Herbal Fundamentals

Infusions and decoctions – the basic quintessential herbal preparations.

  • What is an infusion and decoction?  Well, an infusion is a fluid extraction using the soft parts of the plants.  They can be fresh or dried, cut, and sifted leaves, flowers, berries, and stems.  A decoction is a fluid extraction using the hard parts of the plants – roots, root barks, barks, inner bark, seeds, or twigs.  To be succinct, you are making a tea, ha!
Some visual examples of herbs in their dry state.
  • How do ya make a tea? For the fresh or dried, cut, and sifted leaves, flowers, berries, and stems you make an infusion.  You bring some distilled water to a simmer and pour over the herb or herbs, cover and let steep for 10 – 15 minutes.  You can use some of the gadgets for tea making such as a tea ball with any cup, tea bag with any cup, or use a tea-pot! I use a saucepan because  I generally prepare a good amount at a time. For a decoction, place your  barks, seeds, roots, or twigs in a glass or stainless steel saucepan, pour distilled water over and bring to a slow simmer and simmer for 15 minutes.  How much distilled water and herbage do you use?  Ok, pay close attention: it is up to you.  This question is answered by how strong  you like your tea and how much are you wanting to make?  Try making some and then adjust to suit your pallets, yes it’s that simple.
A cool teapot from http://www.mountainroseherbs.com
Handy muslin tea bags with drawstrings and a useful tea ball.
  • You will hear, is “hear” the right word or should I say “read”?, Hmm, but I digress, I will instruct you to use steam distilled water in all your herbal preparations.  Why you ask?  Because steam distilled water is a pure “hungry” water and it pulls the maximum level of medicinal properties and constituents out of the herbs.
Purchase distilled water at any grocer.
  • I always sweeten my tea with honey I bought from a local bee keeper. MmmmMmmm.  Try making your own tea today, the making of a tea is therapeutic in and of itself!
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