Frequently Asked Questions

Why herbal extracts?

Herbal extracts are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, often giving faster results than capsules or herbal teas. Carefully made herbal extracts give you the benefits of the herbs in a convenient and easy to take form.

Why is alcohol an ingredient?

Alcohol is the best, relatively nontoxic, substance for extracting and concentrating the constituents in most herbs. Alcohol is not harmful in small amounts. Most tinctures contain less than 50% alcohol. Glycerites especially those without any alcohol are relatively weak and much more extract must be used to get the same amount of herb power. By using 10% alcohol in the low alcohol Glycohol extracts, potency is greatly increased. Glycohols can be a good choice for children, with only 10% alcohol they are considered within the legal limit for products labeled for children. Alcohol also helps to preserve the extract and prevent the breakdown and loss of herbal properties and the growth of bacteria.

How much alcohol am I getting?

The amount of alcohol in our extracts ranges from 10% (Glycohols) to 80%, with most tinctures containing 30-50% alcohol. The amount you get in one dose is very small. If you take 2 droppers of Echinacea tincture with a 50% alcohol concentration you are getting about 1 ml of alcohol. This is about 1/40th of the amount of alcohol in an 8 oz. glass of wine.

If the tincture has a lot of alcohol does that mean it doesn’t have much herb?

We use different concentrations of alcohol for different herbs as some beneficial properties are best extracted at high alcohol concentrations and others at very low concentrations. For example to fully extract calendula’s resins we need at least 70% alcohol. A calendula extract made with a lower amount of alcohol will have less of the beneficial resins and be of a lower quality. Concentration of the herbal tincture is dependent on the ratio of herb to menstruum (the liquid used to extract). The percentage of alcohol is in relation to the liquid ie. a tincture containing 50% alcohol was made with a menstruum of 50% water and 50% alcohol. It does not mean 50% alcohol and 50% herb. A tincture containing 30% alcohol also contains 70% other liquid ingredients.

What are Glycohols?

Our Glycohols (Glycerin + Alcohol = Glycohol) are made by extracting herbs with a combination of vegetable glycerin, distilled water and 10% or less grain alcohol. The small amount of alcohol increases the potency of the preparation as alcohol extracts most herbal properties better than glycerin. Adding a little alcohol also helps to preserve the extract by preventing the breakdown and loss of herbal properties and growth of bacteria, creating a more stable product than alcohol-free glycerites.

Why do so many of the tincture formulas contain glycerin?

A few herbs, contain high amounts of tannins and other compounds that tend to bind with other compounds in the extract and cause them to precipitate or fall out of solution. If compounds fall out of solution the tincture may have less of the good properties of the herb. Adding a small amount of glycerin, in place of water, helps to prevent this from happening. Most formulas contain one or more herb tinctures, which have a small amount of glycerin. For example Sugar Balance contains Cinnamon tincture, which is approximately 10% glycerin. Sugar Balance has less than ½ percent glycerin.

Why are some herbs fresh and others dry? Isn’t fresh always best?

Some herbs, the goodness is in the fresh herb, and when dried lose a lot of their beneficial qualities. Natural Hope Herbals tinctures these herbs fresh ie. California poppy, Valerian root, Skullcap herb, Milky Oat seed, Dandelion root etc. Other herbs there is little difference between the benefits of fresh or dried. And still others extract best if they are first dried. Dried herbs can typically be extracted at higher concentration, so for the herbs where it doesn’t matter if it’s fresh or dried – dried herb will usually make the stronger, more potent tincture.

How do I take a tincture?

Herbal tinctures are best taken diluted in a small amount of water, tea or juice. Simply squirt the tincture into a small amount of liquid in a cup or put a small amount of water in your mouth and squirt the tincture into it. Most tinctures contain between 30-50% alcohol; undiluted alcohol is strong tasting and can be irritating to the sensitive tissues in the mouth.

How often should I take an herbal tincture?

Most herbal extracts are cleared from the body within 4 hours, so it is best to take tinctures 2-4 times a day rather than a large dose once a day. In acute situations, tinctures can be taken every hour or two, for a short period of time.

How much can I take?

Follow the directions on the bottle unless you have information from a good source that tells you otherwise. Dosages given are intended to be well within safe ranges for adults. Dosage recommendations are for 150 lb. adults (except Tasty formulas). Smaller or larger individuals may decrease or increase dose as appropriate. The maximum safe amount varies considerably between herbs. Most times larger quantities can be used for short periods of time. With a few exceptions, total of all tinctures taken should not exceed more than 1 tablespoon per day when taken on a daily basis.

How much is a full dropper?

The amount of tincture pulled into the glass tube with one firm squeeze of the bulb at the top is a full dropper. Never tip the dropper up and let the tincture run back into the rubber bulb. If you count the drops they will number between 30-40 drops. Six droppers will fill a teaspoon.

How much can I give my child?

Many parents dilute adult strength formulas to give to their children. Be aware that some herbs in adult strength formulas may not be safe or appropriate for children. Tinctures containing more than 10% alcohol should always be diluted in a small amount of water or juice before giving to children.

Clark’s rule can be used to convert the adult dosage to a child’s dose. Adult dosage guidelines are for a 150 lb. adult. Divide the child’s weight by 150 to get the percentage of adult dose to use. Example: A 30 lb child would get 20% or 1/5 of an adult dose (30÷150=0.20). If the dose is 2 droppers (36 drops in a dropper) the child’s dose would be 14 drops (72 x 0.2 or 72 divided by 5).

Simple Guide for Converting Adult Dose for Little People
Child’s Weight Multiply adult dose by
25 lb 1/6 or 0.16
30 lb 1/5 or 0.20
38 lb 1/4 or 0.25
50 lb 1/3 or 0.33
60 lb 2/5 or 0.40
75 lb 1/2 or 0.50
100 lb 2/3 or 0.66

Can Adults use the Tasty Formulas?

Adults who prefer mild and great tasting formulas can certainly use the formulas intended for children. Dosages on the Tasty products are children’s doses and adults can adjust the dose accordingly.

Is it okay to use herbs when pregnant or nursing?

Pregnancy. Very few herbs have been proven completely safe for babies in the womb. We do know herbs have powerful actions and may cross through the placenta to the baby, affect hormonal balance or stimulate early labor. It is best to not take many herbs during pregnancy, other than food herbs to support a healthy pregnancy, such as Nettle and Raspberry, unless they are absolutely needed and their use helps to avoid the use of more aggressive treatment. It is always wise to talk to your midwife, Doctor or other health care provider if you want to use herbs while pregnant.

Nursing. Any herbs a nursing mother takes may pass through her breast-milk to the baby. Babies are much more sensitive to herbs than adults. Avoid the use of cleansing or anti-parasite herbs while nursing. Infants metabolize herbs differently than adults, with herbs often having a stronger action or a different action on babies and small children than on adults.

Why is it important to keep extracts out of the reach of children?

Tasty products, and even adult tinctures, recommended doses contain very little alcohol but small children tend to take more than recommended doses if they get a hold of a bottle. Children do not process alcohol as well as adults and adverse reactions can occur at much smaller amounts. Even with low alcohol tinctures 4 oz. contains too much alcohol for a 2 year old to consume at one time.

Are your products Gluten free?

Grain Alcohol and Celiac Disease. Natural Hope Herbals uses organic alcohol made from corn. Corn does not contain gluten or gliadin but a protein called zein. There is no protein left in pure Grain alcohol.

Milky Oat Seed and Celiac Disease - Oats do contain gluten and tinctures and glycerin extracts made with fresh milky oat probably contain very small amounts of oat gluten. Studies show that most people with celiac disease can eat Oats without any mucosal damage (gut inflammation) or immune activation (not bothered by oat gluten). Natural Hope Herbals grows its own Milky Oat seed or purchases fresh Milky Oat seed from reputable herb farms reducing danger of cross contamination with wheat. Products with Milky Oat are unlikely to cause any problems for people with Celiac disease or other gluten intolerance.

Can herbs cause allergic Reactions?

Pollen allergies - People with severe Ragweed allergies may react to Chamomile, Calendula, Echinacea, Feverfew, Blessed Thistle, Elecampane, Spilanthes or Yarrow as these herbs are related to Ragweed. An allergic reaction to these herbs is less likely with a tincture than a capsule or tea.