Compound Tinctures and Award-Winning Elderberry Cough Syrup
The majority of the herbs we use in our full-strength tinctures are harvested from our Apothecary Garden on Martha's Vineyard or from local fields and meadows.
Most of our tinctures (strong medicinal extracts) are provided in 2-ounce amber bottles, but you can indicate larger sizes (4 ounce or 8 ounce) of any tincture when available. Our award-winning Elderberry Ginger Cough Syrup is available in a 4 oz. or 8 oz. glass bottle only. All are made with fresh herbs harvested on Martha's Vineyard or sourced from top-quality growers.
**Special note about shipping: the US Postal Service does not allow products with alcohol to be shipped. This means all orders with tinctures must be shipped FedEx and may incur a higher-than-normal shipping charge because FedEx is pricier (choosing Flat Rate reduces the cost). Please indicate FedEx shipping address. Any other products in your order (salves, books, etc.) may be shipped separately or may go FedEx with the tinctures.
Note: most of our tinctures contain a certain amount of grain alcohol to extract the plant properties, though the actual amount of alcohol ingested is minimal. To remove alcohol, simply place dose in a cup of warm water and allow alcohol to evaporate before drinking.
How We Make Our Herbal Tinctures and Other Concentrates
Going by long-standing herbal tradition, we use a variety of "menstruums" to extract the herbal principles from the plant. Depending on the intended use and the type of plant, and the part of the plant used, we choose the specific menstruum. Listed below are the liquids we use as well as the reasoning behind it. Vineyard Herbs uses ALL NATURAL extract menstruums--never synthetic or harmful (like petroleum, lard, hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, or isopropyl alcohol).
Water We use the pure ground water here on Martha's Vineyard island, or distilled water, depending on the product.
Vegetable Glycerine We employ this byproduct of soap-making to extract certain plant materials. This is a food-grade liquid, GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the U.S. Pharmacopoeia that tastes very sweet. It is safe and pleasant-tasting for children, which makes it a good children's syrup ingredient.
Vinegar We use certified organic apple cider vinegar with the 'mother' to extract certain plants. This is an excellent way to pull the iron and other minerals out of dandelion root, burdock root, yellow dock root, among others. It also pulls minerals out of plant leaves, such as nettles, and in such a way that forms a beautiful salad dressing. As Hippocrates said, "Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food." Vinegar, however, has a short shelf life and will keep reliably only 6 months or so. Stored in the refrigerator it will keep longer, especially if other menstruums such as alcohol are added.
Alcohol Strong plants and tough, fibrous plant parts require something strong to elicit the tannins, enzymes, bitters, herbal alcohols, resins, and other constituents from them. We use brandy and vodka (grain alcohol) for this purpose.
Oil For salves, we use virgin or pure olive oil and/or canola oil for our a salve. (Note: We are phasing out the use of canola oil in most of our salves in favor of pure olive oil.) For massage oils and lotions, we use olive, sunflower, jojoba, apricot kernel, sweet almond, pumpkin seed, rose hip, and kukui nut oils.
Witch Hazel For EXTERNAL liniments and our bug repellent, we prefer Witch Hazel. It is a distillate of the bark of the tree Hamamelis virginiana. It is ONLY FOR EXTERNAL USE.
Honey We often make syrups, oxymels or electuaries with local Martha's Vineyard or Cape Cod honey whenever possible. We trade and work with local vendors and beekeepers who care for their bees sustainably.