Plant tinctures and extracts to tonify the body's organs and systems
Herbal medicine uses a range of plant preparations to relieve symptoms, cleanse and tonify the main organs, and restore function to the body as a whole. Personalized formulations made by a naturopath or Western herbalist usually consist of several different liquid herbal tinctures blended together. Other prescriptions may use herbal teas (infusions or decoctions) or dried powder in a capsule or tablet form.
When storing herbal medicine, it is best to keep your herbal preparations in a cool, dark place away from sunlight or heat. Herbal tinctures can be dispensed in a 100ml or 200ml bottle, where the usual dose is 5ml (1 tsp) two or three times daily in water or juice. Alternatively, the tincture can be dispensed in a 25ml dropper bottle, and the dose is 10 - 20 drops in water or juice two or three times daily. It is important to shake the bottle well before measuring out a dose.
Herbal tinctures are usually created in a base of alcohol to help extract the non-water soluble ingredients from a herb. The alcohol can be evaporated by adding a dose to some boiling water and letting the tea stand for 15 minutes before consuming.
Infusions (or teas) are made by pouring boiling water on some dried herbs (1 tsp per cup) and leaving the medicine to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking. The tea may be sweetened if required, and is best consumed when it is warm. Infusions are usually made from flowers (chamomile, hibiscus), leaves (peppermint, rosemary), berries (hawthorn, rose hips), or seeds (fennel, aniseed).
Decoctions are herbal teas made from the bark or root of a plant. The herbs ( 1tsp dried herb or 1 tbsp fresh herb for each cup of water) are added to boiling water and the mixture is simmered for 10 to 15 minutes. The preparation is then strained while the tea is still hot and consumed when warm.