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Simple Herbal Preparations – Try It Yourself!

2 Oct, 2013

Making your own herbal preparations is not only fun, but can be a

cost-effective way to use the healing power of herbs for both your

mind and body. Some of these herbal concoctions do require a

certain degree of time and skill, but there are lots of simple remedies

you can make yourself, including teas, syrups, and tinctures. You

may need to do a bit of research to know which are herbs are most

effective for your ailments, but soon you’ll be on your way to making

your own herbal preparations with the following recipes.


Herbal tinctures allow you to make a herbal remedy and store it for a

long period of time, making them available at short notice to be used

to make an instant herbal remedy. Tinctures are made by steeping

herbs in alcohol or vinegar. The liquid extracts the volatile oils and

active constituents from the herbs and preserves them indefinitely.

Vodka is the best alcohol to use due to its tastelessness. A standard

herbal tincture should have 1 fluid ounce of pure alcohol for every

ounce of water; essentially 50% alcohol or 100% proof vodka.

This ratio is up for some debate. Some people recommend 100%

alcohol; others say 3 to 1 alcohol/water. For those who cannot take

any alcohol (pregnant women, alcoholics, children) use glycerol or

natural cider vinegar.

You’ll need:

• 8 ounces of herbs (be sure to cut the herbs into small pieces first)

• A large glass (not plastic) jar that can hold 4 cups of liquid

(adjust liquid amount to fit in jar if necessary)

• 2 cups of vodka


Put the dried herb into a large, glass jar and pour in equal amount

of liquid, making sure the herbs are completely covered (this is very

important). Store the jar in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks,

preferably four. Make sure to shake the mixture every day. When

ready to use, filter the mixture using a cheesecloth bag, coffee filter, or

fine cloth, capturing the tincture liquid below in another container.

Store the tincture in clean, dark glass containers, out of the sun. If

stored properly the tincture will be preserved for two or more years.

Vinegar tinctures should be refrigerated.

Note: A drop of tincture is equal to 1 tsp of herb juice.


Making herbal teas may be the easiest of all herbal remedies. Herbal

teas can be made by simply adding fresh or dried herbs to a pot, or

cup of boiled water. To begin, place 1 teaspoon of dried herbs per 1

cup of water into a teapot or teacup. Add boiling water, cover, and

steep for 10 minutes. You must then strain your tea by pouring it

through a strainer of some sort. You can also use a herb / tea strainer

ball, teaspoon strainer, muslin (re-usable) tea bags, or paper tea bags

that can be ironed closed. However it should be noted that not all the

healing ingredients in herbs are water soluble. The healing properties

in some herbs are in their essential oils which are released when the

herb is ground or crushed. Always use non metallic tea pots.

Tonic Wines

Like herbal tea, a glass of tonic wine is a delicious way to take

herbal remedies. Using root remedies of tonic herbs like Ginger or

Liquorice can be a refreshing remedy for ailments. Choose a tonic

herb to suit your needs and then begin preparation.

You’ll need:

• A large glass pot, jar or vat

• 1 cups of dried herbs

• 2 cups of a good quality red wine (enough to cover the herbs,

add more if necessary)


Mix together the herbs and the wine, making sure there’s enough

wine to completely cover the herbs. Put a lid or cellophane wrap

over the mixture. Leave the mix for at least 2 weeks. Filter out the

liquid and drink the mixture in one sherry-sized glass (2-3 fluid

ounces) dose per day. As you pour out the liquid, keep adding more

red wine to cover the herb so it doesn’t get mouldy. This mixture

will last you for several months, as the wine continues to extract

the active components of the herbal roots, the herbs will need to be

replaced. Do not take if you have liver problems or are pregnant.


A decoction is similar to an infusion, and necessary when using

tougher plant material like herbal roots, barks, seeds, berries, and

stems. These parts need to have their active components extracted in

a more intense process.

You’ll need:

• 1 ounce of dried herb

• 3 cups of water.


Bring water to a rolling boil, then add herbs and cover; reduce heat;

let mixture simmer for 10 to 15 min over low heat; leave to soak

another 10 min; keep covered throughout the process; strain, cool

and use. Internal dose is usually 1/2 cup, 3 times a day. Store in a

pitcher in a cool place or refrigerate. The decoction can be reheated

and flavoured with a little honey if desired.

Oil Infusions (hot & cold)

Infused Oils are made by extracting the herbal constituents and

volatile oils from the herbs for a later use. Any vegetable oil will do,

yet olive, almond, canola, and sesame oils are the best. Herbal oils

can be added to cosmetics, cold process soap recipes, for culinary use,

or massaged into sore body parts. Herbal oils can be infused by two

methods; cold infusion and hot infusion.

Oil Infusion (hot)

These are used for woodier, denser plant parts. Popular examples are

for cayenne, black pepper, ginger.

You’ll need:

• 1 cup of dried herbs

• 2 cups of oil

• A large glass bowl that can fit on top of a pot

• Pot holders to handle the glass bowl


Prepare a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Place the herbs

and oil in the glass bowl.

Heat the mixture slowly over a low heat for about 3 hours.

Strain into a bowl. Let the oil cool and then transfer into dark, glass

bottles sealed with a cap. Store in a cool, dark place and do not keep

if you see fermentation.

Oil Infusion (cold)

This is used for fragile or delicate plant parts such a flowers, petals

and leaves. Popular herbs include Calendula, Chamomile, St John’s

Wort, Lavender and Rosemary.

You’ll need:

• A large jar like a mason jar with a tight sealing lid

• 3-4 cups of dried herbs

• 4 cups of oil (depending on the size of the jar)


Obtain a large jar with a tight sealing lid, and fill it compactly with

herb flowers or leaves.

Pour in the oil, covering the herbs, and screw on the lid.

Place jar on a sunny windowsill for about a month. Remember to

shake and turn the jar daily.

Strain the mixture, capturing the oil in another container.

Transfer the oil into a dark bottle, and store in a cool, dark place.

Note: Use dried herbs. Fresh herbs contain water and could cause

the oil to go rancid.


A poultice is a thick, moist warm herbal paste applied to the skin to

relieve pain, inflammation, swelling, or muscle spasm. They can be

made with dried or fresh herbs. They can also draw matter out of the

skin (such as a splinter).


Blend the fresh herb and a small amount of water with a stick

blender. Place the mixture on a piece of muslin sufficient to cover

the body part. Rub a little oil into the area and apply the poultice.

Cover the muslin with cling film. Change every couple of hours or

leave overnight. If you do this protect your bed linen with a towel.

Herbal Syrup

These are used to ease a sore throat and for coughs as they are



Stir together 100g of sugar or honey or stevia with 50g of water.

When dissolved remove from the heat and allow to cool. Add 50g

of the tincture you have made previously (such as marsh mallow,

liquorice, thyme). Pour into dark glass jars and refrigerate. Take as


Herbal Cream

These help itchy skin, soothe burns, relax tense muscles, aid wound

healing and treat infection. Use an unscented non greasy cream base

such as vitamin E cream. Add some herbal tincture using the ratio of

1 part herbal tincture to 10 parts cream. Stir until fully mixed. These

can have a short life span so add Vitamin E capsules as a preservative

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