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HERBS; Medicinal, Magical & Metaphysical

The study of herbs could take many lifetimes and there are a lot of sub categories and "herbal adjacent" things to study besides how they heal physically. As with life itself, the physical, mental and spiritual can all be healed and enhanced using herbs and there are a wide variety of ways, from teas and tinctures to Rootwork in the Hoodoo or in the Gypsy tradition and even to the use of entheogens, to explore.\r\nThis zone is meant to be open to ALL of those avenues of study and discussion.\r\nDISCLAIMER\r\nNone of the information presented here is meant to replace medical treatment. Only use herbs as medicine if you know what you are doing, not if you just THINK you know what you’re doing, if you’re wrong there can be negative side effects. Improper use of herbs, just as improper use of prescription drugs, can harm or kill. Remember, natural doesn't always mean safe.\r\nCross reference at least three reliable sources of information before taking an herb. Be sure about dosage and...
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MEDICINAL HERBS: Tea- Infusions and Decoctions

    MEDICINAL HERBS: Tea- Infusions and Decoctions

    I don't need to go on and on about how to make tea, it's a pretty simple process. Here are a few points to make note of though, just as a reminder.

    • With dried herbs, cut and sifted is best as is loose bulk. If you purchase them in bulk, each separate, it opens the door for you to make your own formulas specific to your own needs and to test "simples."
    • With fresh herbs it's good to bruise them a bit to release the properties within. This can be done by rubbing them between your hands, I've torn them a time or two. One can also use a mortar and pestle.
    • Best to use a non-metallic container, so glass, ceramic, enamel. There are a lot of ways to do it these days since more and more folks are drinking tea. I've used a coffee press to great effect.
    • Some folks will say it's better not to use tap water, this is especially applicable if you know the tap water in your area is less than stellar.

    There are two main methods when preparing medicinal tea: Infusion and Decoction

    INFUSION: When you are using the "softer" parts of the plant such as the flowers or soft leaves you would make an infusion. Infusions are also more known to tap into the volatile oils in herbs, this is prevalent in teas like mint and eucalyptus. This is just a fancy way of saying your steeping tea. Bring the water to a rolling boil, pour it over the herbs, cover it and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

    DECOCTION: When you're using thicker leaves, roots, barks, stems and such a decoction is appropriate. A decoction will draw out the deeper essences of the plant. In this case, you simmer the herbs for about an hour, about half the water will evaporate off. You will end up with a strong, concentrated medicinal tea.

    COMBINING: If you are using all parts of a plant, the soft as well as the thicker bits, make a decoction first with the thicker bits. Next, make your infusion but rather than pouring water over the soft leaves and flowers for the steeping process, pour the decoction over it and let it steep.

    PROPORTIONS:  Generally speaking teas of any kind are stronger when being used for medicine than if your just having tea and biscuits with a pal. Also, if using tea as a course of treatment you will likely be taking it more than once a day, you can make it in batches and leave unused portions in the refrigerator for about 3 days. The general proportion for herbal medicinal tea is 1 oz. of dried herbs to 1 pint of water, some of that water, of course will be absorbed by the herbs.

    If you are using fresh hers it is recommended to double the amount of herb since a lot of the weight of a fresh herb is water.