There are many ways to prepare herbal remedies. The ones that will be covered in this short series were developed through trial and error over the course of centuries of use.
Herbalists have found that each herb releases its healing powers in certain forms. Some herbs are most productive when they are prepared as decoctions while others prove to be more appropriate in capsules.
You may have to do some extra research if you wish to prepare your own herbals – or better yet, check out Academy Epic’s Certified Homeopathy Course! You’ll need to know which preparation is best for which herb and what dosage is most appropriate. One way to find this out is to visit your local health food store and see how herbs you are interested in are packaged for sale and what the recommended dosages are.
In this series, we will define the various types of herbal remedies and offer tips on how to make them yourself. The methods are arranged in order of potency, from the weakest to the strongest. Measurements suggested are GENERAL and NOT herb specific. Be sure to learn about the strength and effect of herbs you are unfamiliar with. Also, the part used makes a difference, leaves, roots, flowers, seeds, etc., and can require an adjustment in the amount used.
Generally speaking however, one ounce of a single herb or one ounce of combined herbs is what you will need to use.
We will talk about using fresh or dried herbs. As a rule of thumb, it takes twice the amount of a fresh herb as dried.
You can grow your own herbs, wildcraft them (pick them from the wild – BUT be careful! It’s easy to make a mistake and pick something other than you intended) or — of course — you can purchase dried herbs from your local health food store or online.
Remember… herbs are not like prescription medicines and usually do NOT have immediate effects. Continue drinking the teas, infusions and decoctions until you feel better, which should be no longer than three days or so. In all cases, the effectiveness of herbs is based on a gradual action to restore the natural balance of healthy bodily functions. Very few plant remedies produce lasting beneficial effects after one or a few doses. In the case of treating prolonged problems, consider, as a rule of thumb, it takes one month of an herbal treatment for each year that you’ve had the problem. In other words, if you have had a problem for three years, it would take about three months to effect a healthy repair.
Important Considerations When Making Teas, Infusions and Decoctions:
- Not all herbs are suitable for making medicinals.
- It is important to cover your pot while boiling or steeping to prevent the aromatic oils from evaporating into the air. A lid will cause the steam to condense back into the water.
- Use a glass or ceramic container. Aluminum, iron, tin or other metals will leach into the tea. Although copper and stainless steel may be okay, herbalists recommend you use clean glass, ceramic, pottery or unchipped enameled pot.
- Use pure water. Fresh spring water or distilled water is best.
- Boil the water first, then remove it from the heat and add the herb or pour over the herb.
- Strain the finished tea before capping and storing.
- Refrigerate if kept for more than a few hours.
Next time: DIY Herbal Preparations
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