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How to Make an Astragalus Tincture
By Heidi Greening - September 11, 2015

How to Make an Astragalus Tincture

Tincture making happens every autumn in my house. I start planning my ingredient list in late summer and begin making purchases in August. By September I’m ready to dedicate a weekend or two to restocking our supply of herbal remedies in preparation for winter illnesses. This year is no different, and I’m planning to double the recipe for one of my favorite tinctures. I call it my "Kitchen Sink Immunity Tincture" because it covers just about all the bases. Astragalus Root is the shining star in this tincture and one of my personal favorites because of its flexibility. (You can learn more about astragalus here.) The other herbs complement Astragalus or enhance its work and offer a pleasant taste to what would otherwise be a very bitter tincture. I’ll list my herbs in order of how much I use in this recipe.
  • Astragalus: Immune stimulant. Diuretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic. (Pedersen, 1998) Aids adrenal glands and strengthens lung function. (Balch, 2000)
  • Yarrow: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant. (Pedersen, 1998)
  • Licorice: Adds natural sweetness and aides in digestion.  Anti-inflammatory, stimulating. Increases production of mucus and relieves muscle spasms. (*Not for use during pregnancy.)(Pedersen, 1998)
  • Goldenseal: Immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory. Strengthens respiratory system. (*Some sources contraindicate Goldenseal during pregnancy.) (Weaver, 2010)
  • Echinacea: Immune stimulant, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. (Weaver, 2010)
  • Peppermint: Adds pleasant taste to mask bitter herbs.  Anti-spasmodic, aides in digestion. (Weaver, 2010)
  • Alcohol (such as vodka) and Vegetable Glycerin
To produce about 2 quarts of tincture I start with a gallon size glass jar, and I'll be following the folk method of tincturing. My goal is to fill the jar about ½ full with my herbs. I consider 1 cup to equal 1 “part” in my recipe, but “parts” can be any measurement. If you need to make a smaller batch of tincture you will use a smaller measurement for your “parts.”  The first herb I measure out is the one that I want to use the most of. The amount I use of my super star herb sets the stage for all the others.

Kitchen Sink Immunity Tincture

Ingredients: Directions:
  1. Combine all herbs in a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Pour herbs into glass jar. Add enough boiling water to just rehydrate the herbs. They shouldn’t be floating in water.
  3. Pour Vodka over the herbs until they are covered by about an inch. Mix well with very clean hands or a long spoon.
  4. Now add enough Vegetable Glycerin to fill the jar about an inch from the top. Mix well again, as much as possible. Replace the lid tightly and shake well.
  5. Remember to label your jar with the ingredients and date. Keep your jar in a cool dark place for at least two weeks, shaking the jar vigorously every day.
  6. At the end of two weeks, strain the tincture through cheesecloth into a large bowl. Squeeze out as much of the excess liquid as possible. Throw the spent herbs in your compost and pour the tincture into a clean ½ gallon or two quart size jars.
  7. Re-label and seal.
I prefer this method of combining alcohol with glycerin because it is has the superior effectiveness provided by the alcohol and the palatability brought by the glycerin. Dispense as soon as you start to feel an illness coming on or use as a precautionary measure when you know something is making its way around your community.
What do you do to boost immunity in your family?
  1. Pedersen, M. (1998). Nutritional herbology: A reference guide to herbs (Rev. and expanded ed.). Warsaw, IN: Wendell W. Whitman.
  2. Balch, P., & Balch, J. (2000). Prescription for nutritional healing (3rd ed.). New York: Avery.
  3. Weaver, R., & Weaver, C. (2010). Be your own doctor: 101 stories : Natural remedies for the health of your family. Reinholds, PA (240 Mohns Hill Rd., Reinholds, PA 17569): Share-A-Care Publications.


  1. Eliane
    Great recipe I will try it for sure. Thanks
  2. Brandi Senkus
    Thanks for the great info! How much would be recommended as a dose for the average adult?
  3. Amy
    I am new to this and so very thankful that I found ya'll. I am trying to help my family be healthier. I already use essential oils for so much, but I want to do more. And thanks to ya'll I know where to start next. With most tinctures, what is the general "dosing" amount to take?
    1. Patty patterson
      would like to know dosage as well and is there a kit on the store page for this and what tintures do u recommend for the winter and for a newbie can u also suggest a list of supplies and any books
    2. Heidi
      Hi Amy,
      Good question! The usual adult dosage is 1/2 to 1 tsp. 3 times a day. Children receive 1/4 to 1/3 of the adult dose.
  4. Janet
    Can this be made without the glycerin?
    1. Meagan
      Yes Janet!
    2. Heidi
      Hi Janet,
      You can choose to make the tincture with only alcohol. I use the glycerin to make it a little sweeter and therefore easier to take.
  5. Joe
    Thanks. Just what I have been looking for! May I ask? As a rule when you purchase whole roots or large root pieces like Astragalus should I wash them off before I make tincture?
    1. Meagan
      I think it depends on your preferences. If the root is fresh, you can wash it well and then tincture it fresh (I believe you typically tincture fresh roots with a higher percentage of alcohol); however, some herbalists, like Susan Weed, don't overly wash their plants as they believe this rids the plant material of too many of the beneficial bacteria found on the surface and in the dirt. Ultimately, the choice is yours. I can't imagine it hurting you. It would probably add to the sediment in the end tincture, but that's not that big of a deal.