Gardening SIG: Herbal Preparations

Herbal Preparations
Teas have the most benefit for chronic aliments. If they are used for a consistent length of time they work gradually and often have positive results. The menstrumm (the substance used to extract the plant constituents) in teas is water. It is easy and simple.

Infusion or tisanes is simply the way to remove the vitamins, mucilage, and volatile oils from the herbs. The herbs are not boiled but steeped for at least 20 minutes. Decoctions method is used to extract the material form roots, barks, seeds and nuts. The herbs are simmered and the volume of water is reduced to about half the amount you initially started out with.

Medicinal Oils
Medicinal oils are used from everything to ear aches to massage oils. They are used externally. The second type are essential oils these are distilled and highly concentrated and contain the volatile oils of the plant. This type should never be ingested. You should seek the advice of a professional.

Tinctures are highly concentrated liquid extracts of herbs. There are basically three types of menstrumm (liquid used to extract the chemical constituents of the herbs ) used for tinctures. Alcohol, usually vodka, brandy, grain alcohol, glycerine, and vinegar. The herbs maturate from anywhere from two weeks or longer.

Are made from a medicinal oil which is used to extract the medicinal properties of the herb. Beeswax is often use to make the salve/ointments solid. They are used externally. Remember things like ben gay and vicks vapor rub as a youngster, they would fall into this category.

Basically similar to a tincture and used externally. A commercial example of this would be ivy dry.

Are made with herbs that have been powered herbs and are chewed or suckled on.

Herbs are powered and placed into capsule. Unlike tincture or teas, capsules need to be digested by the body which can slow down the receiving benefit. However, tinctures and teas go directly to the bloodstream.

Herbs are powered and made into a suppository in an oil and melted and turns into a solid such as coca butter or coconut oil.

Herbs are grounded and moisten and applied directly to the affected area.

Herbs are made into teas or tincture, and applied as a douche for aliments like yeast infections.

Herbs are used in liquid form such as a tea and used as an enema.

Tonics are herbs that are also made with a menstrumm and are taken daily. They are used to tone or correct a specific problem. Tonics stimulate nutrition by assisting the assimilation of essential nutrients by the organs, and increase systemic tone due to the increase strength and energy to the tissues of either a specific organ/or the whole body.

Chinese Herbs
The Chinese have used herbs as preventative medicine for many years. They used herbs based in their energy . There are broken down into two categories. Energy tonics, blood tonics. They are prescribed based on the yang or yin energy force. It is important to remember that yin and yang or not separate but are interconnected and a combination of herbs are usually used.

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