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How to make medicine from a herb?

Updated on December 14, 2011

There are few ways that can be used to make a remedy from a herb. 4 of them can be made at home. They are

  • Infusion;
  • Decoction;
  • Tincture and
  • Extract.

Natural herb, even comsumed raw, cannot be assimilated fully. Some compounds are soluble in water, other in oils, spirits, ether, acids etc.

All you have in your body is saliva and stomach juice (mainly hydrochloric acid and mucus). You need the right medium to carry the herbal compounds to the blood stream.

To make any of the above - you need to cut the dried herbs (in some cases such as ginseng root extract - raw instead of dried). Cut them to 5 mm pieces (1/5-th inch) or less. If you have grinder for spices or mortar and pestle - crush them as small as possible

Nice infuser
Nice infuser | Source

Decoction preparation

You need an infuser for tea. It is a small porcelain or metal egg (or box (or cylinder)) with small holes (or mesh) and lid.

The finely cut or crushed herb is placed in the infuser.

The infuser is placed into boiling water for 10-15 minutes (how much - depends on the herb).

After this, the container is removed from the hot plates, covered with its lid and left to cool.

After cooling, the decoction is sifted (if needed) and kept in a bottle with good plug or cork.

Infusion in French press
Infusion in French press | Source

Infusion preparation

You may again use infuser, but for this you may also prefer other means such as the french espresso press. It is quite useful tool for herbal infusions. You only need boiling water.

Crushed herbs are placed in the infuser or press and boiling water is poured over. The vessel is then covered with its lid and left to cool.

Some infusions need acid agent to solve the needed compounds from the herb. Such acids are easily found at home in lemons and vinegar.

When indicated you should add it - Use only natural apple vinegar or freshly squeezed lemons.

Other infusions, do not need heating (infusa frigida paratum). The herbs are left in clean (really clean) cold water for 12 hours at room temperature. After this, the herbs are sifted (or otherwise removed) and the infusion is ready for consumption.

Tinctures and extracts.
Tinctures and extracts. | Source

Tincture and extract preparation

There are three methods of making tinctures and extracts that can be done at home. They are either herbal compounds dissolved in

  1. Spirits,
  2. spirits and water or
  3. spirits and ethers.

You probably don't have ether at home, but spirits are everywhere. The most pure is the ethanol found in Vodka, but you can also go to the pharmacy to buy pure ethanol.

Tinctures are made by soaking the dry herb (Macceratio) in the solvent until the chemical compounds pass in the solvent. This is the way the medicine was actually done in just 2-3 centuries ago.

Extracts are much more potent than tinctures, but basically the same method is used. It sometimes involve heating, until the spirits/water/ethers/oils are evaporated partly (or fully).

Herbal extracts can be liquid (Extracta fluida), very dense (Extracta spissum) or completely dry (Extracts siccum). The last is done mainly on spirit and ether extract that has their liquid part completely evaporated by heating. The resulting hard mass can be made to a pill, capsule or candified with sugar coating for easier consumption. That was also done 2-3 centuries ago by the medical doctors of the past. Pill is short of "pillule" - a small round capsule of medicine, rolled by hand.

Dense extracts can also be made with olive or sunflower oil in any kitchen with herbs that are good for external application on skin or hair.

Oils are easy to transfer chemical compounds inside the skin or the hair follicle. And some herbs are absolutely not good to be swallowed.


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    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 4 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      Thank you Wilma.

    • profile image

      Wilma Thacker 4 years ago

      I think that it's very useful and very interesting. As I rated it useful.

    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 6 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      My point exactly. I support my BP and some bad migraine attacks by herbs only. Last time I've had antibiotics was 4 years ago.

      The only chemistry I still allow myself is just Aspirin once in a while.

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      good stuff...we have the capability to be our own medics with the god-given herbs.