Glycerine extraction (aka. Glycerites)

Glycerine or glycerol is a colourless, odourless, viscous fluid with a very sweet taste. It can be used as solvent to make a tincture (it’s solvent abilities are somewhere between alcohol and water), and is commonly used to preserve a fresh expressed plant juice in the proportion 1:1 (i.e. 50% glycerine).

It is often used for children because of its sweet taste, and is the sweet principle obtained by the hydrolysis of vegetable or animal fats. Note: Vegetable glycerin is usually made from coconut oil. Make sure you ask for pure, food grade vegetable glycerin if you have concerns about sourcing.

Glycerine can also be added to poultices to make them stick to the skin more readily, and retain their moist & emollient qualities. Small quantities can even be used undiluted as a rectal injection or suppository to immediately relieve constipation. It is sometimes added to tinctures to hold the medicinal constituents in suspension and ameliorate the harsh taste, or effects of tannins.

How to make a Glycerite:

  • Place 50 g finely chopped, ground or powdered herb in a large 1 L glass jar
  • Add 480 ml glycerin
  • Add 320 ml distilled water
  • Cap jar tightly and agitate daily for 14 days
  • Strain, press & store

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