How to prepare herbs for use - Decoction, Infusion & more
Herbs, ahhh natures medicine chest. Whilst some are quibbling about pharmaceuticals such as codeine being stashed in the hand of prescription writing doctors, we got this. Until Codex takes them from us, but that's a post for another day, staying focused here...
So you want to use herbs as medicines... I love that, good for you for taking the step back into our history. Many pharmaceutics are derived from herbs... they never really highlight that do they... Asprin hails from Willow Bark for example... so if that helps you work out what a herb does, look forward to what it's distilled patented product is TGA approved for if you will, as a general guide. Hmm whatever could Willow Bark be used for?
Side note: I'd prefer Willow Bark to Asprin any day, herbs are complete and thus contain their own remedy to side effect. What do I mean? An example? Dandelion is a diuretic, but contains potassium ... taking diuretics depletes your potassium supplies. Problem solution.
So when you need to use a herb, firstly you need to decide how to prepare it. How do you work this out? Well lets look at single herbs for these examples or it could get a little confusing.
Flowers, leaves & twigs, boom, infusion. Less damaging on this delicate parts, and really, you don't need a cannon to kill a mosquito.
Roots, Berries, Rhizome & bark.. decoction, it's that simple. There are a few curve balls in there... Marshmallow root for example is best as a cold infusion due to it's Mucilagous nature.
I'm thinking I should add a little herb dictionary on the website somewhere... Mucilagous basically means it goes kinda slimy and makes a good coating agent... think coating your digestive system to soothe before or after a bad chilli episode.
How to Make an Infusion (or hot infusion)
Cup of tea... as simple as that. One teaspoon of herb per cup of freshly boiled water, in the kettle or cup. Let sit for 5 minutes or so, strain and enjoy. This is generally the way you will prepare most of the herbal tea blends in the Plant Essentials range...we've listed the method of prep on each page though... no-one wants chai made via infusion.
How to Make a Decoction
This is how we do the tough stuff, so you could throw it at someone and potentially injure them, decoction is your method. same as before one teaspoon per cup of water, this time it's room temp water and it's in a saucepan. Lid on, on the stove and bring to a gentle simmer... turn off after 10 minutes, let cool a bit, strain and enjoy.
How to Make a cold Infusion
Same as hot infusion, but cold...genius yeah :-D The difference besides that is that you'll put the jug of this contents in the fridge and let the herby goodness soak in over the next 24 hours. Then strain and drink.
All the above can be cooled and stored in the fridge. I'd only give them 3 days though as you haven't put a preservative in it and why would you right?) so it is going to go to mold over a period. The only exception to this in my opinion unless I think of something else, is if you are using the herb preparation for cutting mucus... warm to hot is best for consumption in this case.
We'll cover tinctures and other methods another day kids ;-)
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