Fresh vs. dried herb tincture strength.
So yesterday I talked to somebody (waves) who makes rather more tinctures than I do.
He asked, which do I think is better, fresh or dry? I said that there's no difference -- provided you use the correct herb:alcohol ratios and alcohol % for either. Correct being about 1:5 60 % for dried herb, and 1:2 95 % for fresh. Which is what he used, too, except for those herbs which you just can't cover with that :5 (or :2) of alcohol, like mullein flowers, or milky oats.
Then he said, yes, but you can get so much more herb into a 1:5 dried herb tincture than you can get into a 1:2 fresh herb tincture.
Hmmm, said I. How much fresh herb do you need to get how much dried herb? He said, 7 kg fresh for 1 kg dried, on average.
This got me counting:
You use 1 kg dried herb to 5 l 60 % alcohol (= 1:5 60 %):
that's equivalent to 7 kg fresh herb to that 5 l menstruum.
And you use 1 kg fresh herb to 2 l 95 % alcohol (= 1:2 95 %):
that's about 2.5 kg fresh herb to 5 l menstruum.
There's a distinct dichotomy there, seeing that I've been using fresh herb tinctures at the same dosages as dry herb tinctures. Dried herb tinctures should be much stronger: they use up more herb. I've found they aren't. Or at least, if they are, that's not noticable to mere mortals like me.
Why would that be? I know of two factors which might influence things in favor of fresh herb tinctures:
1) Alcohol pulls water + constituents out of your fresh herb by osmosis, leaving less than actives (cellulose, for instance) behind.
2) Fresh herb retains more vitality than dried.
Both fresh and dry herb tinctures end up containing about the same amounts of water + alcohol: there's water in the fresh herb, there's water in the 60 % alcohol.
I'll continue to use fresh herb tinctures at the same dosages as I use dry -- or at lower doses: some fresh herb tinctures require just a drop or three, where the dried one would require doses of 15-30 drops.
Herbs are weird.