How to Prepare Healing Medical Herbs Different Ways features the methods of creating capsules, decoctions, extracts, fomentations, infusions, plasters and salves.
Capsules: This is the most popular way most people take their herbs. Some of the reasons: it’s easy, convenient, avoids bitter taste, saves on preparation, and provides an exact regulated dosage to the body. (Want more Herbal Capsules recipes – Click Here)
Extracts: Extracts are a highly concentrated alcohol base in liquid form derived from pure herbs. Many people use herbal extracts who are unable to swallow the usual dose. Exact dosages are recommended on individual bottles. This is one of the more convenient ways to take herbs.
Fomentation: A fomentation is an external application of herbs, generally used to treat swellings, pains, cold and flu. To prepare a fomentation, soak a towel or cloth in the desired tea, and apply the towel over the affected area as hot as can be tolerated without burning. Cover the towel with a dry flannel cloth. Repeat as needed.
Infusions: The most common way of preparing herbs. The extraction of the active properties of a substance by steeping or soaking it, usually in water. The usual amount is a teaspoon of leaves, blossoms, or flowers to a cup of boiling water. The water is poured over the herbs, then steeped for 3 to 5 minutes. Strain before using. Honey may be added to taste. (Want more Herbal Infusions recipes – Click Here)
Plasters: A plaster is much like a poultice, but the herbal materials are placed between two pieces of cloth and applied to the affected area. When there is an irritant to the skin, this method will serve to prevent the herb from coming in direct contact with the skin. (Want more Plasters recipes -Click Here)
Poultice: A poultice is usually used as an antiseptic and to reduce swelling by applying a warm mass of powdered herbs directly to the skin. To prepare, add enough hot water to make a thick paste, then apply directly to the skin. Cover with a hot moist towel and leave on until it cools. Repeat as often as needed. (Want more Herbal Plasters recipes – Click Here)
Salves: A healing or soothing ointment. Use 3 oz. powered herb, 7 oz. cocoa butter or any pure vegetable shortening, l oz. beeswax, (depending on consistency desired, more beeswax may be needed). Blend all three ingredients together in a covered pot on low heat for 1 to 2 hours. When it is cold, it should be firm and ready to use. (Want more Herbal Salves and Balms recipes – Click Here)
Decoctions: To extract the deeper essences from harder or coarser herbs such as stems, barks, and roots. The herbs are usually simmered uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes until 1/3 of the water has decreased through evaporation, usually one part plant to twenty parts water. Note: for coarser herbs such as Valerian and Burdock, these must be gently simmered in a covered pot to bring out their medicinal properties. Strain before using.