How To Prepare Decoction...
A decoction is one of the well known herbal preparations that are used for healing many diseases and ailments. A decoction is an herbal preparation similar to an herbal infusion except that it is more potent in its strength and therapeutic properties. Some parts of an herb can’t be completely extracted in a solution with an ordinary infusion processes, and you need an efficient method to infuse the vital parameters of the herb. When you’re using tougher herbal parts like the root, bark, seeds, dry fruits, berries and stems, you’ll need to employ an active decoction process to extract hidden active components.
There are several methods that are used to prepare decoctions from a given herb; though the basic process is simple and straightforward, one needs to take enough caution in preparing the decoction. Here are some of the established and time tested methods that are used to prepare decoctions from herbs:
- Preparing the herb: The herb you choose for decoction should be of good quality and with out any visible contamination and damage. If you’re using leaves for the purpose, make sure that you pick up only the leaves, by leaving out the stem parts. If harder parts like stem, roots and bark are used, ensure that they are clean and peeled. Remove the outer portions of seeds and nuts, so that only the kernel is picked for the process. Once the initial cleaning process is finished, soak and immerse the herb for about 30 minutes, to remove all soluble impurities; it is best to use warm water for soaking purposes.
- Choosing a good set of containers: The type of container used for this purpose is very critical in deciding the final quality of the preparation. You may wish to use a ceramic container (enamel or china clay) for preparing herbal decoctions. Ceramic containers are quite good because of their heat stability and evenness in preserving the quality of the preparation. Iron and copper containers should not be used to prepare the decoction, as they are known to leach toxic residues from their metal. Before making a decoction, the pot should be washed thoroughly, before and after the process, as it may interfere with the decoction preparation process. Impure and dirty containers are not suitable for the extraction process and they may cause undesirable changes in the final quality of the decoction.
- Preparation of decoction: Once the herb is soaked in warm water for some time, slowly raise the level of the water to a height of about 3 cm, just above the top layer of herbs. Start boiling the mix over a strong flame of fire and bring the mixture to boiling point. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat so that water temperature is reduced. Stew the mixture for about 45 minutes while constantly stirring the contents. Once the boiling is over, strain the mix to prepare fine looking decoction.
Here are some tips on preparing herbal decoctions:
- Making a good decoction takes some time and patience, and it also requires techniques of considerable experience. Make sure that you seek an expert herbalist’s opinions and advice before trying out this process.
- If possible, use the same herbs again the second time round so that you are extracting the full contents of the herb.
- Never overcook the herbs because you may loose the precious therapeutic properties of the herb.
- Burnt herbs are not be used for decoction purpose because they have insignificant therapeutic values in them.
Herbal decoctions are excellent potions for treating many diseases and illnesses of ordinary nature. With careful planning and by ensuring a hygienic process, you can make a good herbal decoction that is not only beneficial to your body but also extremely therapeutic in value.