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A - Z of Home Remedies & Cures

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Decoctions - Herbal Preparations

Decoction, Decoctions - Herbal Preparations


A Decoction is an extract of herbs produced by boiling the herbs in water. This method is used for hard seeds, roots, barks and woody herbs, which need a longer time steeping than infusions. Although decoctions require prolonged simmering, they still contain the essential medicinal qualities of fresh herbs. Decoctions are also a method of reducing and preserving water extracts.

Decoctions can be made using hot or cold water and allowing it to steep for a shorter time, fewer hours, rather than steeping overnight.

Decoctions can be drunk as teas or made into gargles, washes, lotions, compresses, douches, honeys and syrups. They can also be added to baths or used as ingredients in creams and oils.

Decoctions are made by adding bruised or ground herbs (60 grams/2 ½ ounces of fresh herbs, 40 grams/1 ½ ounces of dried herbs) to a bowl and adding boiling water (900ml/1 ½ pints/4 cups). Leave the decoction to steep overnight. In the morning, put the herbs and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it is boiling reduce the heat and put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for 20-minutes.

Decoctions: Remove pan from the heat and strain, using a fine cloth in a strainer. Squeeze out all the liquid and discard the herbs, you now have a standard decoction, which can be drank neat or kept for 2-3 days.

Decoction Storage: Do not keep your decoction refrigerated for longer than 3-4 days. To keep longer add to ice-cube trays, freeze, and place in a container in the freezer. Your decoction can be frozen for up to 3-months.

Always seek the advice of your doctor before taking herbal medications



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