Is It Better To Used Dried or Fresh Herbs in Tinctures?

The use of herbal preparations for various medicinal benefits has been practiced for centuries. Nowadays, these products are available in many forms, such as tablets, capsules, syrups, tinctures, decoctions, and infusions.

Tinctures are concentrated liquid alcoholic extracts made from plants and used as medicine. They are taken orally to alleviate a broad range of health issues, or as a preventive way to attain your wellbeing. Alcohol in tinctures helps to extracts active phytochemicals from plants and acts as self-preservative.

Tinctures are prepared using both fresh and dried herbs. People always come with the question which one makes better tincture? Looking back at historical uses of tinctures, both are equally important, and preference is based on the individual herb.  

With years of experience in research and development of herbal medicine, I have identified various factors with reasoning. We hope this will help our readers to make their informed decision on which form of herbs to prefer for tincture production.

Dried herbs make stable extracts as drying process removes excess moisture and deactivates enzymes in the plant. Moisture and enzymes are two important factors which impact shelf life of the raw herbs.

Dried herbs make better extracts as controlling alcohol strength in final product is easy than tinctures from fresh herbs. Literature and our own research suggest that tinctures made from fresh herbs are generally weaker in terms of dissolved phytochemicals. The reason for this is due to the presence of water inside the plant cell. This affects the dissolving capacity of alcohol in the extraction medium. If tincture is made using dried herbs, alcohol has better chances of cell wall penetration and efficient extraction. Fresh herb tinctures prepared with significantly low alcohol strength leads to poor extraction of lipophilic Phyto-actives.

Preparation of fluid extracts (1:1 herb to solvent ratio) is difficult for fresh herbs with high water content. This is because, to get desired alcohol strength in product, higher amount of alcohol is required to compensate the inherent moisture in the fresh herbs. In this situation, it is difficult to adhere to fruit extract ratio i.e. 1:1.  However, for the tincture where herb to solvent ratio is lower, compensating the inherent moisture with extra alcohol is still possible.

Dried herbs are better for making infused oils as presence of moisture in the fresh herbs make infusion process inefficient and affects the shelf life of finished product. Even traces of moisture in the infused oils can deteriorate the product stability.

Dried herbs can be stored for the longer time with minimum impact on shelf life. This fact provides the flexibility of transportation, storage and production around the year.

Drying process has some downside too specially for herbs containing essential oil and thermolabile phytochemicals. The essential oil levels in the herbs may get reduced during drying. Thermolabile chemicals is herbs may degrade due to heat applier in drying process. Sun-drying your fresh herbs and using them for production of tincture is the best possible solution to those problems.

Fresh herbs such as ginger, and turmeric are not suitable to produce tincture as these herbs require very high alcohol strength (up to 90% alcohol) to extract goodness from them. Inherent moisture prevents final product to achieve such high alcohol strength and therefore may lead to inferior product quality.

Fresh herb tinctures are suitable in situation such as 1) herbs which grow all around the year: 2) requires relative low alcohol strength to extract actives (around 25% alcohol); 3) herb to solvent ratio of final product is low and 4) has relatively low inherent moisture content.

Written by Dr. Shankar Katekhaye
Director for Quality and Research

World Diabetes Day – 14th November

How can Propolis and Herbs help with Diabetes?

14 November was the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.  This day is known as World Diabetes Day (WDD), it became an official United Nations Day in 2006.

Diabetes is a huge health issue. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 2021 atlas approximately 537 million adults (20-79 years) are living with diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are 2 main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes – is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes – is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not react to insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is much more common than type 1.

The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. People with diabetes type 2 can help manage this through healthy eating, regular exercise and achieving a healthy body weight.

My Interest in Diabetes

A little about my background and interest in diabetes:

When growing up, I witnessed the use of herbs and spices as part of healthy eating or home remedies for many small days to day health issues. This affected me very positively in the way I thought about and approached healthcare, an approach that continued when a few older members of my family were diagnosed with diabetes. As part of my professional education, I have been studying and understanding herbs and other natural products for various chronic illnesses. As part of my doctoral research, I have worked exclusively in exploring many scientific dimensions of the herb Gudmar (sweet killer, G. Sylvester) for diabetes. I have also studied many antidiabetic herbs and natural products.

Gymnema sylvestre

Nature’s Laboratory Team & Our Herbal and Propolis Products

As part of a team at Nature’s Laboratory working on developing natural products for better healthcare, I believe it is crucial to discuss how herbs and propolis can help support health.

Preventing and controlling diabetes needs a disciplined and consistent effort. Diet plays an important role in the prevention and control of diabetes. Some spices, herbs and natural products have consistently been proved as major key players in lowering blood sugar levels and improve blood glucose metabolism.

We at Nature’s laboratory consistently strive to develop and manufacture high quality herbs/ herbal products, products from the beehive and other natural products, many of which have been shown to help in the regulation of glucose and insulin in addition to helping with secondary complications associated with diabetes. Let’s have a look at some of our herbs:


Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn. family Fabaceae, is a unique medicinal plant used for several centuries for its broad-spectrum efficacy. The various parts of this plant are used as an herb, food, spice, and in traditional medicine. Fenugreek has been proved as an efficient antidiabetic and several longer-term clinical trials have shown reductions in fasting and post-prandial glucose levels and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). [International Journal of Functional Nutrition 1.1 (2020): 2.]


Cinnamomum zeylanicum is amongst the world’s oldest and most frequently consumed spices and is used as an herbal remedy. Cinnamon has been proved to be responsible for increasing metabolism of glucose by improving intestinal absorption of glucose and increasing peripheral uptake of glucose. [Advances in Applied Science Research, 2011, 2 (4):440-450]


The Indian Ayurveda describes several herbs for the management and treatment of diabetes mellitus among which Gymnema sylvestre (Asclepiadaceae) is recognised as a potential antidiabetic herbal drug which has the capability of simultaneously regenerating β-cell and stimulating insulin secretion. [Chem Biol Interact. 2016 Feb 5; 245:30-8].


Asparagus racemosus extract has been reported as exerting stimulatory action on insulin secretion, mediated through physiological pathways. [Molecules,2022 27(13), 1-58.]

Apart from the above mentioned, we, at Nature’s Laboratory work with the following herbs which have been shown to have a supportive role in relation to diabetes:

Tinospora Cordifolia, Withania somnifera, Aloe barbadensis miller, Ocimum sanctum, Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale, Berberis vulgaris, Azadirachta indica, and Glycyrrhiza glabra. [Molecules,2022 27(13), 1-58.]

Apart from herbs and herbal products Nature’s Laboratory has extensive experience of research and developing products with propolis. Propolis is a resinous material collected by the Apis mellifera bee from leaf buds and cracks in the bark of various plants. Propolis contains a variety of chemical compounds, including polyphenols, flavonoids, amino acids, vitamins. Propolis from various parts of the world has been explored for its antidiabetic potential and it showed activity by reducing blood sugar levels [Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1554-61], acting as an antioxidant which ultimately improved the defence mechanism in diabetes and has also been found to be a protector of beta cells of the pancreas (which is involved in production of insulin in the body). [J Family Community Med. 2011 Sep-Dec; 18(3): 152–154.]

Consult your health care practitioner for advice on how herbs and propolis can be used to support your health, alongside a healthier lifestyle such as a balanced diet, weight control and exercise.

Written by Bhagyashree Kamble PhD.

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