Definitions Used in Making Herbal Preparations
Below is a list of helpful definations commonly used when making herbal prebarations.
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.
--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.
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.
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.
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.
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