This article looks at how to use herbs, in decoctions and infusions.
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