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……


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

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