COMMERCIALLY SUPPLIED: Fresh leaves and/or fresh roots may be used in their natural form, but they also may be found in tablet form, capsules, bark pieces, powders, liquid beverages, extracts, tinctures, lotions, creams, salves, or oils. Whole dried roots or leaves are available.
Some Ways Herbs Can Be Used:
Compress: Soak a cloth in a cool herb solution, then apply directly to the injured area.
Make a tea from the root, seed, berry, or bark of the herb plant. Simmer the tea, do not boil.
Essential Oils: Oils are distilled from plants or by cold extraction. Usually they are mixed with vegetable oil or water and used as an inhalant, douche, or tea. Also, they may be used as eyewash, earwash, mouthwash, or used externally for massage, and to treat cuts and abrasions. Essential oils easily and readily combine with the natural fats and oils of the skin.
Extracts: Place the herbs in a solvent and soak, allowing the solution to evaporate. This solution is the most effective form of using herbs when severely or acutely ill.
A few of the herb extracts found in health food stores are listed here. They are very beneficial in healing. May be added to juices and taken while fasting for best results.
Red beet crystals
Herb Vinegars: Put herb in raw apple cider vinegar, rice or malt and left to stand for two or more weeks.
Infusion: The tenderest leaf, flower or part of the plant to be used is steeped (not boiled) for five minutes in hot water, thus the benefits of the herb is not destroyed.
Ointment: A powdered form of an herb added to a salve.
Poultice: A hot, moist, soft mass of herbs, flour, mustard, and other substances is spread on muslin or cloth and applied for one to eight hours on a sore or inflamed area of the body to relieve pain and inflammation. Ground or granulated herbs are best. The cloth or muslin should be changed when cooled.
Powder: The useful part of an herb is ground into a powder and is also used in capsule or tablet form. Capsules and tablets are generally used for certain disorders and should be used no longer than six months at a time.
Syrup: An herb or herbs are added to a form of sugar and then boiled
Salves: Salves, oils, creams and lotions are generally used on sores, bruises, and inflammations (such as for poultices).
Tincture: Usually, most tinctures contain about 20-50% alcohol. Powdered herbs are added to a water/alcohol solution. Tinctures keep for a long period of time and should only be used if severely ill.
Tisane: This is a type of tea that has no caffeine, theine or tannic acids. Caffeine and theine drain vital forces and reserves of energy. Nervous and weakened people are very susceptible to beverages containing caffeine and theine. Tannic acid beverages effect normal digestive processes. The tisane contains no calories, good for weight reduction dieting. This type of tea is harvested from the natural plant and used fresh or dried, but has no commerical processing or additives.
Tea: To prepare herb tea, use approximately one to three teaspoons of herbs per cup of boiling water. Boil water in a kettle as you would for other teas but do not use an aluminum kettle. Pour water into a mug or pot, leave herbs to steep for at least five minutes, but don't leave for longer than ten minutes or the tea will be bitter. For stronger tea, use more herb rather than steeping the tea for a longer time. Store herb tea in amber colored jars, never in clear glass jars. The potency of the herb is destroyed by light. Mild teas may be used daily as tonics and for general health and well-being. Strong but beneficial herbs may be taken in teas with less problems. Herb teas, usually, may be used over long periods of time.