How to Make Echinacea Tincture: Get the Best Results with These Tips

As a staple herbal remedy, it’s great to know how to make echinacea tincture. These 5 tips will help you make a better, more potent extract.

I was so excited about my first homemade echinacea tincture. I poured alcohol over dried herbs in a jar, shook it daily (just kidding, I shook it when I remembered to), and strained it a month or so later.

That freshly made bottle of medicine felt so officially herby and worth celebrating.

I’ve learned a few things since my first batch of echinacea tincture a decade ago, though. I didn’t make a bad extract, but that homemade echinacea tincture wasn’t as potent and useful as it could have been.

Now I know how to make echinacea tincture that packs a punch. So if you’d like to stock your natural medicine cabinet with a homemade echinacea tincture that really works, try these 5 tips.

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Echinacea: Friend to Your Immune & Lymph Systems

Echinacea is one of the best-known medicinal herbs. In fact, it’s the plant that introduced me to the world of herbal remedies when I was in high school!

But the truth is, most people don’t know how to use echinacea.

I certainly didn’t at first. I took powdered echinacea capsules from a big box chain store, likely at the wrong times, and certainly at doses far too low to make much of a difference in my health.

Echinacea flower close up
Echinacea gives your immune and lymph systems a boost when you need it

Echinacea is a fantastic herb for your lymph and immune systems.

  • It helps your body create antibodies to pathogens.
  • It supports the clean-up crew in your bloodstream.
  • Echinacea stimulates your lymphatic system so the fluid keeps moving and clearing out waste.
  • It can even support a healthy microbial balance in your gut!

But it won’t do you much good if you take those generic powdered herb capsules like I did.

When you’re starting to come down with something, feel a cranky lymph node, or need to give your immune system a boost, an echinacea tincture gives you potent herbal medicine.

And while you can buy some great extracts, there’s nothing like creating your own homemade echinacea tincture.

Your Basic Folk Tincture Method

There are different ways to make an echinacea tincture, with the easiest being the folk method. You don’t need any fancy equipment and can do this if you’re completely new to herbal remedies.

You start by filling a clean glass jar with your herbs.

  • If you’re using fresh, soft plant material like echinacea leaves and flowers, you can fill the jar all the way.
  • If your soft plant material is dry, you can fill it up around 2/3 of the way.
  • If you’re using fresh, hard pieces like echinacea roots and seeds, you can fill it up around 1/2 of the way.
  • If your hard plant material is dry, you can fill your jar around 1/3 of the way.

Then you pour alcohol over top. Vodka is a good choice because it has a neutral flavor and is easy to find. Most people use 80-100 proof vodka for their folk tinctures.

 Next, you cap the jar, put it in a cupboard, and shake it daily. Or whenever you remember to because you have a life.

Making echinacea tincture with the folk method is easy and great for beginners

After 2-4 weeks (or 2-4 months, because, again, life), you strain out the tincture from the herbs through a sieve lined with a coffee filter or lint-free cotton cloth. Bonus points for squeezing out the final tincture drops remaining in the plant material.

Once you pour the tincture into a bottle and label it, you can celebrate your herbal accomplishment. You’ve created a very good homemade echinacea tincture!

Why the Folk Method Might Disappoint

I love teaching people how easy it is to make folk tinctures because it takes the mystery out of these liquid herbal medicines.

But I also know that the folk method has some downsides that can leave you with a ho-hum tincture.

  • Since you eyeball your measurements, you can end up with inconsistent results from batch to batch.
  • Folk method tinctures tend to be on the weaker side. Still medicinal and valuable, but not as potent as they could be.
  • If you use fresh plant material but 80-100 proof vodka, your finished tincture might not have enough alcohol in it to be shelf-stable. That means it could mold.
  • Conventional vodka is often made with GMO grains. And if you’re making your own tinctures, you probably don’t want GMO ingredients in them.

So even though I teach people how to make tinctures with the folk method, I personally use a different method when I’m making echinacea tincture.

Pile of fresh echinacea flowers and leaves for making herbal remedies

How to Make an Echinacea Tincture Even Better

Now, you can still make a useful echinacea tincture at home with the folk method using any medicinal echinacea species (E. purpurea, E. angustifolia, E. pallida). But if you want to take your tincture skills up a notch, you can tweak the process a little.

With these five tips, you’ll learn how to make your echinacea tincture even better.

Take a Trip Back to Math Class

Remember how the folk method gives you inconsistent results since you just eyeball your herb amounts? You’ll immediately improve your echinacea tincture recipe by using more precise measurements.

All you need are a digital kitchen scale, some graduated cylinders (I have and love this set), and a gentle trip back to elementary math class. I promise, it won’t be hard!

The best way to measure out tincture ingredients is by ratios. The first part of your ratio is the herb weight in grams; the second part is the solvent measurement in milliliters (ml).

  • If you’re using dry echinacea plant material, you’ll use a 1:5 ratio. That means for every gram of plant material, you’ll use 5 ml of your alcohol solvent.
  • If you’re using fresh echinacea in your tincture, you’ll use a 1:2 ratio. So for every gram of fresh plant materials, you’ll use 2 ml of alcohol.
Weighing echinacea flower and leaves for tincture
A digital kitchen scale helps you make more consistent and potent echinacea tinctures

Why do you use less plant material in a tincture with dry herbs? Well, plant material contains a lot of water. When you dehydrate it, the dry herbal material takes up less space and weighs less since all of the water is gone.

So let’s put this into practice. Say you have a jar full of dry echinacea herb and roots. You weigh it on your kitchen scale and it’s 50 grams of plant material. At a 1:5 ratio, you’ll need 250 ml (because 50 x 5 = 250) of alcohol solvent.

But if you have fresh echinacea that weighs in at 50 grams, you’d only need 100 ml of alcohol since the fresh tincture ratio is 1:2 (50 x 2 = 100).

And now you can tell the children you know that, yes, you really do use math in real life.

Have a Fresh Experience

Now, I just told you how to tincture both fresh and dry echinacea using ratios to get consistent results. That will help you make better tinctures with any herb.

But for your echinacea tincture recipe, I always opt for fresh plant material. Here’s why.

  • As I mentioned in this article about echinacea, the dry herb doesn’t keep its potency as long as other herbs do. Fresh echinacea will make your tongue tingle, but dry echinacea loses some of this activity.
  • Some research suggests that fresh echinacea juice offers superior anti-viral properties compared to a standard tincture. When you use fresh echinacea in your tincture, the finished extract will contain preserved plant juice in it. This gives you the best of both tincture and juice worlds!

Because I wasn’t growing it yet, I made my first echinacea tinctures with dry herb material. And they were very good! But using fresh echinacea gives me much better results. One drop of the tincture and I get that tingling, buzzing feeling on my tongue. That tells me it’s working.

If you need to use dry echinacea for your tinctures, I recommend getting it from Mountain Rose Herbs or Starwest Botanicals.

Hit the Herbal Grind

Let’s say you have the freshest echinacea and you carefully weigh it for tincturing. Then you stuff the herbal material into a jar and cover it with your carefully measured alcohol.

You’ll still end up with a mediocre tincture. Why?

Your herb pieces are too big, so the alcohol solvent can’t contact enough of the plant’s surface to fully extract the constituents.

But if you coarsely grind your echinacea before letting it macerate (that’s herb-speak for letting the plant material infuse into the solvent), you’ll get a much stronger extract.

When I use fresh echinacea, I simply place the plant parts and alcohol solvent in a blender. I snip up the large flower heads or very big root pieces to give the blender a headstart. Then I turn it on, let everything get mashed together for around 30 seconds, and transfer the slurry to a glass jar.

Alcohol with echinacea leaf and flower in blender
Grinding fresh echinacea with alcohol in a blender helps you make a stronger tincture

If you have to use dry echinacea, you coarsely grind it in a clean coffee grinder, like I do for making herbal oils. Then you can transfer the ground-up herb to a jar and pour in the alcohol solvent.

Choose a Superior Solvent

I used to make tinctures with whatever cheap vodka I could find at the store.

But remember what I said earlier about setbacks with the folk tincture method? That cheap vodka didn’t have a high enough proof for a fresh herb tincture. It was also made with GMO grains.

So I eventually decided that if I was going to source and grow the best herbs I could for our natural remedies, I should also use a better alcohol for medicine-making.

Ideally, your best alcohol option for making a fresh echinacea tincture is

  • Certified organic, or at least made without GMO grains.
  • The highest proof possible to keep your final tincture shelf-stable.
Homemade echinacea tincture supplies and ingredients
Culinary Solvent’s 200-proof organic ethanol makes homemade herbal tinctures easier

A few years ago I started using Culinary Solvent’s 200-proof organic, food-grade ethanol for my tinctures. It’s made the process much easier for me. (Try it for 10% off with the code THRIVE.)

Aside from not having to go to hard liquor stores anymore, I can easily dilute the 100% alcohol to whatever proof I need for a tincture.

But when you’re making a fresh echinacea tincture, you don’t need to dilute anything. You simply make your 1:2 ratio tincture with the 200-proof ethanol and know you’ll end up with a shelf-stable, potent extract.

And if you have to use dry plant material for your echinacea tincture, you can dilute Culinary Solvent’s ethanol with equal parts water. So for 20 grams of dry echinacea, you’ll need 100 ml of alcohol solvent. By using 50 ml water and 50 ml Culinary Solvent, you end up with 100 ml of 100 proof (or 50%) alcohol. You can follow a similar process for other high-proof alcohols like 190-proof Everclear.

Combine All Parts

All parts of echinacea are medicinal, except the stems. So if you want to make the best echinacea tincture, you’ll need to combine all of the medicinal parts of the plant to get the most medicinal qualities.

That sounds simple, and it is. But there’s one little trick you need to know before you start.

You’ll have to start two batches of tincture at different times of the year, then combine them later.

  • In the summer, echinacea’s flowers, seedheads, and leaves are lush, vibrant, and primed for medicine-making. That’s the time to harvest and tincture those plant parts.
  • In the fall, as the plant dies back, it’s time to harvest and tincture the roots. You can also harvest the roots in the spring just as the plant sends up leaves, but I prefer getting them in the fall right before cold and flu season sets in.

So in the summer, I make a 1:2 fresh echinacea tincture with the leaves, petals, and seedheads, following the steps I’ve shared above. Then, in the fall, I make a second batch of 1:2 tincture with the freshly dug roots. I am to have around equal parts of both tincture to combine later.

Pro tip: Fresh echinacea roots can be a bit of a pain to clean. I like to swirl them in large bowls or buckets of water until the water runs clean. Then I chop the roots and wash them again in a colander, cleaning off any stuck mud. At that point, they’re ready to hit the herbal grind in the blender with alcohol.

Echinacea roots being cleaned
At first, the water is really muddy when you swirl echinacea roots to clean them
Clean echinacea roots
After a few swirls in fresh water, the roots are clean and ready for a final rinse

Final Steps When Making an Echinacea Tincture

At this point, you’ve got jars of macerating echinacea tincture and need to know what’s next. (Remember, macerating simply means infusing herbal material into a solvent for tincturing.)

Shake & Strain

These last steps are the same as the basic folk method of tincturing.

  1. Put a lid on your jar and label it with the plant, plant parts, fresh or dry designation, tincture ratio, alcohol dilution, and the date you started it. So for a leaf and flower tincture, I might write “Echinacea purpurea leaf and flower; fresh; 1:2 (100A… meaning 100% alcohol); 7/15/2023 start.”
  2. Place it away from heat and direct sunlight, but not so far out of the way you forget about it. Shake it daily-ish, with an emphasis on the -ish. Sometimes I only shake my tinctures every couple of weeks and no one has arrested me yet.
  3. If you shake it daily, you can strain your tincture in as little as 2-4 weeks. Since I’m very -ish with my tincture shaking, I let mine macerate for closer to 3 months.

The simplest way to strain an echinacea tincture is to line a metal mesh sieve with a lint-free cotton cloth, or some layered cheese cloth. Allow the tincture to pass through, then wrap the cloth around the remaining herbal material (now called the marc) and squeeze it like it owes you money.

Once you’ve gotten out as much tincture as possible, pour the finished tincture into a glass jar and toss the marc (your leftover echinacea) into the compost pile.

How to Make Echinacea Tincture_ Get the Best Results with These Tips
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Label, Blend, & Label Again

Finally, you need to label your tinctures. I often use the same label I stuck on the original maceration jar and simply add the date I strained it. Then I have all the information I need right where I need it.

Once I have a finished leaf, flower, and seedhead tincture, plus a finished root tincture, it’s time to combine them into one larger jar or bottle.

When I combine the tinctures, I still reuse the jar labels. But I also add information about how much tincture of each is in the final blend.

I aim to combine an equal amount of each, but if that doesn’t happen, this final bit of information helps me know exactly what’s in my blend.

Store your finished echinacea tincture in a cool dark place. It should last for several years when stored correctly and dosed without introducing any microbes to the tincture.

Echinacea tincture and flowers
Homemade echinacea tincture is a satisfying project

How to Use an Echinacea Tincture

After you’ve made your incredible homemade echinacea tincture, you need to know how to use it.

It’s best to take echinacea as soon as you notice symptoms of an illness, like tightness in your chest or swelling in your lymph nodes.

Some people take echinacea as a daily preventative remedy, but it doesn’t work well that way. If you want to take something that boosts your immune system before you come down with something, try elderberry syrup.

Since echinacea is typically very safe for most people, dosing is quite flexible. Here are some general dosing guidelines for echinacea tincture.

  • For adults, during an acute sickness, you can take 1 teaspoon of tincture every 2 hours until your symptoms start to improve. As you start to feel better, you can reduce your frequency and take 1 teaspoon twice a day until your symptoms have completely resolved.
  • For children ages 2-12, I like to dose echinacea by their weight compared to a 150-pound adult. So if a child weighs 50 pounds, I’ll give them 1/3 of the adult dose (since 50 is 1/3 of 150, or 50/150 = 1/3. Math again, I know). That would be 1/3 teaspoon at a time.

Echinacea tincture is safe for pregnant and nursing women to take during an infection. But if you are allergic to plants in the daisy family (Asteraceae), have an autoimmune condition, or take immunosuppressive medications, you may need to avoid echinacea.

Most of the time, you won’t need to take echinacea for longer than 2 weeks. If you still don’t feel well after that, it might be time to check in with a healthcare professional. Working with an herbalist can also help you know what kind of echinacea dose is best for you.

Keep Building Your Natural Medicine Cabinet

Echinacea tincture is one of my must-have remedies for every home’s natural remedy toolkit. It even earned a spot in my book The Minimalist Natural Medicine Cabinet!

The Minimalist Natural Medicine cabinet in print, PDF, and Kindle
Available in print, Kindle, and PDF

If you want help handling common household health needs with a small collection of safe and versatile remedies, you’ll love this book.

Danielle said:

This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for! Finally, a book on natural remedies that’s practical, simple to understand, and easy to utilize. Thank Goodness for Kristen Smith and the work she put into this! I’m going to be recommending this book to everyone I know who’s looking for confidence – in household remedies that WORK to support the bodies of their loved ones, and in being less dependent on store-bought medicines with questionable ingredients and side effects.

It’s available in paperback, Kindle, and PDF. You can learn more and get your copy here.

Printable How-To Card: Homemade Echinacea Tincture Recipe

To help you put all of this information together, I’ve created this free printable how-to card. It walks you through each step of the echinacea tincture process. If you use these measurements, you’ll end up with around 1 quart of finished, full-spectrum echinacea tincture.

Echinacea tincture and flowers

Full-Spectrum Homemade Echinacea Tincture

Yield: 1 quart finished tincture

Supper your immune and lymphatic systems all year long with this must-have herbal remedy. Making an echinacea tincture isn't difficult when you give yourself time and follow these simple steps.



  1. In the summer, harvest fresh echinacea leaves, flowers, and seedheads. Weigh out 175 grams worth on a kitchen scale and place the plant material in your blender.
  2. Add 300 ml neutral grain alcohol of the highest proof you can find, preferably 190-200 proof, to the blender. I use Culinary Solvent's 200-proof organic, food-grade ethanol for my tinctures. (Use code THRIVE to save 10% on your first order.)
  3. Blend the plant material and alcohol together for around 30 seconds. The herb pieces should be quite small, but not completely liquified.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a quart glass jar and label it with "Echinacea leaf and flower, fresh herb, 1:2 ratio (with alcohol amount here {100A for Culinary Solvent; 95A for 190-proof Everclear}), and start date."
  5. Cap the jar and place it away from heat and direct sunlight. Shake daily, or a few times per week.
  6. After 4 or more weeks, strain your tincture through a sieve lined with lint-free cotton cloth, like cheesecloth. Gather the cloth up around the herbs and squeeze as much tincture out as you can. Pour the tincture into a pint-sized jar or bottle and attach the label from the other jar, adding the date you strained the tincture. Store this finished tincture in a cool, dark cabinet.
  7. In the fall when the plants start to die back, dig up fresh echinacea roots. Carefully clean the roots by swirling them in large bowls of water, changing out the water until it runs clean. Chop the roots and rinse them in a colander to remove any remaining dirt.
  8. Measure out 175 grams of chopped echinacea root and 300 ml alcohol. Add to a blender and follow the previous steps for making the leaf, flower, and seed tincture.
  9. After straining the root tincture, add it to the other tincture in a quart glass jar or 32-ounce bottle. Label with "Combined Echinacea tincture: leaf, flower, root, seeds; 1:2 ratio (with alcohol percentage); year made."
  10. Store the full-spectrum tincture in a cool, dark place. Your tincture should last for several years when stored correctly.


If you don't have access to fresh echinacea, you can use dry plant material from a reputable source (like Mountain Rose Herbs or Starwest Botanicals). Follow these adjustments:

  • Use 1 gram of dried herb with 5 ml alcohol. This is a 1:5 ratio. Start with 80 grams of dried herb for each beginning tincture.
  • Use 100-proof alcohol. If you use Culinary Solvent's ethanol, simply dilute it with an equal part water. Since you'll need 400 ml 100-proof alcohol, that would be 200 ml Culinary Solvent with 100 ml filtered water.

General doses for echinacea tincture:

  • Adults and teens can take 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours as soon as symptoms begin. As symptoms improve, the dose can be reduced to 2-3 times per day.
  • Children ages 2 and up can take a smaller dose according to their body weight compared to a 150 lb adult. Since a 50 lb child is 1/3 the weight of an average adult, the child would take 1/3 teaspoon doses.

Echinacea is generally safe for most people. Use caution if you have an autoimmune condition, are allergic to Asteraceae plants, or take immunosuppressive medications.

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With these 5 tips, you now know how to make an echinacea tincture that packs a potent immune-boosting and lymph-loving kick. It’ll make your tongue tingle to let you know it’s working, too!

All it takes is a little planning, a little measuring and math, and a little tincture-shaking. But no shame if you don’t shake it daily. We all have a life!

Your Turn:

How have you used echinacea as an herbal remedy?

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    1. I love my echinacea tincture. I grew my echinacea angustofolia from seed last year and this year dried all flowers and leaves… and made a beautiful tincture.. my husband and I use it at the first signs of runny nose etc or when others are getting sick in our area. It has really boosted our immune systems. Thanks for sharing your journey… I loved it

      1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article, Julie! And I love that you and your husband enjoy echinacea tincture as much as I do. In fact, I’ve been taking it multiple times a day this week after getting stung by a wasp. It’s incredible how much it’s helping my body process the wasp venom and get it out of my system!

    2. Can you please let me know if I’ve let it sit for way longer than the 2 to 3 weeks, if it’s still okay to use??

    3. I purchased a French coffee press to extract my liquid from the dried herbs. I use it for herbal tinctures only.

    4. I use a coffee filter to filter my tinctures. They don’t soak up as much of my tincture as a cloth does. I use two stainless dog bowls pinched in a c clamp to squeeze out my tincture from the plant material. It gets more out and is not a messy as squeezing it by hand.

      1. Brilliant, Melanie! Thank you for sharing! I always default to a cloth when straining herbs (I do a lot of infused oils and more glycerine extracts), but using a coffee filter makes so much sense when making an alcohol tincture. I’ll definitely try that next time!

        1. The coffee filters work great for glycerites and oils too. I just hate to have so much of my precious liquid lost to the strainer, especially when I am only making 4oz or less.

          1. Definitely! Do you think the coffee filters would work with glycerites if I don’t use the press you made? I can definitely see oil working just fine, too, especially if it’s warm.

        2. Yes and I buy the non bleached filters… I have also used French press . I do use a small press but I find I don’t want to use it on a smaller amount of herb , it just doesn’t do as well

      2. Melanie. I don’t quite understand the 2 ss dog bowls and clamp setup. Could you explain more or pic if allowed on this site. Thank you.

        1. I don’t think there’s a way for Melanie to add a photo in the comments, but if she happens to see this I hope she can describe it better for you, Howard. Best wishes to you!