Making Your Own Herbal Remedies
Once you’ve learned something about the various ways to use herbal remedies, you’re able to start making a number of your own medicines. Everything you would like to understand is included here, from preparing basic infusions and decoctions to creating your own tinctures, oils, salves, and poultices.
There are two ways to organize herb tea. you’ll make an infusion, during which the herb is steeped, or you can make a decoction, during which the plant matter is simmered over time. the precise plant matter (leaves, flowers, berries, stems, roots) depends on the herb you’ve selected.
Infusions. To extract medicinal properties from leaves, flowers, berries, or ground seeds, you infuse them. These ingredients easily release their essential oils when they’re steeped in hot water — and that they easily lose their value when they’re simmered. To infuse a cup of tea, pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons dried herbs or 2 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs. Cover, let steep 10 to fifteen minutes, strain well, and drink.
Decoctions. When the recipe involves tougher herb parts — barks, roots, dried berries, seeds, or rhizomes — you would like to use a brewing process referred to as a decoction. The simmering is necessary to extract the herb’s valuable properties. To decoct a cup of tea, add 2 teaspoons dried herb to 1 cup water. Cover, bring back a boil, then simmer 15 to twenty minutes. Strain the herbs (they make a pleasant addition to your compost pile), let the liquid cool, then provides it to your dog. Combinations. When you’re making a tea with roots and leaves, you both infuse and decoct: Simmer the roots 20 minutes, remove the pot from the warmth, add the leaves and stir, then cover and steep 10 to twenty minutes.
Store tinctures in small, tinted glass bottles during a dark, cool place. Alcohol-based tinctures will keep remaining potent for up to three years; glycerites have a shelf-life of only a couple of months.
Step 1. Process the herbs. When you’re using fresh herbs, coarsely chop or mince them. When using dried herbs, powder them with a mortar and pestle. This helps open the plant’s cell walls to the alcohol.
Step 2. Put the processed herbs in a widemouthed jar. The herbs should structure about one-quarter of the entire volume. Then cover with liquid. For fresh herbs, use twice the maximum amount liquid as an herb; for dried herbs, use 3 times the maximum amount liquid as an herb. Use the liquid of your choice: apple cider vinegar, glycerin, or alcohol, like vodka or brandy. Blend well.
Step 3. Seal the jar. After adding the liquid, stir well. Then seal the jar tightly. When you’re tincturing with vinegar, make certain to hide the highest of the jar with wrapping before putting on the lid. Otherwise, fumes from the vinegar will corrode the lid, making it difficult to open. Put the jar in a dark place and let it sit for 3 to six weeks, shaking occasionally.
Step 4. Strain and bottle the liquid. Strain the liquid and decant into smaller bottles. Store away from direct heat and lightweight.
If using alcohol, you would like a minimum of 80 to 100 proof (40 to 50 percent alcohol). If using glycerin and dried herbs, dilute 2 parts glycerin with 1 part water. Use the glycerin at full strength when using fresh herbs.
Making an infused oil requires placing flowers and leaves in oil and allowing them to steep for a while. Use top-quality extra-virgin vegetable oil for infusing. Infused oils are often used as astringents or as mild antibacterials which will be applied to minor wounds or skin irritations.
Preparing Herbs for Infused Oils
Infused oils are best made with dried herbs because excess moisture can encourage mold to grow. However, some herbs, especially flowers, lose their medicinal potency when dried. In such cases, you ought to wilt the herb before infusing it in oil. Simply layout the fresh herb on paper towels during a place with many air circulation and faraway from direct sunlight. After 24 hours, the herb should be nicely wilted and most of the moisture it contains will have evaporated.
THE SUN METHOD
Step 1. Fill a clean, dry, widemouthed glass jar to the highest, loosely packed, with the herb. Cover with oil and stir with a nonmetal utensil — like a wooden spoon — to release any trapped air bubbles. refill with more oil, seal, and set during a warm, dry location, like a sunny windowsill or the highest of a hot-water heater, for two to six weeks.
Step 2. Pour the oil through cheesecloth to filter the spent plant matter. Wring the cheesecloth to squeeze out the last drops of the infused oil. Then let the oil stand in order that any water will filter. Pour off the water, and store the oil in a sealed container within the refrigerator, where it’ll keep for up to six months.
THE STOVE-TOP METHOD
Step 1. For a yield of two cups, use 2 cups of dried herbs or 4 cups of freshly wilted herbs to 4 cups of oil. Place the herbs during a double saucepan and canopy them with the oil. Heat, uncovered, over boiling water for about 3 hours. Don’t let the oil bubble or smoke — long, slow cooking produces the best results.
Step 2. Strain the oil by pouring it through a wire strainer lined with muslin or a filter. Press the herbs trapped within the filter to release all drops of the infused oil.
Step 3. Bottle the oil and store within the refrigerator, where it’ll keep for up to six months. Salves A salve softens and soothes the skin and also provides excellent protection against the weather. To use a salve, gently massage it into the skin — whether canine or human. Here are two salve making techniques to settle on from. INFUSED-OIL SALVE
Step 1. Make an infused oil following the instructions on page 10.
Step 2. Combine the infused oil and a few beeswaxes within the top of a double saucepan, using ¼ cup of grated beeswax per cup of oil. Heat over boiling water, stirring frequently until the beeswax is melted and therefore the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Step 3. Test the consistency by taking a spoonful of the mixture and putting it within the refrigerator for 1 to 2 minutes. If it becomes too hard, add more oil. If it doesn’t harden, add a touch more beeswax.
Step 4. When the consistency seems right, divide the mixture among glass containers. Allow the mixture to chill, then seal tightly. Store within the refrigerator, where the salve will keep for up to 2 years.
GREASE-FREE SALVE 5 ounces copra oil 3½ ounces powdered herb 4 ounces beeswax
Step 1. Combine the copra oil and therefore the herb within the top a part of a double saucepan. Heat over boiling water for 90 minutes.
Step 2. Strain out the herb, squeezing the maximum amount liquid as possible through a press or cheesecloth. Return the liquid to the double saucepan and add the beeswax. Heat over boiling water, stirring frequently until the beeswax is melted and therefore the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Step 3. Pour into glass jars. Allow to chill, then seal. Store within the refrigerator, where the salve will keep for up to 2 years.
A poultice may be a warm, moist mass of powdered or macerated fresh herb applied on to the skin to alleviate inflammation, infection, septicemia, and similar conditions. Poultices promote proper cleansing and healing and prolong infection, toxins, and foreign bodies embedded within the skin. They also relieve pain and spasm.
Step 1. Moisten herbs with a predicament, witch hazel, herb tea, liniment, or tincture.
Step 2. Place the herb paste on a sterile gauze pad.
Step 3. Apply the treated gauze pad to the affected area. to stay it from a slump, use a bigger piece of rolled gauze to tie the poultice lightly but securely in situ. generally, attempt to keep the poultice in situ for an hour; the optimal amount of your time varies with the herb and therefore the severity of the condition.