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tincture license

rachael hamblin

Joined: Mar 10, 2008
Posts: 129
Does anyone know how to get a tincture license in the US?  I can't find information on it anywhere!

Joined: Jun 17, 2007
Posts: 21
Location: la grande, or
i don't think you need a tincture licence, but if you are making them commercially, you might need a comercial kitchen permit.  if you keep your opperation small, it's doubtfull you will run into any trouble. 

"a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu
John Rushton

Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Norman, OK
The laws on this differ from state to state.  I know that in Oklahoma you have to get a license for each formula from the health department, done by providing a sample to be tested for content, and pay a fee of some few thousand dollars.  On top of that, a commercial kitchen and a liquor license are required.  I don't know what other states require, I imagine Oklahoma's is one of the most draconian.

Joined: Dec 20, 2009
Posts: 148
Of course, when you're selling tinctures, what you're selling is mostly alcohol, thus the regulations. Maybe you could sell the product with directions for the buyer to "drop this tea bag in a pint of alcohol and wait XXX time"? That puts the alcohol purchase on them and vodka is available almost everywhere.

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
if it is herb i don't think you need a license, but as far as i believe tincture had some mixture of alcohol on it, and you might need some license because of that, but i'm not really sure where to get it in US.

Joined: Mar 28, 2011
Posts: 3
If you sell fresh herbs that are not processed then probably no license required.  However, simply drying them generally require a license to sell. 

We live on 40 acres that have thousands of Yaupon Hollies wild blueberries growing.  Since I already drank Yerba Mate (which is from a south american holly) I started making my own holly tea and it tastes that same at Yerba mate and is the only caffeinated plant that grows naturally in North America.  With the cost of coffee through the roof we now only drink one cup of joe in the morning then drink holly tea all day.  Great for the joints!  Yaupon holly tea is full of antioxidants and other beneficial properties.

We enjoy it so much (drink it hot and as iced tea also and NO tannins like are in normal tea) that I thought why not sell it.  I can pick the holly and sell it with an instruction kit on how to process your own with out a license but if I dried it or roasted it then there are lots of licenses and permits to even sell in your own state.  Then if you want to sell throughout the US .... then there are other interstate permits that will be required.
John Rushton

Joined: Aug 14, 2010
Posts: 35
Location: Norman, OK
Funny you should mention Yaupon holly as a commercial product.  I was thinking about that earlier this week myself.  There is one on the property I steward, and I was wondering what time of year is best to harvest the leaves.  Leaves are said to be best when very young, before flowering.  But Yaupon holly, like all hollies, are evergreen!  So does that mean they are available year round?

Joined: Mar 28, 2011
Posts: 3
We started drinking the tea last summer and that was after the females had berries and we continued to pick and drink through the winter and am now picking and the buds are just now showing.  I prefer picking from the males since it is easier to pick.  I have read many articles on yaupon tea and most mention there is not much difference in caffeine or theobromine alkaloids between male an female plants.  A couple of articles mention caffeinated and decaffeinated yaupon but as far as I can determine what makes it caffeinated is the roasting of the leaves...much like coffee...the caffeine is not available until it is roasted so maybe dried leaves (green) before they are roasted are decaffeinated. 

I blanch the picked leaves and twigs first.  This is a quick blanch...only 3 minutes.  I keep the water from this blanch for my laundry soap.  Then I dry the leaves in my dehydrator then I roast them in my nuwave oven on high...30 minutes..then stir the leaves up and roast 30 minutes more.  We plan to make a solar dehydrator and an outdoor oven to roast to keep the electric costs to minimal.

We pick both the young and older leaves now and have noticed no difference in the caffeine or the anti-inflammatory effects.
Jordan Lowery

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
id like to know about this as well. selling tinctures that is.

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka

Joined: Mar 28, 2011
Posts: 62
Location: Western Pennsylvania
I'm not an authority by any means, but I would think that the problem would be selling someone an "unproven" substance for healing over the alcohol issue.  The laws are written on the side of conventional medicine, and they can use and sell known poisons because the laws are written to protect their interests.  If you wanted to sell commercially I would think you would have to prove what was in the tincture with lab tests etc.  You aren't making the alcohol (THAT is illegal) but buying the vodka etc. paying the state taxes on that purchase and then using it as an ingredient.  It's the other end of the sales that would be the problem.

I know with selling soap you can say it's soap, you can say it has tea tree oil in it and calendula.  BUT you can NOT say that it has healing properties, or that it will change your skin or heal you in any way.  Once you claim that you have to have lab tests, study tests and you become regulated under the cosmetics laws.  You can sell soap, and people can read how wonderful calendula is for your skin or the healing of tea tree oil, but you can't make those claims yourself.  It's just the ways the laws are written.


Always put your eggs in one basket.........why would you carry two?
Lisa Allen

Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 207
Location: San Diego, CA USA
The fact that Meadowsweet Herbs in Missoula, Montana is not making tinctures for sale anymore due to new and stricter FDA laws is a sign that you may also wish to check with the FDA, mostly for labeling laws (what you can and cannot say) as well as being subject to a constant reviewing of your herbal supplies and processing facilities.  Someone mentioned that by new standards, you were never allowed to use the same equipment (collecting, processing, anything) for different herbs, and that each herb needed its own dishes and press - obviously a ploy to put a small manufacturer of herbal tinctures out of business if I ever heard it!  This is not verified though, it is just something I heard and needs to be investigated.

I noticed recently some tinctures made locally in our health food stores having a disclaimer on them, i.e. they hadn't been "verified" as having any medicinal value and that they were selling the item as the whole herb material tinctured in grain alcohol (and then the percentage, usually 40-50% for most things).  Something to look at for sure.  Next time I will copy down exactly what it says and share here.

Lisa, the AstroHerbalist
Erin Vicha

Joined: Oct 22, 2012
Posts: 1
There aren't any licenses needed in WA except for the alcohol which also gives you a break on state taxes. The FDA has regulations, the GMP's. The document is long and intentionally confusing but you do not need seperate vessels and equipment. You do need tons of documentation that you cleaned and sanitized equipment, id plant sources, measured amounts of alcohol and recorded lot numbers, etc..... You also need to test finished product, which is what makes it cost prohibitive for smaller folks. But there are grey areas. You can define your own testing. Also you can't make claims in the name of the product or on the label. So far small folks have stayed under the radar, but the next couple years are when the FDA will be coming to inspect them too. Mostly if you make an effort most things are easy to comply with and the inspectors appreciate that you are trying. That said, I gave up the dream of my own company because I don't have running water or a commercial kitchen. Instead I work for a medium sized company that is going through GMP compliance and has been inspected.
subject: tincture license