A tincture is an alcohol-based derivative of a fresh herb or other natural plant material, used primarily as an alternative medicine or dietary supplement.
One of the main problems faced by early pharmacists was drug potency. Many drug compounds were mixed by hand at the drugstore and sold to patients soon afterwards. The drugs in powdered form often lost much of their potency within a few days or weeks. Remedies in tincture form, however, could remain potent for several years.
The alcohol, glycerin or vinegar used in a tincture added stability to the concentrated chemicals found in the herbs. Although hundreds of herbs and plants could survive the tincture process, the most common tincture formulas involved chemicals like laudanum, mecurochrome and iodine.
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