Preparing Herbs - Simply and Easily.

"Let food be your medicine and your medicine be your food. Each one of the substances in a person's diet, acts upon the body and changes it in some unique way, and upon these changes the whole life depends, whether in health, in sickness or convalescent."  

Hippocrates 2 000 years ago.

Preparing herbs, and storing them correctly, is the first step to using herbal home remedies for any number of complaints and ailments.

  • Play around with the method of storage, add a little extra trouble, a sprinkling of imagination.
  • Label and display your work originally and artistically for your family and friends to appreciate.

How to Make Herbal Infusions

An Infusion - "A liquid made by steeping (tea or herbs etc) in boiling water".

  • Preparing Herbs as an infusion is a simple and easy process using fresh or dried herbs.
  • Infusions are made from the seeds, stem, flower or leaf of the herb.


  • 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs or 1 teaspoon of dried herbs
  • 1 cup boiling water.
  • Place the herbs in a teapot and pour the boiling water over them.
  • Allow to stand for 15 min and then strain discarding the herbs.
  • Add honey for a sweetener.


  • Infusions can be consumed hot or cold,they can be used for steam inhalation or used as a compress.
  • Ensure that the herb you are using is the one required for your ailment.
  • Do not use an infusion for more than a period of 10 days.
  • One cup per day is sufficient, excepting in acute cases.
  • Always consult your herbal practictioner if you are unsure of anything.


  • Do not stand overnight, consume on the same day.
  • Chamomile is a very popular herbal tea used in many home remedies and you can even establish your very own tea garden by starting off growing Chamomile at home.

How to make Herbal Decoctions.

A Decoction - "An extract obtained by boiling or digesting in hot water".

Preparing herbs as a decoction means that you will be using the hard parts of the herb i.e. the roots, stems bark and berries and requires a more rigorous action than the one described above for simple infusions.


  • 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs.
  • 3 cups cold water.
  • Break the herbs up and soak overnight.
  • Boil up for about an hour the next day, and allow to cool
  • Strain the liquid discarding the herbs, and store in a cool place.


  • Drink a cupful 3 times daily.


  • Decoctions should be consumed fresh but can be kept for 24 hours.

How to make Herbal Macerations.

Maceration - "A mixture made soft by steeping in a liquid".


  • A little of this preparation of herbs taken internally every now and again can only be good for you especially if you have used rosemary, lavender or elder berries.
  • 1 - 2 cups fresh herb leaves. Dried bark, seeds or berries can also be used, but bruise them first in a pestle and mortar.
  • 4 cups of wine (red or white wine can be used)
  • Mix together and leave for 3 days then strain.

How to make a Herbal ointment.

Ointment - " A thick slippery paste rubbed on the skin to heal roughness, injuries or inflammation".

This is also a very simple method of preparing herbs, and having them handy at all times for daily use.


  • ½ cup of Vaseline.
  • ¼ cup of herbs.
  • Place ingredients in a double boiler and keep on low heat for about 2 hours stirring occasionally.


  • Ointments are good for nourishing the skin, easing bed sores, skin rashes, nappy rash, psoriasis and eczema.


  • While still hot strain mixture and pour into dark ointment jars, store in a cool dark place.

How to make a Herbal Syrup.

Syrup - "A thick sweet liquid".

Preparing herbs as a syrup is important because some people, and especially children, will not like the taste of infusions, so fool them by making a herbal syrup instead.

Syrup is comforting to take and therefore a good medium for soothing remedies.


  • 2 cups water.
  • 1 cup sugar.
  • half a cup fresh herbs.
  • Bring to the boil while stirring continuously until sugar is dissolved. Then allow to simmer until the liquid thickens (about an hour).
  • Strain and pour into a brown or green glass bottle with a lid.


  • Administer 1 teaspoon at a time, 3 or 4 times daily.


  • Kept in the fridge, it can last for at least a week.

How to make Herbal Tinctures.

Tincture - "A solution consisting of a medicinal substance dissolved in alcohol".


  • 3 tablespoon dried herbs or 6 tablespoons fresh herbs.
  • 4 cups alcohol (cane spirit or vodka).
  • Mix herbs and alcohol in a big, clean, wide necked, glass bottle with a good screw top lid.
  • Shake daily whilst storing for 2 weeks.
  • Filter before using, and always keep the bottle tightly sealed.


  • 1 teaspoon of this tincture in a cup of water taken 3 times daily.


  • This is the safest way to keep herbs for a long time.

How to Make a Herbal Poultice.

A Poultice - "A soft heated mass applied to an inflamed or sore area of skin".


  • When preparing herbs as a poultice take a handful of herbs, fresh or dry
  • Add a little boiling water at a time to soften and mix well until soft and a paste is formed.
  • NOTES:
    Place the cooled poultice over the infected area. Cover with a bandage and leave on for several hours or overnight. 
  • A poultice applied directly, is usually used to draw out the pus from boils, remove stubborn blackheads and help heal skin ulcers, sores and skin infections.



  • A poultice can be used on boils and abscesses to draw the infection out but should never be used on broken skin because the moist conditions can then become a breeding ground for bacteria to present and flourish.

How to make a Herbal Steam Inhaler or Steam Cleanser.

An Inhaler - "A device that produces or sends out a medicinal vapor to be inhaled".


  • Make a herbal infusion as indicated above. Check out Common Herbs and their Uses to see what herb can be used for what ailment. Pour the boiling hot infusion of herbs in a deep bowl.
  • Place carefully onto a table, improvise a towel tent and hold your face over the bowl
  • If using as an inhaler breathe in the herbal steam alternately and slowly through nose and mouth for at least 10 minutes.
  • As a steam cleanser hold your face over the bowl for about 7 - 10 minutes, pat dry, and then splash or dab on an astringent such as rosemary to close the pores, and also has a bracing and toning effect on the skin.


  • Boiling water must be treated with great respect. Always place on a solid surface, and if a child is having steam inhalation, do not leave unaccompanied at any time.


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