How to Make Echinacea Tincture (it’s easy)

Echinacea is excellent for supporting the immune system during a cold.

As a teenager I was involved in dancing, acting and singing and went to auditions every now and again. The day before a very important (to me) audition I came down with a severe cold and could barely breathe through my nose! I felt terrible. Singing at an audition the next day seemed out of the question.

The local health food store suggested Echinacea. I took Echinacea tincture throughout the day and woke up well in the morning! This was my first experience with Echinacea and I was sold.

I was a little disheartened each time I became ill and wanted to buy more tincture. While it is not exorbitantly expensive, it is not cheap either. (Especially for a struggling artist.)

Thankfully I’ve discovered that takes very little time and money to make my own. It’s about as easy as preparing a cup of tea. Most anyone can do it.

Today I’m going to share the simple steps for making a traditional tincture with Echinacea. You can also make it with glycerin, for those who wish to avoid alcohol.

It is probably more beneficial to make a tincture with fresh Echinacea, but it is often easier (and still highly effective) to make it with dried material since not everyone grows or has access to fresh flowers and roots. When using dried Echinacea try to find some that has been dried recently and as always, organic is preferred.


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How to Make Echinacea Tincture

You will need:

Wide mouth canning jar (make sure it is clean and sanitized)
dried Echinacea – (where to buy)
Vodka (with at least 40% alcohol – 80 proof)

Note: if using fresh herbs, you will need a higher percentage of alcohol (95%)

Method:

Place dried Echinacea in the jar until the jar is about half full.

Pour vodka over the top. Fill to the shoulder of the jar so there is a little room at the top. The dried herbs will swell over the coming weeks.

Seal tightly with lid.

Label jar with the date and the expected date your tincture will be ready. Also, include the ingredients on your label. You probably think you will remember, but trust me, that doesn’t always happen!

You have now created a menstruum. Leave menstruum at room temperature for four to six weeks. Shake every few days.

(The above picture is of some tincture I started this morning. It begins to turn brown very quickly)

After the four to six weeks has passed, strain the herbs out of the vodka.

To strain the herbs:

Place a layer of cheesecloth over a mesh strainer and set over a large measuring cup or bowl. Pour menstruum slowly into the cheesecloth and allow to drain for a few minutes. Then use your hands to wrap the cheesecloth around the herbs and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Discard the herbs.

You now have Echinacea tincture! Woo hoo! (Isn’t this fun?)

Pour tincture into dark, glass bottles for storage. Don’t forget to label them.

To use:

At the first sign of a cold or throughout a cold take ½ to ¾ of a teaspoon 3 to 4 times a day. per day.

Important note About when to use echinacea:

Echinacea has shown to be most beneficial at the beginning and for the duration of a cold. It is not intended as a long-term preventative.

{Top Image Credit}

Please remember I am not a certified Herbalist, just someone who is crazy about herbs and natural living. It is important you do your own research.

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Stacy Karen

Stacy is a DIY obsessed, healthy living advocate. A preacher's wife and mom of three, she loves to encourage others to live a natural lifestyle.

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  1. HI, thanks so much for sharing this tincture recipe. I love growing echinacea in my garden was wondering how to use it medicinally. I will definitely try this!!

    My question is about drying it: how long does it have to be dried and what parts of the plant are used.

    Thanks so much!

    1. If you have fresh Echinacea available there is not need to dry it (unless you want to). I have read that fresh is better than dried. If you want to use fresh Echinacea gently wash off the petals and measure about 1 cup of flowers and leaves. Add that to the jar then pour over the pint of vodka.

      You can use the roots and the flowers. Although you may not wish to dig up the roots!

      I’m not an expert on drying herbs, so you might want to check out this article: How to Dry Echinacea for Tea

      Generally they need to be hung upside down in a dark, dry place for a few days to 2 weeks.

      1. I was going to ask about using fresh to – I had no idea that the flowers I have growing all over my front garden were Echinacea, I just thought they were cone flowers!

        Do you know if there is anything I need to watch out for in using the flowers from my garden? We don’t spray or use any kind of chemicals on our yard or flowers, so I know they are “organic”. And it’s just the flower petals that I should use, not the green leaves?

        Thanks for this Stacy! We’ve been battling our first cold of the season and I need to dive more into natural and herbal remedies. This is a great place to start!

        1. You lucky thing! How great that you have some growing in your yard.

          Just check for bugs or bug eggs. Give them a gentle rinse and you should be good to go.

          You can use the whole plant, flowers, leaves, and root. Many people use the flowers and leaves only since they don’t want to dig up the roots.

  2. This is awesome.

    Quick question though…….is it better if this sits for 6 weeks vs. 4? Does it get more potent? How would one know if 4 weeks is better than 6? Thanks so much.

  3. I made my own tincture before, it is very easy and definitely worth the effort. I am glad you are sharing so more people can do this. It works on strep throat to avoid antibiotics. I need to make more, ran out this summer and now here I am with a sore throat!!

  4. In response to Adena,
    Please be very careful with strep throat! If it is trully strep throat, (caused by the streptococcus A bacteria) and is not treated with appropriate andtibioitics, the symptoms may go sway, but the bacteria will still be present and can cause rhematic fever within a few weeks which can damage your heart and be life threatening. I am all for the use of herbal remedies and keeping the use of antibioitics for only the most dire of circumstance.s, as the overuse of antibiotics is reeking havoc on our immune systems, But the strep bacteria is trully one of those most dire circumstances. It is important though to have a throat culture done to see of it trully is a strep infection although most experienced medical profesionals can recognze strep throAt by a thourogh exam and detailed history as it has a very characteristic timeline OF symptoms, smell and look. For everyday sorethroats, fevers, ect. By all means, use homeopathic remedies first as they will hlp to strengthen the immune system rather than take it over.

  5. What if I do want to use fresh echinacea? I have a huge patch growing in my backyard and would love to make a tincture to have handy for the coming winter. Do I need any of the tops? Most have dried and gone away but I know I could dig up plenty of roots. Thanks for any help!

  6. Hello, all,

    Is it safe to take tinctures made with vodka while you are pregnant? Also, are these safe to give to little ones?

    Any ideas or rules of thumb?

    1. It is safe to take tinctures while pregnant. For children you use the percentage of their weight divided by 120-130. A 60-65# child would get half the adult dose. A 90-85# child would get 75% of the adult dose.

  7. I have echinacea tea, can I use the contents of the tea bags (traditional medicines brand) instead of ordering the dried ones online? I hate to pay so much shipping for something so small! Also, there are different kinds online- does it matter? Angustifolia and Purpurea?

    1. Hi Brianne,

      I’m sorry, I somehow missed your comment. I hadn’t thought of using the contents of tea bags! I’m sure you could do that if it is only Echinacea inside. This is more expensive than buying echinacea in bulk. But as you said, there is always shipping!

      As far as I know, either species of echinacea is fine to use

  8. I think, in your pictures, you are using the roots that are dried. Have you harvested or ever done the flowers? I am trying to learn that as well as how to harvest and dry the roots.

  9. I’m wondering if you use the same amount of fresh? I have planted Echinacea purpurea for this reason, but I’m not sure how much to use.
    Thanks!

  10. I grow echinacea. What part of the plant do I use to get dried echinacea- the roots, flowers, stems, leave? Thanks!

  11. In using echinacea you need to use the root. This was what was traditionally used. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that the german herbalists started using the flowering parts. The research on the health benefits are all based on using the root of echinacea ANGUSTIFOLIA, not purpurea. Purpurea means ‘common’ in latin. It is the species that most of us grow in our garden. The root takes 3 years to be considered to be ripe. Angustifolia roots take 10 years to ripen. The active ingredient in echinacea that has the immune modulating activity are the alkyl amides and is found almost exclusively in the e.angustifolia species. Native americans would check the ripeness of the root by chewing on it. If it made their mouth feel like it had bees buzzing in it, they knew it was ready. You can check the potency of your echinacea tincture the same way. If you don’t get the ‘tingle’ then your echinacea won’t help boost your immune system. Incidentally, I am a physician and an herbalist.