The Beauty of Herbs: Herbal Glycerites

Making Herbal Glycerites

Herbal glycerites in bottles

What are Herbal Glycerites Used for?

What is Glycerine?

  • Glycerine is very safe.

  • It is a thick, clear liquid that doesn’t have an aroma.

  • It is sweet-tasting.

  • It is a type of alcohol-sugar.

What are Glycerites used for?

  • Glycerine helps to extract some of the water-soluble chemicals from herbs and if properly made, they do not require any extra preservative and are safe to take internally.

  • They are a good alternative to alcohol tinctures, although they are more similar to syrups, cordials and infused honeys e.g. good to soothe a sore throat or cough. Also very, very sweet!

  • It blends well through vinegar or alcohol tinctures so you could make a very medicinal herbal extract by combining a herbal glycerite and a herbal infused vinegar or alcohol tincture e.g. thyme glycerite and thyme vinegar as an antiseptic cough treatment.

  • Glycerine is popular in personal care products e.g. toothpaste, natural skincare etc because it is a thickener and also helps to retain moisture (it is a ‘humectant’). It helps to thicken emulsions.

  • They often turn beautiful colours, depending on which herb you make them with.

> Due to the water content of herbal glycerites, sanitisation is required (wipe down the area and the equipment that you are using with 70% IPA alcohol to kill any lurking bacteria (NOTE: IPA is IsoPropyl Alcohol, not Indian Pal Ale!)

> If you use brand new bottles and jars that have been sealed or have had the lids on, then there shouldn’t be any need to sanitise these.

Key specialist Ingredients & Equipment required

> Distilled water

> IPA 70% alcohol (for sanitizing)

> Glycerine (food-grade, vegetable-derived and preferably palm-free)

> The herb/s you want to extract.

How to make Glycerites: for internal or topical use

Please watch this intro video first

Making Herbal Glycerites

THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE: Making Cleavers Glycerite with the fresh herb

> Cleavers extracts ALL work better when made with the fresh herb instead of the dried.

Here are my instructions for using FRESH cleavers to make a glycerite. The proportions are slightly different than when using a dried herb to make a herbal glycerite.

>>We will use the fresh glycerite of Cleavers to make an advanced version of a cleavers deodorant that has a shelf-life of many months.

> Pick fresh cleavers on a dry day

(rain will make the plant to wet and cause your extract to go mouldy).

> Bring them into your home cosmetic-making space and place them on a clean, santised and dry surface (a large plate will do nicely).

> Chop the herbs (using a clean, dry, sanitised knife)

> Put them into a glass jar (a clean, santised and dry one of course!)

> From this stage, follow the same process as in the video but note that you do not need to add any distilled water (because the fresh herb already contains water). Simply pour on glycerine.

> See the pdf guide for the proportions of fresh herb to glycerine.

> Technique Reference Guide pdfs

Proportions, measurements & dosages for making and taking herbal glycerites