Definitions & Making Herbal Preparations
- Soak a soft cloth in a hot infusion, decoction, or 5-20 ml tincture in 500 ml hot water. Squeeze out excess water and hold pad against affected area.
- A mixture of fats and water that blends with the skin to strengthen and smooth it. Use 30 g lanolin, 15 oz beeswax, 100 g. vegetable or fruit oil, and 30 ml herb water. Melt the lanolin and beeswax in a double boiler, gently stirring in the oil. Remove from heat and whisk in the herb water. Keep stirring as it cools. Store in wide mouth jars.
- Made by simmering larger pieces of the herb, such as bark, roots, or twigs. Use 30 g. dried or 60 g. fresh herb to 750 ml water; simmer until the water is reduced to 500 ml. Drink 1/2 cup three times a day.
- Infused oils
- --Hot infusion: 250 g. dried or 500 g. fresh herb to 750 ml Olive or Vegetable Oil. Heat gently in a double boiler for 3 hours. Strain through cheesecloth into dark bottles.
- --Cold infusion: Pack a large jar with the herb. Cover it with cold-pressed oil and put the lid on. Let stand in a sunny window sill for 2-3 weeks. Squeeze the oil through a jelly bag and repeat the process. Store in dark glass bottles.
- A tea made by pouring boiled (not actively boiling) water over fresh or dried herbs. Use approximately 30 g. dried or 75 g. fresh herbs to 500 ml water. Drink 1/2 cup three times a day.
- To make, pour 500ml of cold water over 25g of herb and leave to stand overnight. Then strain and use as you would a decoction.
- Massage Oils
- Use 5 drops essential oil to 20 ml carrier oil. Sweet almond, jojoba, avocado or grapeseed make good carrier oils. You can also used infused oils.
- A mixture of oils and fats that forms a protective layer over the skin. Melt 500 g. petroleum jelly or soft paraffin wax in a double boiler. Add 60 g. dried herb and simmer gently for 2 hours. Strain through a jelly bag and pour into jars while still hot.
- Wrap the chopped or boiled herbs, or a paste made from them, in cheesecloth or muslin before applying to the affected area. This is good for herbs that might irritate the skin, such as mustard.
- Boil herbs in a little water for a hot poultice, or bruise or chop slightly for a cold one. Smooth a little oil on the skin to keep the herbs from sticking, apply the herb, and wrap with muslin or gauze strips.
- Steam Inhalants
- Place a few tablespoons of the dried herb in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the steam.
- An infusion or decoction preserved by adding sugar or honey. Use 500 ml infusion to 500 g sugar or honey; heat gently until the sweetener has dissolved. Store in dark glass bottles with cork tops; screw top bottles may explode if the mixture ferments.
- Steep the fresh or dried herb in a 25% mixture of alcohol and water. Do not use methyl, grain, or rubbing alcohol as they are toxic. Vodka is ideal; rum has the added benefit of covering unpleasant flavors. Use 200 g. dried or 600 g. fresh herb to 1 liter alcohol and water. Place in a sealed jar in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth and store in a dark glass bottle. Take 5 ml three times a day, diluted in a little fruit juice or water.
- Tonic Wine
- Pour 2 liters good quality wine, preferably red, over 500 g. dried herb, making sure all the herb is covered by the wine. Cover and leave for 2 weeks. Strain and take in 1/3 cup doses.
- A tea or infusion meant only for external use. A mild form of a wash would be 1/4 ounce of herb to one pint of boiling water, steeped until lukewarm, then applied.