When making a compress you will need a cloth, herbs, and water.
A decoction is defined as an herb that has been simmered in water. Decoctions are best for the firmer or more leathery parts of the plant, such as bark, roots, tough leaves, and stems as they draw the medicine of the plants out well. To make a decoction, use ceramic, earthenware, glass, or unbroken enameled cast iron pots. If you are using astringent plants, do not use plain cast iron pots. When making a decoction, the ratio of water to herbs should be one pint of boiling water to every ounce of herbs.
An electuary is a powder that is mixed with syrup, brown sugar, honey, or glycerin. This is done to make the powder easier to take internally or to give it a pleassant taste. Prepare electuaries when they are needed rather than in advance, as they tend to harden.
Extracts are the solid substances that form when the liquid part of a solution evaporates. Extracts are best when a person is severly ill. The extract can also be added to juices and taken while fasting. These are some of common herb extracts found in most health stores: celery, echinacea, fig, goldenseal, hawthorn, horsetail, nettle, parsley, pau d'arco, pumpkin, red beet crystals, red clover, suma, and valerian root. There are three methods for obtaining extracts. All are shown here
Fomentations are useful for wounds, bruises, and sore or strained muscles. You will needa cloth, a strong herbal tea, and fresh herbs to put in the cloth.
Making Herb Vinegars
To make an herb vinegar, you will need fresh or dired herbs, raw apple cider vinegar or malt liquor, and a large jar.
An infusion is water that an herb is steeped in. Make sure not to boil the water as this creates a decoction or tea rather than an infusion. Infusions can be made hot or cold, and are ideal for more tender parts of a plant, such as leaves or flowers. The origin of the witches potion comes from the idea of infusions.
The best parts of plants to use for hot infusions are powdered bark, seeds, roots, resin, and bruised parts of the plant such as seeds, nuts, buds, and bark. Hot infusions can be used in the bath, as teas, to anoint the body, or to rub into furniture or floors.
Cold infusions can be used as teas or as poultices.
Oils are made by distilling plants, evaporation from petals, or by cold extraction. To extract volatile oils, steep aromatic plants in fruit, nut, or vegetable oils. Essential oils can be made by combining aromatic oils and rectified alcohol, or by steeping of aromatic oils in alcohol. Once extracted, the essential oil can be used as an eyewash, earwash, mouthwash or for massage or cuts and abrasions, as they combine easily withthe natural oils of the skin.
To make an oil, use newly picked fresh or dried herbs.
Store the oil in a clean jar labeled with the name of the herb.
An ointment is a salve that the powdered form of an herb or an essesntial oil has been added to.
To make an oil, you will need a powder or an essential oil and a fatty or oily substance. The traditional base for ointments is pork lard. Purified, liquid anhydrous lanolin, almond oil, cocoa butter, wheat germ, and vitamin E can also be used. Pork lard is the best to use because it has healing abilites even before the oils are added to it. Lanolin is good because it is the closest to skin oil, but you cannot be sure of getting a pure sample. Vaseline can also be used, but it is best to try this only as a last resort.
As well as your herb and a base, you will need a thickener to be used on the final product. Lanolin and cocoa butter are good for this as mix well and are not sticky. Glycerin, honey, and liguis lecithin are also good, but they are stickier than lanolin or cocoa butter. You can also use powdered gum or resin that has been soaked in cold water and then simmered in gently boiling water. Agar-agar and Irish moss can also be used, and green apples are also good because they add a healing acid fruit pectin to creams and ointments.
After you have used the thickener, you will also need a wax to harden the ointment or cream. beeswax alone or in combination with paraffin wax is the best hardener. You only need a small amount of this.
Another part of an ointment is the preservative. This is not absolutely necessary, especially if you make the ointment in small batches, close the jars tightly, and seal them with paraffin wax. If you do want to use a preservative, you can use benzoin, poplar bud tincture, or glycerin.
When you have gathered all that you need (herb, base, thickener, hardener, and a preservative if you want one), you can begin to make your ointment.
Poultices are used for sore or inflammed muscles to relieves the pain and inflammation.
To make a powder, you will need and herb and a mortar and pestle.
CAUTION: Do not use capsules or tablets for more than six months at a time.
A syrup is an herb combined with a form of sugar. Syrups are good for sore throats and coughs.
The herb can be in the form of an infusion, decoction, exprssed juice, or fermented liquor. The sugar should be refined sugar, as it makes a clearer syrup. Honey is also good to use as honey preserves the healing qualities of the herbs. Syrups should be made in small quantites. There are two methods of making syrups. They are both shown here:
You will need dried herb, water, honey, and a large pot.
Syrups can be stored for up to a month as long as they are refridgerated.
Teas can be used as tonics daily and for genreal health, as long as they are mild. Home-made teas, though, tend to be much stronger and more potent then store-bought teas. They can sometimes be so strong as to be unpleasant. When making teas, use about three teaspoons of herbs for one cup of boiling water.
If you wish to make the tea stronger, use more herbs instead of steeping the herbs for a long time. Do not use an aluminum kettle to boil the water.
A tincture is a solution of herbs in alcohol or diluted alcohol. Non-alcoholic tinctures can also be made.To dilute a tincure, add one teaspoon of glycerin (optional) and four ounces of water for every pint of alcohol. To use the tincuture, put twenty drops in tea or warm water four times a day.
You will need a mortar and pestle of a blender, good-quality vodka, whiskey, or grain alcohol, glycerin, and water.
This makes a stronger tincture than Method 1. You will need parchment, alcohol, and powdered herb.
To make a milk tincture:
There are two basic types of waters.
Sometimes the spirits of herbs are also called waters.