Kratom Guides

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is one of the most popular natural painkillers available today, but people don’t usually buy it in tincture form. Kratom tinctures are alcohol-based extracts that draw the potent alkaloids and bitter flavor out of the plant. In this article, we’ll explore several ways to make a kratom tincture and why you might want to try this simple way to take kratom. All you need, in addition to the herb itself, is strong alcohol and a container.

How to Make Kratom Tinctures: Preparation, Benefits, Tips & Tricks

What Is a Tincture?

Tinctures are alcohol-based extracts from various plant parts, including leaves, roots, bark, and flowers. A kratom tincture is made specifically with the leaves of the Mitragyna speciosa plant. Tinctures have been used as a form of medicine for centuries and are described in ancient medical texts, such as the Al-Qanuun Fi at-Tibb, which dates back to 1025. In more recent history, during the Middle Ages, alchemists in Europe perfected the art of making tinctures. They referred to strong alcohol as “spirits” due to its ability to extract the plant’s essence or “spirit.”

Modern science tells us that a plant’s “spirit” consists of volatile oils, organic phytochemicals, and alkaloids. These compounds are responsible for the plant’s unique properties. While alcohol may not extract all phytochemicals efficiently (some are better extracted with water), it is versatile and useful for creating herbal extracts from most plants. Notably, all of kratom’s known alkaloids are soluble in ethanol.

Curious About Kratom? Here’s the Scientific Take.

How to Make a Kratom Tincture

Several methods exist for making a kratom tincture, but professional herbalists typically follow a standard procedure. The standard method provides specific ratios to determine the appropriate amount of plant matter and alcohol to use. The process and the type of plant you use will dictate the quantity of alcohol required and affect the potency. For instance, dried plants with low moisture content require lower-proof alcohol, whereas fresh herbs with higher moisture content need higher-proof alcohol to avoid dilution.

In its simplest form, you can create a kratom tincture by covering kratom powder with alcohol, letting it sit for a couple of weeks, and then straining it. Key terms to understand include “marc” (the processed plant matter), “menstruum” (the solvent or liquid, in this case, alcohol), and “maceration” (the process where marc is soaked in menstruum, releasing organic compounds into the tincture).

You Can Add Other Herbs to Your Kratom Tincture Too

Enhance your kratom tincture by incorporating other herbs. You can do this during the tincture-making process or by blending separate herb tinctures into the final product. Mixing herbs can amplify the therapeutic effects of kratom. Here are some herbs you can add to address specific needs:

For Pain & Inflammation:

  • Fireweed: A strong systemic anti-inflammatory.
  • Calendula: Soothes inflammation and reduces pain.
  • Devil’s Club: Ideal when harvested fresh, offers potent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Corydalis: Traditional Chinese medicine remedy for inflammatory pain.
  • CBD & Hemp: Non-psychoactive hemp or CBD extracts, effective natural painkillers.

For Insomnia & Improved Sleep:

  • Valerian Root: Known for sleep support and anxiety relief.
  • Chamomile: Promotes relaxation and soothes the nervous system.
  • For Anxiety & Depression: Anxiolytic herbs like Skullcap, Passionflower, and Milky Oat.

Herbs to Offset Kratom Side Effects:

  • Pine Pollen: A source of testosterone to counteract potential hormonal changes.
  • Ashwagandha: An adaptogen that balances hormones and reduces anxiety.
  • Dandelion Root: Mild laxative that aids digestion.
  • Peppermint: Improves taste and may alleviate digestive side effects.
  • Milk Thistle: Liver and digestive tonic to reduce discomfort.
  • Artichoke Leaf Extract: Stimulates bile production for better digestion.

How to Increase the Potency of Kratom Tinctures

Boosting the potency of your kratom tinctures can be achieved through several methods:

1. Reusing the Menstruum:
Some individuals attempt to intensify their kratom tinctures by reusing the alcohol from the initial tincture. This process creates a concentrated extract with a 2:1 ratio, meaning two parts kratom for every one part alcohol. However, this technique can lead to some alkaloids being reabsorbed into new plant matter, potentially causing wastage.

2. Reducing & Adding More Tincture:
Alternatively, you can create a 1:1 or 1:5 kratom tincture following the standard method. Afterward, you can increase the concentration by evaporating the alcohol. Pour your tincture into a pot, heat it gently for several hours to evaporate half the volume, and then let it cool. This method transforms a 1:5 tincture into a 1:2 tincture without wasting any kratom leaf. Always carry out this process in a well-ventilated area due to the evaporation of alcohol.

What Are the Benefits of Kratom Tinctures?

Making and using kratom tinctures offer several advantages over other forms of kratom consumption:

1. Portability:
Kratom tinctures are easy to carry, making them convenient for on-the-go use. Preparing multiple tinctures and taking them with you can be more manageable than carrying bags of kratom powder.

2. Discreet:
Kratom tinctures are discreet, making it easier to find time and space to take a few drops compared to preparing kratom tea or using other methods.

3. Better Dosage Control:
You can adjust the potency of homemade tinctures to suit your needs. This flexibility allows you to create tinctures stronger than standard ratios, making dosing more convenient.

4. Longer Shelf Life:
Tinctures have a longer shelf life compared to raw kratom powder, which can degrade rapidly when exposed to oxygen and light. Tinctures can remain potent for a year or two if preserved correctly.

5. Fewer Side Effects:
Tinctures may reduce some digestive side effects associated with consuming kratom, improving your overall experience.

6. More Bang For Your Buck:
Using tinctures, particularly sublingually, allows for faster absorption, meaning you can use less kratom to achieve the desired effects.

7. Personalized Blends:
Create your unique blends by incorporating other herbs to enhance kratom’s benefits for your specific needs.

8. Cost Savings:
Making your own tinctures can save you money, especially when purchasing kratom powder during sales or discounts.

Drawbacks of Kratom Tinctures

While kratom tinctures offer many advantages, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

1. Risk of Triggering a Relapse:
Since tinctures are alcohol-based, they might be triggering for individuals with a history of alcoholism. In such cases, consider using vegetable glycerine instead of alcohol as a solvent.

2. Multiple Doses Required:
Kratom tinctures typically require a relatively large quantity for dosing compared to other herbal preparations, which may seem excessive to some users.

3. Longer Preparation Time:
Creating tinctures requires advanced preparation, as they must soak for several weeks before use. This may not be suitable for those looking for immediate results.

Kratom Tincture Dosage

The appropriate kratom tincture dosage depends on its potency. Here are approximate dosages based on different potency levels:

  • 2:1 Tincture: 1 gram equivalent – 0.5 mL, 3 grams – 1.5 mL, 5 grams – 2.5 mL, 8 grams – 4 mL, 12 grams – 6 mL
  • 1:1 Tincture: 1 gram equivalent – 1 mL, 3 grams – 3 mL, 5 grams – 5 mL, 8 grams – 8 mL, 12 grams – 12 mL
  • 1:3 Tincture: 1 gram equivalent – 3 mL, 3 grams – 9 mL, 5 grams – 15 mL, 8 grams – 24 mL, 12 grams – 36 mL
  • 1:5 Tincture: 1 gram equivalent – 5 mL, 3 grams – 15 mL, 5 grams – 25 mL, 8 grams – 40 mL, 12 grams – 60 mL

As you can see, tinctures with higher ratios require larger volumes for dosing. A standard shot glass typically contains about 28 mL. Consequently, for an 8-gram dose with a 1:3 tincture, you’d need approximately one full shot of tincture.

How to Use Kratom Tinctures

Using a kratom tincture is straightforward and more convenient than dealing with raw kratom powder. Fill the bottle’s dropper with the tincture, and then squeeze the liquid into your mouth. You can swallow it immediately or use it sublingually (under the tongue). Sublingual use is preferable as it results in quicker absorption into your bloodstream. Most droppers contain around 1 mL of liquid, and there are approximately 30 drops in 1 mL.

How Long Do Tinctures Take To Kick In?

Kratom tinctures typically take 30 to 60 minutes to produce their effects when taken orally. Using the sublingual method can reduce this time by half. Keep in mind that when you consume kratom orally, whether in tincture or other forms, it must undergo digestion before it can take effect. This process usually takes about 30 minutes, during which some alkaloids may be broken down. Sublingual absorption bypasses this step, allowing more alkaloids to be absorbed directly into your bloodstream.

Kratom Tincture Storage & Shelf Life

Properly stored kratom tinctures with alcohol content of at least 40% can remain potent for a couple of years. While tinctures do not spoil or go bad, they will start to lose potency after three to four years, with the degradation accelerating if not stored correctly. It’s best to store tinctures in a cool, dark place for optimal longevity.

Using Kratom Tinctures to Overcome Addiction

Kratom tinctures can be valuable tools for managing and overcoming kratom addiction. By allowing precise dosage measurement, tinctures help prevent users from unknowingly increasing their daily kratom intake. Many individuals use loose measurements like “a spoonful” or “half a teaspoon,” leading to inconsistent dosing and potential physical dependence.

With a kratom tincture, you can administer accurate and controlled doses, reducing the risk of dependency.

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