How to Avoid Alcohol and Make Vinegar Tinctures

Vinegar Tinctures DIY

Making herbal tincture
Making herbal tincture. William Reavell / Getty Images

Not all tinctures have to be made with alcohol. You may be trying to avoid even the few drops of alcohol that a standard tincture provides, or you are put off by the taste of alcohol enough that it interferes with your herbal protocol. Make some of your tinctures with vinegar instead, and avoid any problems that arise with using an alcohol base.

Are Vinegar Tinctures The Same As Alcohol?

Vinegar tinctures are the same in that they are a way to get the medicinal part of the herb into your body.

Vinegar tinctures are just as effective, but they are not exactly that same. Vinegar tinctures have a much shorter shelf life, and are less potent. This shouldn't discourage you however. Making tinctures of any kind is just good medicine. Making vinegar tinctures just ensures that you are not working with alcohol (which is great if you don't have access to it) and/or you are using the resulting tincture for children or people who just want to avoid alcohol for whatever reason. 

Another good reason to use a vinegar tincture, is that you can make other things with it. In our home, I use goldenrod/vinegar tincture all winter long. I pour it over our steamed greens and garlic. Even the youngest little herbalist in the family agrees that the greens go on the plate first. They are just that tasty! 

Use vinegar tincture mixed with honey or maple syrup and heated in a pan until slightly thickened.

Pour this over roasted vegetables to add micronutrients and immune building to this delightful winter dish. 

I also use vinegar tincture as a base for a hot drink for kids and grownups with colds. Combine 1 Tablespoon of your favorite vinegar tincture (again, I like goldenrod and vinegar) and a tablespoon of raw honey into a mug.

Fill it with steaming hot (but not boiling) water. Stir and sip. This is a wonderfully tasty way to help your loved one feel better. 

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 2 weeks

Here's How:

  1. Fill your glass container with dry herbs
  2. Pour apple cider vinegar over the herbs, until they are completely submerged.
  3. Cap tightly.
  4. Label your tincture with the contents and the date you started.
  5. Every day, shake your tincture to agitate the contents.
  6. After two weeks, strain your tincture if desired. I often strain off just enough to fill my dropper bottle and leave the rest of the vinegar in the original container until needed.
  7. Store in a cool, dark place.


  1. Use raw apple cider vinegar if at all possible; apple cider vinegar that contains the mother if raw is not available.
  2. Avoid white vinegar.
  3. Use dry herbs only.
  4. Vinegar tinctures have a 1 year shelf life.

What You Need:

  • Glass quart or gallon jars
  • Apple cider vinegar (raw if possible)
  • Dried herbs
  • Tight fitting lid