Guidelines on how to use Herbs

Natural Healing Index

TEA

1-2 Tsp dry powdered herb or 3 tsp crushed fresh leaves.

1 Cup boiled water.

Honey to sweeten, if required.

Steep the herbs for 5-10 minutes.

Cool and strain.

Drink 1 Cup 3 x per day or as required.


DECOCTION

A concentrated form of a hot infusion tea.  4 x stronger than a tea.

Very good for woody parts or roots, where the beneficial chemicals are not being released easily.

Great for those that are unlikely to drink enough of a hot tea (children, animals etc).

Ingredients:

Cold distilled/purified water.

A glass, ceramic or earthenware pot.  No metal.

28g of dry herb per 500ml water.

Only stores for 3 days in the fridge so make a quantity that will be used.  Alternatively freeze it in ice trays.  And you can also add 2 Tbsp Vodka per cup, for preservation.

  1. Cut, chop or grind the herbs into small pieces.  Place it into cold water, into the cooking pot.
  2. Soak for a few hours.
  3. Cover and bring to a slow boil, reduce the heat and simmer.
  4. Simmer until the volume of liquid is reduced to ½ the original volume (approximately 15-20 minutes).
  5. Strain with a sterile cheesecloth into a sterile jar with a lid.  Once it is cooled, squeeze the leftover herbs to remove all the liquid.
  6. Use within 48 hours or refrigerate in an air tight container for no longer than 3 days, or freeze.

Dosage:

A healthy adult can take 1 cup up to 3 times per day, depending on the herb.

For a Double Decoction: (useful for shredded bark and dried roots where the compounds release slowly)

Step 2. Allow them to soak for 12 hours in cold water before bringing to the boil and simmering.

Step 4. Simmer down to where ¼ of the volume is left.

This increases the concentration.

Dosage:

Adults – 1 Tbsp

Children – ½ tsp


INFUSIONS

Heat draws energy out.  But some herbs prefer cold infusions: lemon balm, comfrey, marshmallow, slipper elm etc.

  1.  Place loose herbs in water.  Leave for 48 hours minimum.  Strain.

OR

  • Put crushed leaves into a cloth/bag and tie it to the top of the jar/cup.  1tsp per ½ cup of water.  Leave for 48 hours.  Strain. 

Dry herbs are to be moistened prior to placing into a cold infusion.


OIL INFUSIONS

Cold Oil infusion: (done at room temperature, takes longer – up to 6-8 weeks)

Ingredients:

Torn or crushed dry herbs of your choice.

Organic carrier oil: olive, sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, baobab, apricot, emu, argan, tamanu or avocado. 

Lasts 1-2 years.

Hot Oil infusion: (done at room temperature, takes longer – up to 6-8 weeks)

Ingredients:

Torn or crushed dry herbs of your choice.

Organic carrier oil: olive, sweet almond, grapeseed, jojoba, baobab, apricot, emu, argan, tamanu or avocado. 

Crockpot with a low setting or a pot on the stove top on a low setting.

  1. Tear or crush the dried herbs.  Lightly pack them into a clean, sterile glass jar 1/3 full.
  2. Pour the organic oil over the herbs, leaving 1.25cm of space at the top of the jar.  Mix it well to remove air bubbles.  Place the cap tightly on.  Label the product with the “herb” and the “date”.
  3. Place the jar in a crockpot of water or on the stove top on low.  Leave for 4-7 days.  Make sure the crockpot or stove doesn’t run out of water.
  4. Once cool, strain out the herbs with a sterile cheesecloth into a sterile glass jar.

Lasts 1-2 years.

You can use fresh herbs here.  But then leave off the cap of the jar to let moisture evaporate and make sure the water from the pot doesn’t get in.


TINCTURE

Medical extracts of herbs.

Herbal concoctions in alcohol, vinegar or glycerine.

Alcohol is best as it:

  • Draws all the chemical compounds from the herb.
  • Allows for faster absorption into the bloodstream and stomach wall.
  • Is a preservative to allow forever lasting.
  • Kills all micro-organisms.

It only runs the risk of evaporation.

40% alcohol is required, so Vodka is best.

  1. Fill a sterile glass jar 1/3 to ½ full of dried herbs.  Be sure not to pack them down.  If using fresh herbs, fill the glass jar to half the amount, so ¼ full.
  2. Fill the jar with alcohol, leave 1.25cm of space above.
  3. Stir well, close the lid.  Date and label it.
  4. Store in a cool, dry place.
  5. Shake the jar once a day.

4 weeks to 6 months to fully extract.

Most herbs will be extracted by 2 months.

  • Strain and rebottle in a sterile container.

Shelf life of up to 7 years.

Dosage: Adults ½ – 1 tsp per day.   Children ¼ – 1/3 of adult dose.


POULTICE

Very good for burns, cuts, wounds, infections, joints, bruises, chest conditions, splinters etc.

Use fresh herbs here for maximum benefit.

  1. Tear/cut the herb finely, or crush them with a mortar and pestle (the idea is to break the leaves up to release the energy).
  2. Wet them, with hot water for circulation, or with cold water for inflammation and swelling.
  3. Apply a generous quantity of the herbs to the wound. 
  4. Place a gauze over it and bandage it up to secure it. 

It must be kept damp, so it will need to be changed frequently throughout the day.

If using dry herbs, soak them with warm water first to soften them, so they don’t hurt the skin and to bring out their medicinal qualities.


SALVE

You will need infused oil for this method.

Requirements:

Double boiler

Infused oil

Beeswax

Procedure:

Pour infused oil into the top of the double boiler.

Add the beeswax and melt it.

Ratio: 4 parts infused oil to 1-part beeswax (e.g.: 4 cups: 1 cup).

Mix together until the wax has melted.

Add 15-20 drops of an essential oil for each 250ml oil, for added healing.

You can also add some Vitamin E to avoid rancidity.  ½ tsp per 250ml.

Mix it well.

Check the consistency, if too hard, add a bit more oil, if too soft, add a bit more beeswax.

When mixed well and a good consistency, pour into a container, label and date it.


DRYING HERBS

To dry the herbs, you can tie them up in a bundle and hang them upside down in a dry, cool area until dry and crisp.  Alternatively, you can buy a herbal dehydrator to dry them.  This will be necessary for the more humid climates. 

Dry herbs are available for sale quite easily.



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