Diverse uses for herbs - what other medicine gives such great variety and fun in making your own health preparations?
How to make a herb tea / infusion / tissane
Herb teas are made from the leaves and flowers of plants and only take 5 minutes to brew (unlike roots which take longer and need to be decocted - see below). Add 1 teaspoon of your desired plant to 1 cup of hot water and let it infuse for 5 mins then strain and drink. They can also be drunk cold once brewed and this is more tonifying and better if someone is of a hot constitution or especially with hot flushes. That is why sage tea and my hot flush tea is best drunk cold.
Teas are really wonderful for urinary infections, stomach problems and are SUPERIOR for treating colds and flu.
Bath - make a large pot of herb tea, then strain and add to bath for itchy skin problems (eczema) or shingles and esp. good for children. eg chickweed, calendula, oats
Child dose is half of the above ie 1/2 teaspoon and baby dose is 1/4 or drop doses.
What is a decoction?
A decoction is simply boiling then simmering the roots or more hardy parts for 10-15 mins in order to "draw" out the goodness, then strain as usual eg valerian, marshmallow, dandelion & burdock roots. It reduces the water content but you can always just add in some more at the end if you like. I often add more water to the "leftovers" and get another cup out of it.
Incidentally, marshmallow root can just be steeped overnight in water, then strained and drunk the next day.
How to make a poultice and what is a poultice?
This is the topical application of a herb to the skin for healing.
What are tinctures? When are they best?
Tinctures are a mixture of pure water and a little alcohol. Alcohol extracts certain constituents of a plant that would not come out in water. Tinctures are absorbed very quickly in the body. It is safe to drive after ingesting these although large quantities would show an effect. The usual dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon added to more water 1 - 3 x daily (depending on what is being treated.)
This is like a tincture but using glycerine and not alcohol and is great for those wanting to avoid alcohol.
Make your own herbal capsules
Buy the vegetable capsules from us (ring the shop as not on website yet) and fill with the powdered herb of your choice.
Douches and suppositories
For topical use on joints, fractures, skin conditions. The plant matter is macerated in a base of an oil like olive & left for 2-3 weeks then strained. Apply to body part in need of healing. Calendula and comfrey and St John's wort make wonderful herbal oils.
Children and Babies
Teas, baths, oils and glycerites are suitable. Check with your herbalist for doses before administering tinctures to babies as some may not be appropriate.