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Herbal roots, berries, and barks need to be made into decoctions to extract the active ingredients. The usual Western dose is 1 Oz/25g of dried root to l 1/2pt/ 750ml of water, simmered in a stainless-steel or enamel saucepan until-the volume has reduced by about one-third, then strained. Stare in a pitcher in a cool place and use in three wine-glass doses during the day, reheating it if preferred. Decoctions may be flavored with a little honey.


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Ayurvedic remedies

Traditionaly ayurvedic remedies are taken as fresh juices, pastes, or purees, generally mixed with ghee or oil; as decoctions; as hot and cold infusions; or as macerations. The traditional proportion for decoctions is one part herb to 16 parts water, which is then simmered until the volume has reduced to one-quarter of the original This process takes several hours to complete. Hot infusions use the proportion of one part herb to eight parts boiling water, with the infusion being left for up to 12 hours, rather than the 10-15 minutes that are generally allowed in the West. Some ayurvedic practitioners In the West recommend increasing the dosage and cutting the simmering or infusion time to Western proportions in order to make the preparation more compatible with Western lifestyles. Decoctions can be simmered until three-quarters of the water is left and dosages doubled or trebled, with a similar increase in dosages for a minimum hot-infusion time of 30 minutes. Milk decoctions are made…

Tonic wines

A daily glass of tonic wine is a delightful way to take herbal remedies. A crockery vinegar vat is best, although a large rum pot or glass jar is also suitable. Fill the vat with the chosen tonic herb-ideally using a root remedy such as ginger, licorice, or Dang Gui rather than leafy parts-then cover with a good-quality red wine (preferably organic). Leave the mix for at least two weeks before drawing the liquid off in a daily sherry-glass dose (2-3f1 oz/60-75ml). Keep the herb covered with more red wine to prevent it from going moldy. The wine will continue to extract active constituents from the roots for several months before you need to replace the herbs.

How to make simple herbal remedies

Making simple herbal remedies at home need be no more difficult or time-consuming than brewing a cup of tea. More complex herbal products, such as ointments and creams, are now readily available from health-food stores and pharmacies, so this section focuses only on the simpler options : InfusionsDecoctionsTincturesMacerationsSyrupsChinese decoctionsTonic winesAyurvedic remedies