This article looks at how to use herbs, in decoctions and infusions.
I love to harness the potent properties of fresh herbs.
They are extremely potent, almost twice as strong as fresh herbs.
HOW TO USE HERBS
Most herbs will release their active properties in water or alcohol.
There are two techniques of water release; this is known as an INFUSION or DECOCTION.
Advantages of decoctions and infusions:
- They are safe and cheap to use, especially if you grow your own herbs
- They allow the herb to be easily absorbed
- Many herbs have good nutritional content
- They provide an alternative to tea and coffee
- It’s the best way to harness the herbs potent properties
Join me here for tips on how to prepare a herbal infusion……
HERBS AS DECOCTIONS
This method involves boiling the roots, seeds and bark, which helps to release the active properties of the herbs.
As a general rule, a decoction usually consists of 30 g chopped and dried woody herbs.
Ideally, you should be looking to use one part herb to 30 parts water:
- First crush or bruise the herbs
- Next place them in a saucepan and cover with boiling or cold water
- Place a lid on the saucepan and let everything steep overnight
- The following morning, bring the mixture slowly to the boil
- Then let everything simmer for around 20 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced to around 600 ml
- Next strain the decoction through a fine sieve, or a piece of muslin and measure. If you have a ratio of less than 1:20, you can pour hot water through the muslin, to make it up to the right quantity
How to Use Herbs as a Tincture
Unfortunately, many herbs don’t release their active properties in water, they only become active in alcohol, which is where a tincture is more useful:
- Next seal the tincture, in a container with a tight lid
- Let the tincture stand in a sunny area, where it can get full benefit from the sun.
- Steep for around a week and strain
- After a week, pour off the liquid through a nylon cheese cloth strainer
- You will know when the extract is effective, because the alcohol retains the character and smell of the herb
- Add 1% Vitamin E, to make the herb last longer
Use one ounce of crushed or powdered herbs, diluted in 12 ounces of alcohol and 4 ounces of water