmful contaminants or toxins that make it unsafe for internal consumption. Always check for food-grade or USP-grade on the label when shopping.

2. Organic and Non-GMO Sourcing

Seeking out organic and non-GMO vegetable glycerin ensures you’ll avoid solvents, pesticides, or other chemicals used in conventional farming. This is especially important since you’ll be ingesting the glycerin directly.

Organic certification also prohibits the use of synthetic processing aids during manufacturing. This gives added assurance you’re getting a clean, chemical-free product.

3. Pure 100% Glycerin

Look for vegetable glycerin labeled as “100% Pure” without any extra ingredients added. Some commercial products contain preservatives, artificial flavors, fragrances, or colorings.

Pure USP vegetable glycerin should only have one ingredient: 100% vegetable glycerin. This ensures you are getting maximum solubility power without any adulterants.

4. Coconut-Derived over Soy, Palm, or Canola

The source vegetable oil will impact the final glycerin product. Coconut oil is emerging as a superior choice over conventional soy, palm, or canola oils.

Coconut glycerin has a clean, neutral aroma that won’t compete with the herbal flavors in tinctures. It also blends smoothly without any odd aftertaste. Soy and palm varieties are more prone to having a slightly off flavor.

Coconut oil production has less environmental impact compared to palm oil, which has raised major sustainability concerns in recent years. There are also debates around the health impacts of soy versus coconut oils.

5. Eco-Friendly and Sustainably Produced

As consumer awareness grows, you can now find vegetable glycerin made using eco-friendly practices that minimize environmental footprints.

Look for manufacturers that use renewable energies, recycled content in packaging, and ethically source oils rich in nutrients from small family farms.

This helps support local food systems, rural development, and protects biodiversity in coconut growing regions.

6. Bulk Sizes Offer Savings

Vegetable glycerin is quite versatile for cosmetics, skin care, tinctures, vaping juices, and more. Buying in larger bulk sizes, such as 1 gallon or 5-gallon containers, can help slash per ounce costs considerably.

Larger containers also reduce packaging waste compared to purchasing multiple small bottles. However, only buy as much as you can use within 1-2 years since glycerin can oxidize over time.

Best Vegetable Glycerin Brands for DIY Herbal Tinctures

Now that you know what to look for in a high-quality vegetable glycerin, let’s explore some of the top brands available online and in natural health stores:

Starwest Botanicals Organic Vegetable Glycerin

  • Made from organic non-GMO coconuts
  • Fair trade certified
  • Eco-friendly production
  • 1 gallon or 5-gallon sizes
  • Highly affordable bulk pricing

NutriCargo Non-GMO Vegetable Glycerin

  • Pure USP grade
  • Coconut derived
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified
  • Sold in 5 gallon jugs
  • Great for making large batches of tinctures

Essential Depot Kosher Vegetable Glycerin

  • USP food grade
  • Coconut and palm oil blend
  • Kosher and halal certified
  • 5-gallon quantity available
  • Widely used by crafters, soapers, and herbalists

Wildly Organic Vegetable Glycerin

  • USDA certified organic
  • Non-GMO, non-hexane
  • Sustainably sourced from coconut oil
  • 1 gallon bottle with handle
  • Woman-owned green business

Heritage Store Vegetable Glycerin

  • Renowned herbal brand
  • Derived from sunflower and coconut oils
  • Glass bottle packaging
  • Smaller 16 oz size available
  • Sold at many natural grocers

Bulk Apothecary Vegetable Glycerin

  • USP grade kosher
  • Canola, coconut, and palm blend
  • Rigorous 7-step purification
  • Lab certified for purity
  • Available in bulk 1 to 55 gallon containers

No matter which reputable brand you choose, always be sure to vet that their glycerin meets the criteria outlined earlier for purity, safety, and quality assurance.

How to Make a Simple DIY Glycerite Tincture

Now that you’ve chosen an excellent food-grade vegetable glycerin, let’s walk through how to make a basic single herb glycerite. This simple elderberry immune booster serves as the perfect template for crafting your own tinctures at home using glycerin.

Ingredients:

  • 1⁄4 cup dried elderberries
  • 1 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 1⁄2 cup purified water
  • 4 oz amber dropper bottle for storage

Instructions:

  1. Place the dried elderberries in a half-pint mason jar and pour in vegetable glycerin to cover. Top off with purified water, leaving 1 inch headspace.
  2. Shake vigorously for a minute to thoroughly mix the contents and release any trapped air bubbles.
  3. Cap the jar tightly and label with the current date and contents.
  4. Store the jar in a cool dark place and gently shake daily for 4-6 weeks to infuse.
  5. After 30 days, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or nut milk bag to remove the marc (spent plant material).
  6. Transfer the finished elderberry glycerite into a 4oz amber tincture bottle with dropper.
  7. Take 1 mL (about 30 drops) daily to support immune health.

Be sure to label your bottle with the ingredients, date, and recommended dose. Glycerites can last 1 to 3 years stored in a cool, dark location. Shake gently before use.

Repeat this basic process with any herb you want to make into a glycerite tincture. Try soothing chamomile flowers, antimicrobial oregano, or adaptogenic ashwagandha root. The possibilities are endless!

DIY Herbal Glycerite Recipes

Once you master the basics, you can start formulating multi-herb glycerite blends for specific wellness goals:

Sleep Support Glycerite

  • 1⁄4 cup valerian root
  • 1⁄4 cup chamomile flowers
  • 1⁄4 cup passionflower
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon balm
  • 1 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 1⁄2 cup water

Immune-Boosting Glycerite

  • 1⁄4 cup echinacea purpurea
  • 1⁄4 cup elderberries
  • 1⁄4 astragalus root
  • 1⁄4 cup reishi mushroom
  • 1 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 1⁄2 cup water

Anti-anxiety Glycerite

  • 1⁄4 cup ashwagandha
  • 1⁄4 cup linden leaves & flowers
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon balm
  • 1⁄4 cup passionflower
  • 1 cup vegetable glycerin
  • 1⁄2 cup water

Feel free to customize your own recipes based on your health goals and the medicinal herbs available.

Tips for Making Potent Glycerites

Here are some tips for making powerful multi-herb glycerites at home:

  • Use dried herbs rather than fresh for stronger extraction
  • Powder roots, barks, and mushrooms for optimal solubility
  • Shake the jar daily to agitate the herbs
  • Strain while glycerite is warm for better flow
  • Combine glycerin and alcohol tinctures for expanded benefits
  • Add pure essential oils for synergy and fragrance
  • Store in small batched to avoid oxidation from opening frequently

The Takeaway

When crafted with care using optimal ingredients, glycerites are a highly effective way to harness the age-old benefits of medicinal plants. Be sure to source high quality food-grade vegetable glycerin and ethically harvested herbs.

Follow basic extraction methods, then experiment with your own custom blends. Always clearly label your homemade glycerites with contents and dosages.

With the power of easy DIY glycerite tinctures, you can create natural plant-based remedies to support your health and wellbeing.