Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chinese decoctions

Chinese remedies are generally dispensed by practitioners in separate bags containing enough dried herb for each dose. This is traditionally boiled in three cups of water in an earthenware or ceramic pot for 25-30 minutes until the liquid has reduced by half. The mix is then strained and taken in a single dose on an empty stomach in the morning. Sometimes the herbs need to be reheated in fresh water and then the two extractions are combined. The same herbs might be used for the following day's brew, depending on the exact mix: if it contains soluble ingredients, such as certain mineral salts, then a fresh prescription will be needed each day. The decoction (known as Tang (soup) ) is generally extremely dark brown and very strongly flavored. Chinese doses are much larger than those used by Western herbalists (often up to 3 1/2 Oz/90g ) and the resulting mix is usually rather unpleasant for Western palates.

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