How to Make Herbal Glycerites
Updated: Jun 8, 2020
One of the most frequently asked questions when offering someone an herbal remedy is, “Does it taste good?” With herbal glycerites, the answer is easily YES! Herbal glycerites have a syrup-like consistency and are made by infusing fresh herbs into vegetable glycerin. They’re a wonderful option for anyone who chooses to abstain from alcohol, making them a good alternative to traditional herbal tinctures.
Making herbal glycerites doesn’t require many tools. You’ll need the following supplies:
Jars with lids
Butter knife or chopstick
Cheesecloth or strainer
I look for vegetable glycerin that is organic and designated as food grade since I will be ingesting the finished product.
Glycerine is odorless and slightly sweet. I find the herbs that work best as glycerites are usually either flowering plants or plants high in volatile oils, such as members of the mint family. Some of my favorite choices are skullcap, chamomile, peppermint, ginger, and dandelion. Whatever herbs you select, make sure you are positive of your plant identification and that they were grown without being sprayed with any pesticides.
Once you’ve assembled your supplies for this project, begin by filling your jar between two-thirds and three-quarters full with plant material. Your material should be ground up and loosely packed so that the vegetable glycerin can permeate well. Then pour the glycerin over your herbs, stopping once you’ve covered them.
Using a butter knife or chopstick, give the mixture a good stir for a minute or two, fully mixing everything together as well as removing any air bubbles. Getting the air pockets out will lower the volume of the liquid in your jar. After stirring, you can now top off your jar by adding more vegetable glycerin, stopping about an inch below the lip of the jar.
That’s it! You’ve made your first herbal glycerite. Put the lid on and make sure to label it with the contents and the date. Keep your jar somewhere you’ll see it regularly, but out of direct sunlight. Try to shake it up once a day, or at least every other day. After 4-6 weeks, you can strain out and discard the herbal material from the glycerin. Your herbal glycerite is now complete and ready to use! These are shelf stable and will keep for 1-2 years.
Because glycerinates are naturally sweet, you can take a teaspoon at a time. Tip: They also make a delicious addition to hot teas in lieu of other sweeteners. In the summer, they make a refreshing combo by mixing an ounce or so with the seltzer water of your choice.