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What does the herbal tincture ratio mean (e.g. 1:4, 1:5, 1:1, etc.)? How does this relate to the conversion of the recommended tincture dose in drops/ml to milligrams?
In the case of single herb tinctures, the conversion is dependent on the strength or ratio of the herb relative to the liquid in which it is soaked. Another term for soaking is “maceration.” The most common ratio is 1:4. This signifies that 4 ml of the final tincture preparation contains 1 gram (i.e. 1000 mg) of herb. Which means, in turn, that 1 ml of tincture contains 250 mg of herb (i.e. 1000 divided by 4). Similarly, with a 1:5 tincture, the ratio signifies that 5 ml of the final tincture preparation contains 1 gram (i.e. 1000 mg) of herb, which means that 1 ml of tincture contains 200 mg of herb (1000 divided by 5). With the new Health Canada labeling protocols, the amount of herb per 1 ml is typically listed on our label. It’s worth noting here that, in the language of herbal medicine, stronger preparations with a 1:1 or 1:2 ratio are called extracts rather than tinctures and are often made by a process of percolation rather than maceration or soaking. Things get a bit more complicated with combination tinctures, where multiple herbs, often with different herb to menstruum ratios, are mixed together for synergistic effect. Even in this case, however, the individual amount of raw herb in milligrams is indicated on the label, allowing you to make your calculations.

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