Making your own herbal remedies infusions, compress, tincture, poultice and decoction

Nicholas Culpeper
Nicholas Culpeper

I don’t have many hero’s but I will admit to having more than just a little admiration for a 17th century botanist and herbalist. Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) was a great man who believed that everyone should be able to treat themselves. I and many others believe that he was at least partly responsible for the idea of the NHS here and the UK and free health care for all. Previously the elite were very much in charge (as seems to be the case across the pond).  Only the wealthy College of Physicians ‘London Pharmacopaeia’ written in Latin could treat the sick. ing the

He basically did what we try and do with selfsufficientish.com and he translated/published this book and made deliberately cheap so that everyone could use it as a self help book.

In the same vain I think that herbal medicine need not cost a thing, especially if you pick or grow the herbs your self. (I should say for legal reasons, the stuff about talking to a trained herblist before taking anything, don’t take anything if on prescription drugs without talking to your medical person first, don’t put anything in your mouth if you don’t know what it is first and if symptoms are life threatening get your self to hospital sharpish!

When I first got interested in herbal remedies I did not know my compresses from my infusions so below is a basic description to help you understand those herbal texts and also how to make your own herbal remedies.

How to make your own Herbal Infusion/ Herbal Teas

Tea pot herbs
Tea pot herbs

The word tea might give this one away a bit as an infusion is simply made by pouring boiling water onto a herb or herbs sitting in a tea pot. This particularly suits leaves and flowers. For example pour 250ml (half a pint) onto 15g (half ounce) of hops with 15g of chamomile flowers to make a tea or infusion that will help relax a person. After pouring the boiling water onto the herb in a tea pot it may be strained into cup. It is noteworthy that many herbs are not to our modern pallet and so will benefit from a spoonful of honey. – If you don’t have a tea pot then herbs such as rosemary and sage which won’t crumble to nothing in the cup can just have hot water poured onto them in a mug then can be fished out when infused and drunk.

Many books will dictate an amount of time to allow for infusion, just use your common sense if the water still look pretty clear then you should leave for longer if it is starting to look like a pint of Guinness then you have probably left the infusion for too long.

Some herb remedies and older herb books will recommend a wine glassful on a number of occasions throughout the day. This is simplicity itself pour boiling water over the herbs and allow to infuse and cool. Strain the liquid into another bottle and keep in the fridge. I tend to use my 1litre (2 pints) tea pot for this job. This can be kept for 4-5 days.

How to make Herbal Decoctions

I kept reading decoctions in various book, take this as a decoction and for the life of me I could not work out what is mean. Think of it as a long infusion for herbs reluctant to share their properties.

This is particularly useful for roots and barks or the woody parts of a herb. Put the herb into a saucepan, pour cold water over the herb and bring to the boil, you can put the lid half on just to keep some heat in and still allow the water to evaporate. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the water has decreased by about a third.

This can then be strained and drank straight away as you would an infusion or allowed to cool, decanted and put into the fridge. It can be kept for 4-5 days although it is better to use it sooner rather than later to ensure maximum potency.

How to make a Poultice

I mention using a poultice for eczema in our book (The Selfsufficientish Bible) using green cabbage leaves. The herb is sometimes warmed and cut up and put onto the infected area and secured with a bandage or an old cotton t-shirt cup into strips. It can then be left for up to 4 hours and if needs be the same herb poultice can be reapplied.

How to make a Compress

Herbal compress
Herbal compress

A hot compress is useful when you can’t ingest a herb. For example in time of extreme vomiting after a heavy night out I soak a flannel in a ginger infusion and place it on my belly. I absorb the ginger through my skin.

I have just described how to make a hot compress, for a cool one guess what; you just allow the infusion to cool.

How to make Tinctures

A tincture is an extract of a herb preserved in a liquid, normally alcohol and water. A tincture will keep for years and is normally quite a potent way of taking a herb as nothing is lost.

To make simply put you into a jar and add your favourite spirit, leave to stand for a month shaking occasionally (the jar not your self, unless you are drinking the spirit daily then you might not be able to help it). Then pour the mixture through a muslin bag or old t-shirt, ensuring that you squeeze out as much as you can, pour the final liquid into a dark bottle and store in a cupboard. Do make sure you label as it is not always easy to tell your tinctures apart.

an who believed that everyone should be able to treat themselves. I and many others believe that he was at least partly responsible for the idea of the NHS here and the UK and free health care for all. Previously the elite were very much in charge (as seems to be the case across the pond).  Only the wealthy College of Physicians ‘London Pharmacopaeia’ written in Latin could treat the sick. ing the

He basically did what we try and do with selfsufficientish.com and he translated/published this book and made deliberately cheap so that everyone could use it as a self help book.

In the same vain I think that herbal medicine need not cost a thing, especially if you pick or grow the herbs your self. (I should say for legal reasons, the stuff about talking to a trained herblist before taking anything, don’t take anything if on prescription drugs without talking to your medical person first, don’t put anything in your mouth if you don’t know what it is first and if symptoms are life threatening get your self to hospital sharpish!

When I first got interested in herbal remedies I did not know my compresses from my infusions so below is a basic description to help you understand those herbal texts and also how to make your own herbal remedies.

How to make your own Herbal Infusion/ Herbal Teas

The word tea might give this one away a bit as an infusion is simply made by pouring boiling water onto a herb or herbs sitting in a tea pot. This particularly suits leaves and flowers. For example pour 250ml (half a pint) onto 15g (half ounce) of hops with 15g of chamomile flowers to make a tea or infusion that will help relax a person. After pouring the boiling water onto the herb in a tea pot it may be strained into cup. It is noteworthy that many herbs are not to our modern pallet and so will benefit from a spoonful of honey. – If you don’t have a tea pot then herbs such as rosemary and sage which won’t crumble to nothing in the cup can just have hot water poured onto them in a mug then can be fished out when infused and drunk.

Many books will dictate an amount of time to allow for infusion, just use your common sense if the water still look pretty clear then you should leave for longer if it is starting to look like a pint of Guinness then you have probably left the infusion for too long.

Some herb remedies and older herb books will recommend a wine glassful on a number of occasions throughout the day. This is simplicity itself pour boiling water over the herbs and allow to infuse and cool. Strain the liquid into another bottle and keep in the fridge. I tend to use my 1litre (2 pints) tea pot for this job. This can be kept for 4-5 days.

How to make Herbal Decoctions

I kept reading decoctions in various book, take this as a decoction and for the life of me I could not work out what is mean. Think of it as a long infusion for herbs reluctant to share their properties.

This is particularly useful for roots and barks or the woody parts of a herb. Put the herb into a saucepan, pour cold water over the herb and bring to the boil, you can put the lid half on just to keep some heat in and still allow the water to evaporate. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer until the water has decreased by about a third.

This can then be strained and drank straight away as you would an infusion or allowed to cool, decanted and put into the fridge. It can be kept for 4-5 days although it is better to use it sooner rather than later to ensure maximum potency.

How to make a Poultice

I mention using a poultice for eczema in our book (The Selfsufficientish Bible) using green cabbage leaves. The herb is sometimes warmed and cut up and put onto the infected area and secured with a bandage or an old cotton t-shirt cup into strips. It can then be left for up to 4 hours and if needs be the same herb poultice can be reapplied.

How to make a Compress

A hot compress is useful when you can’t ingest a herb. For example in time of extreme vomiting after a heavy night out I soak a flannel in a ginger infusion and place it on my belly. I absorb the ginger through my skin.

I have just described how to make a hot compress, for a cool one guess what; you just allow the infusion to cool.

How to make Tinctures

A tincture is an extract of a herb preserved in a liquid, normally alcohol and water. A tincture will keep for years and is normally quite a potent way of taking a herb as nothing is lost.

To make simply put you into a jar and add your favourite spirit, leave to stand for a month shaking occasionally (the jar not your self, unless you are drinking the spirit daily then you might not be able to help it). Then pour the mixture through a muslin bag or old t-shirt, ensuring that you squeeze out as much as you can, pour the final liquid into a dark bottle and store in a cupboard. Do make sure you label as it is not always easy to tell your tinctures apart.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Be Sociable, Share!

1 Comment on Making your own herbal remedies infusions, compress, tincture, poultice and decoction

  1. i think that the idea of using herbal medicines is great. Our forfathers did it and cured or eleviated alot of things in their day and the best part of this is; that you can almost eliminate the use of harmful chemicals that pollute almost everything.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*