FORMS OF HERBAL MEDICINE

Herbal medicines or remedies are prepared in different forms or “vehicles”. These preparations “are designed for efficient delivery of herbal actions and nutrients to the body and mind”. Some of these are designed to be taken orally. Some others are for topical application.

HERBAL TEAS

Infusions and decoctions have always been the predominant form of herbal remedies. They are commonly called Herbal Teas for convenience but they are not really made of tea that is only prepared from the leaves of the Camelia sinensis plant.

Infusions are preparations made by steeping fresh or dehydrated herbs in either hot or cold water to extract the medicinal and nutritional principles.

Decoctions are made by boiling woody, ligneous, hard herbs (such as roots, barks, seeds) in water (or other fluids) in order to obtain the soluble active principles.  

HERBAL SYRUPS

Are one of the oldest forms of herbal medications. Syrups are more palatable for children because of the high content of sucrose which is not a nutritional problem if it is not taken in huge amounts. The presence of sugar in syrups preparations makes the solution so saturated that there is no longer enough water available for microorganisms to proliferate therefore working as great preservative agent. This method of preservation for herbal preparations was popular and practical in time when refrigeration was not still in use.

HERB JELLOS

Herbal Jellos are a form of jellofied herbs described by the author James Green in his book “The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook, A home manual”. They are basically jellos sweetened either with ordinary sugar, glycerine or stevia plant extract with incorporated herbal infusions, decoctions, or tinctures. They are another way to administer herbs to children and difficult adults.

(Note: my herbs jellos are all suitable for vegetarians and vegans)

TINCTURES

Tinctures are concentrated alcohol extracts that mostly contain pharmacologically active constituents. Alcohol is believed to be a better solvent than water and at the same time it acts as preservative.

 

 

 

Sources:

  • Green J., The Herbal Medicine-Maker's Handbook, A home Manual, 2000, Crossing Press, United States.

  • Hoffmann D., Medical Herbalism, The science and practice of Herbal Medicine, 2003, Healing Arts Press, India

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