A suppository shaped lozenge intended for use in the vagina or rectum. May
be used to pull out toxic substances or to carry healing herbs. Generally
made with a carrier herb such as slippery elm and a solid fat, they are cooled
until they can be shaped, and then allowed to harden at room temperature.
The fat melts at body temperature, allowing the herbs to come in contact
with tissues and then run out.
Ground herbs are inserted into hard gelatin capsules. A very convenient way
to take herbs, and useful for herbs that would be unpleasant to taste, but
the body may not be able to extract all the active ingredients from whole
Any preparation that involves two or more herbs. Be aware that the effects
of two herbs may or may not be simply additive when taken together...the
ingredients could cancel or enhance each other's effects.
A fluid extract of herbs that is strengthened by allowing the fluid to
evaporate; this may be accomplished by allowing alcohol to evaporate at
room temperature, or by simmering water extracts until fluid volume is
A water-based preparation to extract active compounds of herbs,
made by boiling the plant parts for
some period. This method is used to prepare water extracts of the coarse
and heavy parts of plants, including roots, seeds, bark, and chips.
(see INFUSION for how to prepare fluid extracts of
leaves and flowers.) Generally must be used within 24 hours. Longevity
may be enhanced by refrigeration or preservatives such as glycerine.
To prepare a day's supply, put about 90 g of plant material into a stainless steel, porcelain, or Pyrex
pot and add 1L cold water. Cover while bringing to a boil and simmering for
20 minutes. Allow to cool to body temperature and strain into a container.
Decoctions and infusions may be drunk as teas, hot or cold. They may be
used in baths, hip-baths, sitz-baths, foot-baths, sponge baths, enemas,
douches, eye-washes, gargles, fomentations, or compresses. They may be
combined in compounds, ointments, lotions, liniments, etc.
A large amount (3-8 cups) of fluid introduced into the rectum through an
enema tube. Generally used for cleansing the bowel, although medicated
enemas are also used. For medicated enemas, a water preparation such as
an infusion or decoction is used. Enemas are usually introduced at body
temperature or slightly above.
Special preparations which extract the volatile components of aromatic herbs.
Generally distilled, but can also be prepared by pressing, maceration, or
effleurage. Produces a very concentrated "oil" that has a distinctive
scent responsible for its healing properties. Although called "oils" these
liquids are not fatty, and good quality essential oils will not leave a fat
ring on paper when they dissolve. Used in strengths of 1-3% in massage oils
or used in baths (about 10 drops), steams (3-5 drops), or compresses
Essential oils are the products used in the area of plant medicine known as
"aromatherapy." As well as the preparations mentioned above, these oils can
exert a beneficial effect when allowed to evapourate in a room, scenting it.
The dispersal process can be enhanced using heat, as in putting the oils into
a ring placed on a lightbulb or into a waterbath placed over a candle, or by
forceful expulsion into the air, by means of pump diffusers.
A preparation made by using any of a number of solvents ( eg. water,
alcohol, glycerine, oil, fat, etc.) to extract the essential medicinal
constituents of a herb. A water or alcohol extract may contain
different constituents than an oil extract of the same herb, and both
may be used for different purposes.
HEATED EXTRACTS are prepared by simmering or boiling a herbal agent
in solvent, and COLD EXTRACTS are prepared by putting about twice as much herbal material
as for an infusion into cold solvent and allowing it to sit for 8-12 hours.
It is generally best to prepare any extract at the coolest temperature
that will allow extraction of the desired ingredients. Always use covered
vessels to avoid losing volatile components.
A STANDARDISED EXTRACT is
one prepared to guarantee a specific concentration of a particular active
substance; many commercial preparations are standardised extracts.
Strictly speaking, this is not a herbal preparation, because virtually no
plant material is present in a flower essence. It is made by picking the
flowers at a time when they are at their peak vitality, and floating them in a bowl
of spring water for 2-6 hours in the sun or moonlight. The essential
energies of the flowers are absorbed into the water during this time, helped
by the action of the light. Flower essences are believed to exert a beneficial effect by working on an
energetic level in the aura.
The fluid carrying these energies is preserved
by the addition of 40% alcohol, making the Mother Tincture. Three drops
of this mixture is added to 1 ounce of another 40% alcohol mixture to make
the Stock Bottle. Stock strength essences are available from a number of
companies. The dosage bottle is made by adding three drops of a Stock
solution to one ounce of water, and preserved with one teaspoon of brandy.
Up to six different stock essences can be combined in a Dosage Bottle,
depending on the current need of the recipient. This mixture is taken by
placing four drops under the tongue four times daily.
Technically, an extract prepared in alcohol or glycerine, as opposed to a water extract.
A herbal preparation made by dipping a piece of natural fibre fabric in an
infusion, decoction or other water extract, wringing it out so it doesn't drip, and placing it
on the body. This technique is used to draw out poison, reduce
inflammation, or reduce pain. Usually applied as hot as can be tolerated.
A hot apple cider vinegar fomentation is often used for arthritis.
Also called a COMPRESS.
Water is poured over herbs and they are allowed to steep, like making tea.
Infusions are made from the more delicate parts of a plant like leaves and
A STANDARD INFUSION is made by pouring 1 cup of boiling water for each
30 grams of herbal material over the herb, and allowing it to steep, covered,
for 15-20 minutes. The liqiud is strained and drunk hot. A day's supply
can be made at one time; it may be stored in the refigerator and heated prior
to use. Non-standard HOT INFUSIONS can be made in this way using other proportions
of herb to water if such is indicated for the herb in question.
A COLD INFUSION is made using the same proportions of herb to cold water,
and allowing it to steep in a sealed container for 6-12 hours.
See DECOCTIONS for the different ways
infusions can be used.
A small (1-2 cup) enema or douche.
Also called an EXPRESSION, a juice is made by pressing juice from a fresh
herb. Can be prepared with an electric or hand juicer, or a press. Can
be made by placing the herb in muslin and grinding with a pestle. Often
considered the best way to extract the healing properties of a herb.
A liquid or semi-liquid preparation of a herb intended for application by
massage. Could be an oil, tincture, or liquid. Usually used as an anodyne or
Finely ground herbs are mixed in some mucilage-rich preparation such as
Slippery Elm, Marshmallow root, or Gum Tragacanth and shaped into "pills"
for oral consumption.
Synonymous with COLD INFUSION.
Prepared by mixing the herb, crushed or whole, with a botanical oil to
extract the fat soluble components. Two parts of oil to one part of herb
is the ideal ratio for many herbs. Use a high quality cold-pressed oil
and be sure herbs are free of moisture. Usually allowed to steep for
several days and then strained.
Soft, semi-solid preparations prepared with a solid fat and beeswax.
Generally prepared using infusions or decoctions heated with oil to
evaporate the water, then adding lard or lanolin, then beeswax. A bit of
tincture of Benzoin is often added as a preservative.
Generally, prepare water or liquid extracts of the herbs that are to be the
active ingredients, and place in pot with 90 g lard or vegetable fat and
90 ml almond oil. One could substitute lanolin, wheatgerm oil, cocoa butter,
Vitamin E, or Evening Primrose oil for some of the almond oil to make an
ointment more nourishing to the skin. Heat at the lowest heat that will
allow the fat to melt, until the water has simmered completely away, leaving
the herbal components incorporated in the fat; you have reached this point
when bubbling stops. At this point, add 60 grams or parafin or beeswax and stir
until melted and completely blended. If a perishable base is used, add a
drop of tincture or oil of benzoin as a preservative. Pour the mixture
into a sterile container and allow to set. Ointment can be made harder by
using more wax or softer by adding more solid fat.
A soft, semi-solid, usually heated herbal mass is spread on a cloth, wrapped
in it, and then applied to the body. Different from a
FOMENTATION in that
herb parts are included in the poultice. Acts to draw out poison, reduce
inflammation, or reduce pain. Some hot herbs such as mustard are used in
poultices as counter-irritants.
Prepared as described above for an OINTMENT,
but generally with less beeswax to be slightly softer.
A sweet, sticky herbal preparation designed to make strong flavoured herbs
palatable for children or fussy adults. May be made by boiling herbs in
honey or glycerine, or by adding these sweeteners to extracts.
Fluid extracts using alcohol, glycerine, or vinegar. Typically made by
steeping one part herb in two parts of effluent for ten to fourteen days,
shaking daily. The extracting liquid actually acts as a preservative, and
alcohol tinctures have a virtually perpetual shelf-life. Witches like to
prepare these mixtures at the new moon and let them mature until the full
moon, when they are strained.
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