Tinctures and jojoba infusions

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    Megan Berkeley

      I have many jojoba infusions and tinctures going. I use a TDS meter to measure the levels of saturation in my tinctures. The problem is that I’m not sure if I should leave the material (i.e. Sweetgrass) in the alcohol to mature for as long as possible or should I be taking it out to re-charge. So, far, I have done both methods based on how much of the material that I have on hand. I did notice that the TDS meter went higher when I re-charged my sweetgrass but someone else said that I could have simply left it in the alcohol to allow to mature for as long as possible.

      I am leaving my various varieties of vanilla tinctures to age and mature. My gut tells me that this material would benefit from aging and maturing and not re-charging. I have done the same with my Costus Root, Palo Santo, Ambrette powder (I need to replace this with seeds instead), Elemi Resin, Honey and Honeycomb, Traditional Mexican Tamale Copal, Fenugreek, Spruce Tips, Classic Chai Tea Blend, Styrax Resin (Liquidambar Orientalists), Labdanum and Tonka Bean.

      I have re-charged (many times until almost all until saturation), Opoponox, White Sandalwood, Orris Root Powder, Crushed Cardamom pods, Whole Cardamom pods, Sweetgrass, Whole Clove buds, Cinnamon, Dried Honeysuckle, lemonbalm, lemon verbena, black pepper, anise star pods, Cinnamon, Lavender, and Tulsi Basil (Vana).

      Could you please provide any feedback if I am doing this correctly as I don’t want to waste my materials.

      Also, I have the same question for my jojoba infusions. The materials that I have left to macerate and age in the jojoba are various Vanilla infusions and Mexican Copal. I also did a one time jojoba heat infusion with Burgundy Pitch (Pini Burganica) – which I can’t smell a thing!, Pine Resin/Pitch- which is a faint smell, and Labdanum. Should I leave the Fenugreek to infuse in jojoba oil as long as possible?

      Whereas I re-charged my Fir Balsam, Sweetgrass, and Lavender jojoba infusions many times. Could you please provide any corrections on what I could be doing differently to maximize my results?

      Thanks in advance!

      Megan Berkeley


        To me, it makes sense to age resins, pods, wood, seeds, and other base notes, as the material is denser and leaves, petals, peels, and delicate material would need to be recharged.

        Anya McCoy

          Hi Angie and Megan:

          We just invited all the students to the new Yahoo forum which will be easier to use than this website-based one. Please let me know you got the “add” to the group. It should have gone through with your email on record.




          Michael Singels

            When tincturing dried materials, there are a few things I consider for aging and recharging.

            The more delicate parts of the plants can generally do with less time in the alcohol or oil before changing out for new material, such as flowers, leaves, etc.

            The denser or woodier parts of the plants, including roots, seeds, thick stems, resins, etc. I let sit in the alcohol or oil for longer before recharging, anywhere from 1-3 months between recharges.

            For dried material, powdering it often helps improve the extraction faster into your menstruum.

            With oils, sometimes gentle heating will accelerate speed of extraction.  You wouldn’t want to heat alcohol in that way though, due to its flammability.

            You won’t be able to measure your TDS in oil, but you should see the TDS increasing in your alcohol extracts/tinctures with each recharge, until it reaches it’s maximum threshold.  If you are leaving your plant material in the alcohol for a month to three months before recharging, you will not be missing too much from the old plant material you change out.  Your TDS will definitely go higher if you swap out for a new batch of your aromatic material as opposed to letting the spent material age longer in the alcohol.

            Resins are trickier to recharge, as they are dissolving a lot of the resin into the alcohol, so I have found they don’t recharge well.  They can also clog your sprayers or leave stickiness on the skin if used in high percentages, so that is something to consider.  Anya can speak to this better, as she has worked with these for her perfume White Smoke.

            Burgundy Pitch’s scent is a bit fainter, so it isn’t surprising to me that you aren’t getting a huge scent transfer from it.  Can you smell it if you apply a bit to your skin?  Sometimes heat will activate the scent a bit.

            I hope this helps address some of your questions, please let me know if you have more questions or if I missed something for you.



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