Tinctures and Salves: What’s The Difference?

With the increasing popularity of alternative medicine, it's no wonder different terms like tinctures and salves are confusing.

Don't worry…

Today, we'll break down the differences between the two and explore their benefits.


Tinctures are extracts made by steeping herbs such as chamomile, echinacea, or lavender in alcohol for several weeks to infuse the plant's beneficial compounds. 

Some tinctures might be made using a different solvent, including glycerin or vinegar. 

One of the significant advantages of tinctures is that they're fast-acting; the body easily absorbs them because of their liquid form. 

Additionally, they come in diverse flavors and could be added to water or juice, making them more user-friendly.

Finally, tinctures have a longer shelf life than other herbal preparations, requiring less space to store and, therefore, a more convenient choice for on-the-go medicinal uses.


Salves also contain herbal extracts but are applied topically to the skin. 

They typically comprise a blend of oils, beeswax, and herbs that retain the properties of the infused plants. 

Salves may contain herbs such as cayenne, arnica, or ginger, among others, and may be used to alleviate several skin inflammation conditions. 

They may include additional ingredients such as cooling or warming agents like menthol, wintergreen, or camphor, and a topical anaesthetic like lidocaine to help with localized pain relief. 

Unlike tinctures, salves have a shorter shelf life; they need to be refrigerated, but their healing properties are worth the extra effort.

Benefits of Tinctures and Salves:

Both tinctures and salves have medicinal benefits, and while they differ, they each offer specific advantages. 

Tinctures are most popular for their internal use, as the active ingredients are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. 

They may help improve digestion, boost immunity, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. 

Also, tinctures may alleviate several other ailments such as menstrual cramps, anxiety, migraines, and more. 

On the other hand, salves are commonly renowned for their external uses as they're highly effective in treating itchy, irritated skin and other types of inflammation, and help with muscle pain, wounds, and rashes.

Tinctures and salves are excellent additions to any medicine cabinet, and understanding their differences may help you choose the best option to suit your needs. 

Tinctures are quick-acting because of their liquid form and are easier to consume, while salves are extremely effective for external inflammation and pain relief. 

As with any herbal extraction, it’s best to seek medical advice before using any of these products. 

Finally, make sure to read their ingredients carefully and understand the particular strains and quantities in the formula for maximum benefits. 

Now that you have a better understanding of these two alternatives, you're set on the right path to promoting your overall well-being.

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