Tincture Handbook: Part 8 - Liquid Extract Ratios (Standard and Non-Standard)

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: September 8, 2022 23:51

Adding Herbs to Liquid 

Liquid Extract Ratios

A liquid extraction ratio is a numerical representation, which may include unit measures, that denotes the potency of a liquid extract by comparing amount of herbs to liquid used, the herb to menstruum, and is necessary for referencing serving size and dosage.

There are two methods to determine the ratio of a liquid extract.

  • Standard
  • Non-standard

Standard Extraction Ratio Method

The standard extraction ratio method of determining the potency of an extraction tincture that is homemade or manufactured uses either the traditional English unit measure of same ounce units weight to volume or metric unit measure of grams to milliliters.
Standard extraction ratio unit measuring methods for tincturing:
  • English Unit MeasureThe English measurement system is used in the United States and includes ounces, quarts, gallons, pounds, inches, yards, etc...
  • Metric Unit MeasureMetric unit measure is the decimal measurement system adopted by most countries of the world and includes grams, liters, and meters.

English Units Extraction Ratio Standard

The English unit measure for tincturing has been used for hundreds of years by matching units of 'herb weight' extracted into matching 'liquid volume', i.e. ounce(s) herb weight extracted into ounce(s) liquid volume.

For example: 8 ounces of an herb is extracted into 1 quart (32 ounces) of water and alcohol to make a 1:4 tincture which is read as "1 ounce of herb into 4 ounces of liquid".

Metric Units Extraction Ratio Standard
Metric unit measure for tincturing uses relative relation of the size of herbs to the space of liquid by using the weight of herbs in grams that are able to be extracted into a relative volume of milliliters.
For example: 250 grams of an herb is extracted into 1000 milliliters of water and alcohol to make a 1:4 tincture which is read as "1 gram of herb into 4 milliliters of liquid".

Standard Extraction Ratios Based on Herbs and Plant Parts

Different types of herbs and/or any specific type of plant parts are best suited for certain types of extraction ratios.

Rule of ThumbA rule of thumb is a general practice based on necessary experience and use to successfully accomplish something.
"In practice and regardless of the tincture recipe, the weight of the herbs is always exceeded by the volume of the liquid, so that the macerating herbs are always covered by the menstruum."

Standard Tincture Ratios

A tincture ratio determines the recipe for tincturing an herb and the potency of the final liquid extract. Different plant parts are extracted at different ratios depending on the density of the herb and type of extraction best suited for the herb.

Tincture Ratio for Herb Density

The more dense an herb is the lower the tincture ratio; from least dense (1) to most dense (7):

  1. Flowers/Tops
  2. Leaves
  3. Fungi
  4. Berries
  5. Seeds
  6. Bark
  7. Roots

Tincture Ratio for Tincture Type

The more steps and stages to extraction the lower the tincture ratio; from single-step (1) to multi-step (3):

  1. Single-step
  2. Dual-step
  3. Multi-step
  • Flowers and small leaves
    • 1:10
    • Single
      • 3oz. herb per 1 qt.
      • 100g per 1000ml
  • Tops and medium leaves
    • 1:8
    • Single
      • 4oz. herb per 1 qt.
      • 125g per 1000ml
  • Stems and larger leaves
    • 1:6
    • Single
      • 5.5oz. herb per 1 qt.
      • 167g per 1000ml
  • Berries and seeds
    • 1:5 (and 1:4)
    • Single
      • 6.5 oz. herb per 1 qt.
      • 200g per 1000ml
  • Roots and barks
    • 1:4 (and 1:3 and 1:2)
    • Single, Dual, Multi-step
      • 8 oz. herb per 1 qt.
      • 250g per 1000ml
  • Superfoods
    • 1:2
    • Dual, Multi-step
      • 16 oz. weight per 1 qt.
      • 500g per 1000ml
  • Tonics, adaptogens, and fluid extracts
    • 1:1
    • A single-step 1:1 ratio is known as a fluid extract (requires a tincture press)
    • Dual, Multi-step
      • 32 oz. weight per 1 qt.
      • 1000g per 1000ml
  • Tonics and adaptogens
    • 2:1
    • Multi-step
      • 64 oz. weight per 1 qt.
      • 2000g per 1000ml

oz. = ounce; qt. = quart
g = gram; ml = milliliters

Non-standard Extraction Ratio Method

Non-standard extraction ratios are used for batches sizes or an increment thereof, or comparing the herb used to the final volume of the liquid extract and not the initial menstruum, or for marketing dissolved tinctures with a ratio that is not comparable to an extraction tincture ratio.

  • Multi-step Units Ratio
  • Herb to Final Volume Ratio
  • Solvent Reduction Tincture Ratio

Multi-step Units Ratio

A manufacture may use a non-matching unit ratio to make their multi-step micro-batches of "1 pound into 1 quart". This converts to a liquid extract ratio of 16 ounces weight extracted into 32 liquid ounces which is read "1 ounce of herb into 2 ounces menstruum". NOT to be confused with standard herb to menstruum extraction ratios.

Herb to Final Volume Ratio

A manufacture may use a non-standard final volume ratio to represent after an extraction of the liquid extract has been completed. Two examples are: "herb equivalency", such as 500mg per 1ml, or "extraction rate", such as 167mg per 1 dropper, which are different than the standard starting ratio of herb weight to initial menstruum, since this non-standard method is herb weight to final volume of the liquid extract.

Solvent Reduction Tincture Ratio

A manufacturer may use a solvent reduction ratio to show the concentration process of their tincture, but without an herb weight, this is entirely meaningless and unnecessary for an extract ratio. For example: 20:1 solvent reduction reads a "20 ounces solvent reduced to final volume of 1 ounce." This is actually a step that may be used in multi-step methods of extraction, yet, in this example a 20:1 reduction is excessively large.

Tincture Handbook

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