Herbal infusions can be taken cold or hot (in the same manner as tea beverage is taken) by adding some sugar, honey or/and, in some cases, salt also.
You need flowers, fresh/dried herbs, host of aerial parts, seeds etc. Take a kettle or tea pot which should have tight lid. First put in 75 gms of fresh herbs or 25 gms of dried herbs and pour 500 ml hot water over the ingredients or simply let the two be mixed in a kettle and closed with a lid which should be tight enough so as not to let out steam. The contents should remain in the container for 10-15 minutes where after the infusion should be strained into a cup by using a strainer. Rest of the quantity may be stored in fridge or cool place. Preparation should be proceed to last for 24 hours so that 3-4 does could be taken daily. So much so for a day’s consumption.
If fresh infusion is required/desired, then put 2TSP of herbs (dried) into the strainer and pour fully boiled water over it, a cover with a lid. Let it infuse for ten minutes and then, after removing the strainer, use it. These cups are called as ‘Tisane cups’ which are not difficult to procure.
As preparing infusions first and then storing in a cool place may seem, to some persons an arduous take, they can use herbal teabags (processed by means of specific herbs for use in particular use/disorder) in the same way as ordinary tea bags are used to prepare a cup of tea. If herbal tea bags are neither handy nor available, then put in 1-2 TSP of dried herbs in a piece of fine cloth (say Muslin) and tie and the same with thread, leaving enough margin at the top to hold the cloth. Let it infuse in a cup of tea for 10-15 minutes in boiled water. Lastly, if the herbs are available in powder (pulverized) form, then add 30gms of powdered herbs to 500 ml hot water-stir with a spoon and drink hot cup, the rest may be stored in a cool place.
In Ayurveda decoctions are known as ‘Quaths’ certain plants have tougher part which, in order to extract their optimum healing properties and other constituents, are required to be decocted/simmered, though it is often said that heating or boiling/simmering a plant takes way its medicinal properties. In order to preserve its quality, process of maceration (i.e. softening the plant by soaking in water.) may be adopted but it is a fact that certain plants remain tough and hard despite being macerated; hence the need to decoct.
For purposes of decoction, dried/fresh berries, roots, seeds and bark are used. No aluminium utensil must ever be used for decocting a plant or any part thereof, instead use enamel, ceramic, glass, stainless steel or fireproof pottery; nylon or plastic sieve for straining purposes and a jug with a tight lid.
General ratio between fresh herbs and water should not exceed 1:30; i.e. If you take 25 gms of herbs and water should not should be added thereto. If more than one herb is required to be used then the ratio should be 1:25 After simmering, residual water content should be stand reduced to 2/3 rd (500ml) quantity. The final quantity, so processed, should last for a whole day, and should be preserved, after being strained, in jug having a lid for covering it, in a cool place.
Process of Preparation
Put in suggested quantity of herb(s) and water in a sauce pan of stainless steel and let it simmer for 25-45 minutes or till the contents come to a boiling point and quantity is reduced to 2/3 rd of total contents. It is better if heat is kept at low/medium level. Now stain the residual contents through a sieve. After taking the first does, store the surplus quantity into a jug and preserve (covered with a lid) the same at a cool place or in a fridge at normal temperature; but not to freezing point, in any case
Blending of Infusion & Decoction
Method of combining infusions/decoctions is intended to combine qualities of flowers, leaves, barks, roots and berries, so as to derive optimum medicinal benefits and that too with quicker and better results. Quantity of the recipes will remain the same as indicated ealier.
Take a saucepan and fill it with 750 ml of cold water and put in roots/bark and berries, and cover the pan with a lid. Let the contents simmer until it is reduced to 2/3 rd quantity. Now take a jug (with lid) or a teapot and put in leaves/dried flowers into it. Next step is to strain the decoction on the dried herbs in the jug/tea-pot and allow the infuse for 10-15 minutes. Finally, strain the combined decocted and infused stuff into a cup. If taste permits, add some honey/unrefined sugar and sip hot. Dosage and frequency will depend upon the intensity and gravity of disorder but, in any case, there must be a gap of 6 hours between each does (i.e.) in all three doses should be taken and not beyond that). It is better to take the mixture hot which should be prepared fresh each time.
Infused oils are utilized for rubbing and massaging purposes on head, forehead, chest, neck, shoulders etc to ward of aches and pains, for general massage, for inducing sleep, to calm down and pacify agitated nerves.]
Roots, aerial parts and dried leaves are used for the processing purposes. Equipment required consists of saucepan, glass bowl/double saucepan, a muslin bag and wine press/Jelly bag, large-sized jug; fully sterilized and airtight bottle (s) (Funnel is optional).
Put 500 ml of sunflower oil to 200 gms of fully dried herb (s) –all should be put in and stored in dark glass bottles and kept in a cool place—away from direct sunlight—and allowed to stay for a year. The bottle should be filled to its 2/3 rd capacity. Occasionally stir the bottle, making sure that the bottle is securely tightened with a cork or lid-cover.
Tablets & Pills
Due to technological advance and keeping in mind variable and nauseating tastes of people, most of the companies process sugar-coated pill/tablets for which they use milk sugar (lactose as a base). Certain persons, being allergic to milk or to other milk products, avoid taking pills. In order to obviate this problems, sugar is used (not milk sugar) for the purpose. Certain companies present pills/tablets in an enteric coated form which are resistant to stomach acid, thus, preventing their dissolution until they reach the lower bowels. The method avoids stomach irritation. Normally a tablet contains 500-600mg contents of ingredients of dried herb
Capsules are made of giletin which can stick anywhere in the food passage if taken without water or any other Vehicle: Herb powder is stored in a capsule to the extent of 600mg (per capsule) which could be a single entity or combination of other herbal powders. If not wrapped in air-tight package, capsules can be distorted under damp weather conditions. Those, who dislike capsules, should take pills/tablets instead, and it applies in reverse order also. If some medicine (herbal) is available in capsule form only and patient despises, it use, he should separate the gelatin portion and take the powder with some water or honey.
Herbal tinctures are obtained by soaking herbal extracts in water and alcohols and then brew is pressed to get a liquid, the colour of which is either dark green or brown. Many herbal extracts can be mixed together.
To get 25 % resultant water, mixture or alcohol, 100 gms of dried herb/herbs should be placed in a big jar which should be big enough to accommodate 165 ml water and 335 ml Vodka (of 37.5% potential). This mixture is to be retained in a jar, having a screwed top, and kept under sun/shake for about 15 days, but shaken/stirr3ed almost once daily. After the said period, use a muslin jelly bag or wine press to strain the mixture which should be retained and stored in a clean bottle of glass. Normal does is 1 TSP (5 ml) thrice day. This mixture (tincture) can be safely retained for a period of two years, if protected properly.
These are generally palatable and easier to take than tablets/pills/capsules, due to their sweetened taste. Generally syrups are used for coughs and inflamed throat conditions or in the form of tonics or as Vehicles (as used with Ayurvedic medicines). Sugar is the excipient that is used for processing syrups such as from hyssop, liquorice, marshmallow, elecampane, thyme etc, as also from potent expectorants like squills and Ipecacuanha. General (adult) does is from 5-10 ml thrice daily.
Juices or herbs are extracted from herbs, like oats, chamomile, dandaleon onion, lemon balm, St. John’s Wort, Rosemary, Valerian, Thyme, and Yarrow etc. Herbal juices can be taken independently or combined with tinctures. Certain herbal juices are not palatable; hence some honey/sugar to taste may be added thereto. If a bottle of juice has been opened, the same should be placed in a fridge. It is; however, better to prepare fresh juices, as and when required.