If you’re a fan of natural healing with herbs, you’ve probably been confused at times about the different ways herbs can be prepared for your use in treating conditions. There are quite a few ways to do this and I’ll list them below.
First, know that the terminology may be confusing, but the processes are simple and allow you to enhance your herbal experience in any way you see fit. Depending on which methods you use in herbal preparation, you may need a scale, blender, (or grinder), glassware you can heat, enamel pots and double boilers that don’t contain aluminum or copper, cheesecloth, a strainer, wooden spoons, and jars with lids.
Let’s get started. Below are common ways to prepare your own herbals.
Hydrotherapy is an important aspect of naturopathic medicine. Primarily used for topical diseases, such as skin disorders, herbal baths can be made by adding large amounts of an herb to a cloth bag and submerging it in the bath to mix with the water. (For more information visit our page: Herbal Spa >>)
Similar to a tea, pour a pint of boiling water over an ounce of the dried herb and steep for around ten minutes. A cold extract is prepared with cold water, when you add two ounces of herbs to the water and let it sit for up to twelve hours before drinking. A decoction is best used with bitter herbs, so that you can just boil the plant and strain it into a cup for consumption.
Powered / Ground Herbs
If you need to take the herb in powder form, you’ll need to pulverize it using a blender or mortar and pestle. After breaking the herb up into smaller parts, you continue grinding it until it’s in powder form and can be added to foods, drinks, and soups.
You can also purchase gelatin capsules and fill them with your chosen herb or herbal blend / formula.
Once you have the powder, you can create a tincture by mixing four ounces of the herb to two and a half cups 60-proof alcohol (or higher.100 proof Vodka is what I have used in the past). After the mixture sits in a warm environment for fourteen days (shake occasionally), it can be strained and very small amounts can be added to water as a tea mixture, or consumed straight. (Dropper bottles can be purchased online or in most herb stores that carry bulk herbs.)
Herbal Ointments and Creams
There are times when an herb should be used topically. Ointments and creams can be created by making adding one part herbal powder to four parts petroleum jelly. If you want to save it for continued use, be sure to add some gum benzoin to each ounce.
Herb Compresses or Poultice
To make a compress with an herb or blend, soak a cloth in the infusion (see above) and apply it to the distressed area. You can create both hot and cold herbal compresses, depending on what you need. A poultice is similar to a compress, but instead of using a liquid infusion, you would use mashed up parts of the herb and apply it in a gauze bandage directly to the affected area.
I’m happy to answer any questions you may have about creating your own herbal preparations in the comments section.
Have you ever prepared your own herbal remedies? If so, what have you tried and how did you do?