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Verbena tincture


The quirks of verbena tincture.

The Eclectics already scratched their heads over it: why do some batches of verbena tincture go all jelly-like? At least, I'm sure they did, but I can't for the life of me find the page right now. It's online somewhere, either on my or on Michael's site...

I have a verbena tincture that turned into transparent globs interspersed with a dark liquid. Actually, it's a Glandularia tincture, but it was a Verbena sp. when I picked it. I blame the botanists.
That tincture is very strange - after sitting in its bottle for a year or two the tincture was solid. Turn it upside down, nothing happens. Shake it a bit and it breaks up into globs. Shake it vigorously and those globs get fairly small, after which it's pourable, even if the remaining few larger globs will get stuck in bottlenecks, making for a mess if that bottleneck is the one you're pouring into.

Pic: Small verbena tincture globs on paper.
I tinctured the herb by maceration, using the usual ratios for fresh herb (1:2 95 %):
Chop up 11 ounces of herb, put into 1 quart jar, pour 22 ounces of 95 % alcohol over it, close the lid tightly and let sit for 1-4 weeks. ('mercan measurements 'cos I made it in Arizona.)
Strain, bottle, label.

And wait to see if there'll be chunks in your previously liquid tincture or not.

I've another verbena tincture, that I made with garden-grown Verbena hastata, also by maceration, also fresh herb 1:2 95 %. That one doesn't have the jelly globs - yet. I've only decanted it a couple months ago, there's still time for them to form.

And then I made a lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) tincture, by percolation, with dried herb, a couple weeks ago at a school where I teach. I don't expect this one to form globs at all; but then, I don't have enough of it to let it sit untouched for a year or two.

The taste of the lemon verbena is far superior to that of the verbenas (or Glandularia and Verbena, as the case may be).


Strange thing with these globs is, if you strain them out and let the tincture sit, it'll glob up again in no time. The globs don't detract from the efficacy of the tincture, so let them be - just shake them up so they're small enough to pour easily, even into small bottles. And tell your clients that the globs are part of the package, with verbena.


ah... so i'm not the only one! verbena is quirky! Found that when it was formulated with a some other stuff it didnt' glob up....well..yet ( two years in.)

The gel you'e describing might well be a colloid. A colloid is a type of particle suspended in a liquid.

It's one of three types.

Very small particles make solutions that won't settle out in time, like a cup of teabag tea, very large particles give a cloudy solution that goes clear over time, like clay in water, the particle size in between is called a colloid and has unusual properties.

Milk is a colloidal suspension of milk fat, silica makes a gel, hair gel is a colloid as are gems such as ruby and turquoise.

This site here tells you how to do a simple test, shining a light through the gel, which will tell you whether you have a colloid.

Another property of these gels is that they adsorb charged particles onto their surface.

This might have interesting effects if the gel remains intact and is excreted through the kidneys.

Funnily enough parsley also forms this gel.

Dunno - the globs in the pic are 1mm wide, and the largest verbena tincture globs that I've tried to pour were bigger than 1 cm (1/3") (hence, a mess - the neck of the receiving bottle was smaller than that). Could be it's a colloid, but if so, it's of rather larger particles than the colloid of milk, or that of fog. The "shine a light through" didn't quite work, perhaps because I have so very little of it left.

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