That book is excellent. There's another one that isn't specific to Alaska, but is still one of my favorites. Chuck will know which one I'm talking about --- the one with the green on the bottom half (or is it the top half). Anyway, if Chuck doesn't know what I'm talking about and post it, I'll find it when I get home and post it. If I forget, PLEASE remind me. ;D
In general, for tinctures, you just chop the herb, if it's fresh, put it in a glass jar. I use canning jars, either pints or quarts, usually. Cover the herb with the desired alcohol. Put the lid on, and shake at least once or twice a day. If you forget a few days, won't hurt anything. This isn't an exact thing.
The ideal alcohol for most things is organic grape alcohol, but it's hard to come by and very expensive. Many, many people have at least some small allergy to grain alcohol or chemicals used in the growing or processing. So, if you use that for a tincture you are making to treat headaches or an allergic reaction, it may not work, and possibly make it worse.
If the herb is not oily, I use 80 or 90 proof something. I think brandy tastes better than vodka, so that's what I use sometimes. Vodka is cheaper, so that's what I use most of the time, though. I try to keep a little Everclear (usually 151proof) for the oiler herbs like cottonwood buds. But, I don't get bent out of shape if all I have on hand is 80 proof something. Use what you have. Using Everclear for something soothing like a chickweed tincture, for example, would be overkill, and may even have an undesired effect or not work as you intend.
Regarding herb preparation: Some folks pick the fresh herbs (don't use anything that has been chemically treated or is in polluted areas) then chop them up finely or rub them in their hands to bruise them and help release the oils, then use them immediately. Others like to let the plants wilt or dry slightly. This, at least in theory, should make a stronger tincture. Some plants have more moisture than others, but I think the difference isn't enough to worry about. I just pick them, then make the tincture when I can. It's usually more convenient for me to do it right after they're picked. Unless you are a "professional" who treats patients, I think it's splitting hairs to be concerned with that point.
In another post, I mentioned that I didn't know how well dried herbs work in tincture. I have since read that that is a very common practice, and have tried it. I'm almost out of the comfrey I picked and dried last summer that I had been using for tea (remember, Chuck's knee?
;D)So, to get more out of it and make it last longer, I took what remained (about 1/3 or a little more of a pint jar, put it in a jar, then filled the jar with 80proof vodka. Even after just 2 weeks, it made a very good tincture. I've read different opinions on how much to use, but that's what I do. If I'm using fresh herbs, I don't really pack the jar, but I do more than just loosely drop them in --- just sort of press them down a little ---- to just about full, then cover with the alcohol.
The absolute least amount of time I let my tinctures "cook", so to speak, is 10 days. I usually go a month or more --- often waaaayyyyy more. I think several months or more is fine.
When you're ready, strain it through something. I've used jelly bags, cheese cloth, and parts of game bags. I squeeze it out so that I don't waste any.
I have made tinctures with glycerin. This does not make the best tinctures, but I did not want to give my babies an alcohol based tincture. I've found that it does work better if I let the fresh herbs set out for a day or so to allow some of the moisture to evaporate, it works a little better. I also put the herbs in a pan, cover with glycerin, and heat it. Don't let it get too hot. I think it just needs to get very warm, then stay there for awhile. Not an exact science. I usually let it warm for a few hours, then strain and pour into a dropper bottle. My children rarely get sick at all, but I have given them a glycerin tincture several times with excellent results.
I think a better way to go with children, or if I don't want to take the alcohol, is to make the alcohol tincture as usual. Then, when I want to take it, or give it to my children, I boil a little water, then add the proper amount of the tincture. The alcohol will evaporate. I have been told by a naturopath (ND) that the small amount of alcohol a child would receive in a tincture is not at all harmful, but I just feel better about using either a glycerin base, or letting the alcohol evaporate. I also do the evaporation when I'm taking a tincture made from any alcohol stronger than 100 proof. It just burns my mouth and I don't think that's a good thing. It just seems to me that if you had to take a tincture on a long term basis, the frequent irritation to your mouth could cause damage down the road. Maybe not, but that's just my concern.
In reading and talking with folks, you'll find that everybody has different preferences, and will tell you something different. I'm just sharing information I've read and letting you know what I do. None of it is exact, and as usual, (here's my main disclaimer) consult your health care professional before making or using any tinctures.
If you have any questions, or anything to add, please speak up.