The Preparation of Herbal Remedies

These are not to be followed without consulting a trusted herbalist or person in your tribe experienced in handling herbs (elder, medicine person, midwife, healer, etc.). These are ONLY tips and helpful hints. Spiritwalker

(the instructions below mostly come from The Illustrated Book of Herbs 1996 Edition are not intended to be used without advisement from someone with knowledge)

Preparations for internal use

Fresh Herbs & Herb Juice -- Eat herbs raw in salads. Some herbs, such as stinging nettle and celery leaves, can be juiced be taken neat, 4tsp(20ml) at a time, or combined with carrot, apple and celery juice. ____________________________________________________________________________

Infusion -- Leaves and Flowers are usually infused, sometimes other parts of the plant. A standard infusion is prepared with 1-2 tsp(5-10 ml) dried herb per cup of boiling water, infused for 10 minutes before straining. Do not leave for too long, as it can become bitter and too strong. Make in a pot with a lid to prevent evaporation. Drink hot or cold, but for influenza, colds and bronchitis, hot is best. It must always be used on the day of preparation. If using fresh herbs, use double the amount of herb. ** The standard dosage for an infusion is 8 fluid ounces (250ml) three times a day.

Decoction -- Roots, bark and seeds are usually prepared this way. Use 1-2 tsp (5-10ml) of herb per cup of cold water, bring gently to the boil in a saucepan with the lid on and simmer for about 10 minutes. It must be on the day of preparation. ** The standard dosage for a decoction is 8 fluid ounces (250ml) three times a day. If the herb is very bitter or strong, use 4 tsp three times a day.

Tincture -- A tincture is an alcoholic extraction of an herb. Alcohol is used, as it dissolves the active constituents out of the plant matter, and also acts as a preservative. Tinctures remain viable for up to two years. Recipes vary according to the toxicity and constituents of the plant. Some require stronger alcohol, and others use different portions of herb to alcohol, but this standard recipe may be used. Use any part of the plant to make a tincture. Place 4 ounces (100 grams) dried herb in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and add 17 ounces (500ml) vodka or spirits (45% proof). Leave for two weeks, shaking occasionally, then strain through a cloth into a brown glass bottle. Keep tightly stopped. **The standard dosage for a tincture is 15 drops three times daily. ( You may also use cider vinegar instead of alcohol. NEVER use industrial alcohol, as it is toxic, or spirit vinegar, as it is not good for your health.)

Herbal Wine -- Wine is used in much the same as spirits for making tincture. A sweet, fortified wine or a red wine with a good alcohol content (12%) is best. Cover 4 ounces(100grams) of chosen herb with 1 1/4 pints (750ml) wine. Leave for a week before straining. Herbal wine does not last as long as tincture, and is best used within a month. **The standard dosage for herbal wine is 4 tsp (20ml) once or twice daily.

Syrup -- Sugar is a good preservative and is ideal for cough mixtures, especially as some herbs for cough are very bitter. Prepare 17 ounces (500ml) of an infusion or decoction of the required herb. Strain, add 14 ounces (400 grams) of brown sugar (or a honey and sugar mixture) and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Pour it into a clean glass bottle, seal and store in the refrigerator. **The standard dosage is 1 tsp (5ml) three times daily. For a serious cough, consult your herbalist.

Capsules -- Some people prefer to take herbal medicine in dry, powdered form. One can simply stir the powder into water, but taking it in capsule form is convenient. Empty capsules can be bought at some chemists or health shops. Place powdered herb in a dish. To fill capsules, scoop both halves towards each other through the powdered herb and fit the halves together. ** The standard dosage is two capsules three, three times daily, depending on the herb used. When in any doubt. consult your herbalist

Preparations for External Use

Oil Infusion -- This can be made in to ways - the hot or cold method. For the hot method, fill a jar with fresh herb and cover with oil (olive, almond or sunflower - not mineral oil). Place the jar up to its neck in a saucepan of water, bring to a medium temperature and simmer for about 2-3 hours. Strain through filter paper or a cloth into a brown glass bottle. Use the same method when making a cold infusion, but place the jar on a sunny windowsill for two to three weeks instead of heating the oil. The process can be repeated to make the oil stronger.