Herbal Tinctures & Teas:
There are many ways to prepare herbal remedies. The ones presented here 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.
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 enameled pot with no chips.
- 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.
Herbal teas are quite pleasant and a healthy addition to your diet. They have a mild relaxing or invigorating effect, depending on the character of the herb. They don’t, however, have the potency, the medicinal dose, of the active constituents in herbs. Single strength herbal teas can be taken as often as you wish.
The easy way to make a medicinal cup of tea is to triple up on herbal tea bags or the loose tea leaves that you would normally use and steep them in one cup of very hot water, covered, for ten minutes. By tripling the amount of tea you come very close to the medicinal value of an infusion. Dosage is in cups per day.
- To use bulk dried herbs, toss a quantity of the herb in a nonmetallic container, pour in boiling water and allow to steep for ten to 20 minutes. Most herbalists prescribe an ounce of dried herb (you should invest in a small scale) in a pint of water.
- Strain the herb parts. Usually, the tea is consumed at room temperature.
- Drink the tea hot only if the goal is to induce a sweat or to break up a cough or cold.
- Sip throughout the day, the cumulative dose would be one to four cups a day depending on the herb.
Infusions are another easy way to make an herbal remedy.
A decoction is made by boiling the hard and woody parts of herbs.
Because extracts and tinctures are much more potent than decoctions or infusions, much smaller dosages are used. They are dosed in drops, not cups.