Root Tinctures: Powerful Earth Medicine

The Outdoor Apothecary is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more


In the late fall when I have finished gathering the last of my herbs, I know it won’t be long before I can start digging up roots for root tinctures. The best time to do this is after a few hard frosts. This is when the plants send their energy below the ground to their roots, which makes them more potent than at any other time.

You can make root tinctures even into the winter season as long as you can still properly identify the plant you are harvesting, and until the ground is too frozen for your shovel.

What is a Tincture?

Tinctures are concentrated herbal extracts that use alcohol rather than water, vinegar, or glycerin as the solvent. Tinctures may be taken straight from the bottle or diluted in tea or water. In short, they’re another way to extract the active components from an herb. 

Make Your Own Medicinal Root Tinctures

  1. When harvesting roots, you don’t want to try to pull up the plant roots by force, rather dig around them, scooping out the soil a little bit at a time until you can gently ease each root out.
  2. Wash the dug roots to remove dirt.
  3. Chop the roots into 1/4 inch pieces with a sharp knife.
  4. Place your cut roots in a clean jar. You don’t need to fill up the whole jar. 
  5. Cover the roots with 100-proof vodka, and cap.
  6. Label the jar with the type of tincture, the tincture menstruum (eg. vodka 100 proof), and the date the tincture was made. 
  7. Check the liquid level the next day and top off as needed.  The roots should always be submerged in the alcohol. 
  8. Leave the tincture on your counter to gain potency for four to six weeks. 
  9. Strain out the plant material.
  10. Bottle in amber tincture bottles and label.

Four weeks will make a good, strong tincture, but I like six weeks for maximum potency.  Root tinctures should be good for a very long time. The roots are not very watery, so the alcohol in 80-proof liquors should preserve your tincture indefinitely.

Three Roots for Beginners

  1. Burdock Root Tincture – Many use burdock to support bodily functions, promote wellness, and assist in maintaining overall health. It is also valued for its potential benefits for the skin and joint health.
  2. Dandelion Root TinctureDandelion root is often recognized for its cleansing properties, particularly for the liver and gallbladder. It may aid in the removal of waste and support the body’s natural detoxification processes.
  3. Yellow Dock Root TinctureYellow dock tincture is commonly utilized to support digestive health, particularly the liver and gallbladder, and may offer relief from occasional constipation.
nature in the winter

Drawing Inward

One of the reasons I enjoy Winter so much is because we become much like these roots; we draw inward and restore ourselves while enjoying this time of quiet.

During this time of year, as the cycles of nature move away from the creation and production of life, we sense a pull toward times of quiet reflection, rest, and self-care. We replenish our energetic reserves as the plants do in their roots, below the surface. 

As the cycles of the natural world shift, we feel the pull to connect with the mysterious energies that underlie existence and to restore our connection to the earth…this is a truly magical time.

Also during this time of year, I engage in practicing more self-care in preparation for the busy days that await around the corner. It won’t be long before the cycle of the seasons begins again, and with it, we too will awaken and begin to stir.

In the morning, I go to the woods to breathe in the cold winter air and feel its magic surround me. It’s a quiet time when I savor the moments alone before any of the pressures of the day can be felt.

In the evening I practice gratitude, often writing down that for which I am thankful. I remind myself again that it’s okay to slow down.  My body and mind need it, and for once I listen. 

Disclaimer- I am not a medical professional. All information shared here is for information and entertainment only. Do your own research and consult your health care provider before treating yourself with any product, plant or mixture. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top