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What is Vegetable Glycerine and How is it Used?
By Kyle P - January 24, 2018

What is Vegetable Glycerine and How is it Used?

What is Vegetable Glycerine and How is it Used?

Vegetable glycerine (also spelled glycerin) evokes pleasant thoughts in some and feelings of disgust in others. Yes, vegetable glycerine is commonly used in soap-making and biodiesel industries, but not all glycerine is the same. Here at Bulk Herb Store, our vegetable glycerine is pure USP grade. This grade of purity meets or exceeds the quality standards of the United States Pharmacopeia and is acceptable for food and cosmetic use. It's thick, clear, tasteless and yet... super sweet. Dribble a little bit on your tongue and you will instantly begin to salivate. Vegetable glycerine is one of the most versatile products when it comes to making herbal preparations for the whole family.

What is Vegetable Glycerine?

Vegetable glycerine is colorless, odorless, sweet-tasting, and non-toxic. It's made from vegetable fats such as soy, coconut, and palm oils. Glycerine is extracted from the fats through a solvent-free process called hydrolysis. The fats are heated with water and put under pressure until the glycerol breaks free from the fatty acid chain and enters the water. The glycerol is then vacuum-distilled until it is more than 99% pure glycerine. The final product has uses throughout many industries including the food industry. Glycerine is sweet, yet metabolizes differently than sugar; and unlike sugar it does not contribute to tooth decay. Glycerine makes an ideal solvent for herbal extracts, and can be substituted for the alcohol in traditional tinctures allowing people of all ages to take them.  

How is it used?

Herbal Extracts:

Vegetable glycerine is a great solvent of herbal constituents and a preservative. Tinctures made with glycerine (also known as glycerites) instead of alcohol allow children and those avoiding alcohol to enjoy the benefits of herbal extracts. Its sweet taste can also help mask the taste of unpleasant herbs.

Easy Glycerite:

  1. Fill a mason jar 1/3-1/2 full of herbs (1/2 full makes the brew stronger).
  2. In a separate jar, mix 3 parts Vegetable Glycerine and 1 part distilled water. Shake to combine.
  3. Pour liquid mixture over the herbs and completely cover to fill the jar 1/2 inch from the top.
  4. After closing the jar tightly, place it in a crock-pot with a small towel underneath to keep the jar from breaking.
  5. Fill the crock-pot with water up to the top of the jar (not touching the lid), and leave it on the lowest setting for 3 days, keeping the glycerin hot but NOT boiling, and add water as necessary.
  6. Strain herbs through cheesecloth, squeezing out excess glycerine. Store in a tightly-sealed jar or tincture bottle, and label thoroughly.*

Natural Skin Care:

Vegetable glycerine is also an emollient, meaning that it softens and moisturizes the skin. This makes it a great addition to skin care products such as lotions and body creams. One of our favorite ways to use glycerine in skin care products is in our herbal shaving cream. Organic, soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients make for happy, healthy skin that glistens and glows while giving you the close shave possible. Curious? You can watch our how-to video here.


Vegetable glycerine is wonderful for creating herbal extracts, but not all of them have to be medicinal. You can create simple heat-free glycerites to add fun flavors to ice cream and baked goods. Experiment with flavors like lavender, rose, peppermint, and lemon! Our favorite way to use them is drizzled over ice cream or fruit salads.

Easy Heat-free Glycerite: 

  1. Fill a mason jar ½ way with dried herb (2/3 way full with fresh herb). Chop dried herb well before adding to jar.
  2. In a separate jar, mix 3 parts Vegetable Glycerine and 1 part distilled water. Shake to combine.
  3. Pour liquid mixture over the herb and completely cover to fill the jar.
  4. Label container with date, ratio of glycerine to water, and herbs used.
  5. Shake jar daily for 4-6 weeks.
  6. Strain with cheesecloth, bottle, label!*
  *Important details to note on your label:
  • Common Name
  • Latin Name
  • Part Used
  • Fresh/Dried
  • Glycerine/water ratio
  • Habitat/Source
  • Date
  • Dosage