Making Herbal Remedies

I have no doubt that herbal remedies have been around for millions of years. But just like our ancestors we must be knowledgeable about the plant’s identity and properties. Misusing plants can be every bit as dangerous and deadly as failing to read the label on prescription drugs picked up at your local pharmacy. Nevertheless it’s helpful information to understand how basic remedies can be rendered from plants. Although this overview is offered for informational purposes only it demonstrates how all of the herbs we have grown for the benefit of our food crops and the beneficial insects that help them have many uses. Leslie Bremness offers detailed information in her work The Complete Book of Herbs.

Leaves and flowers are the common choices for infusions at a ratio of one teaspoon of dried or two teaspoons of fresh herb to one cup of water. You simply pour boiling water over the herbs, cover, and allow them to steep, or infuse, for ten minutes.

Decoction is the best process for roots, twigs, bark, and berries. Add the herbal ingredients to cold water. Bring this to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Both infusions and decoctions can be used hot or cold for compresses. Simply soak a clean cloth in either and apply it externally.

Poultices are crushed herbs mixed in just enough water to make a pulp. The mash is then heated in a double boiler and applied directly to the skin or between layers of gauze. Caution must be taken because poultices are at their best when used as hot as one can tolerate.

One ounce of a strong herbal infusion or decoction (recipe at the end) can be added to make herbal ointments and creams. In a double boiler melt one ounce of lanolin (cocoa butter can be substituted for lanolin) and a half-ounce of beeswax. Slowly mix in three to four ounces of vegetable oil (this can be anything that you like such as almond or sunflower). Remove from heat, add one ounce of the herbal water, and mix together thoroughly. By leaving out the beeswax and increasing the herbal water to two ounces you have a lotion.

Tinctures are made in the following way:

1.Place 4 oz powdered herb or 8 oz of fresh herb in a jar with a tight lid.

2.Add 2.5 oz. of alcohol, minimum 60 proof (Brandy, Vodka, Everclear).

3. DO NOT use ethyl alcohol or rubbing or surgical alcohol. They are highly toxic!!!

4.Place mixture in a warm place and shake two times a day for two weeks. Then strain and store in a dark jar.

5.Dosage is 5 to 15 drops added to 1 cup of hot water.

6.Note that tinctures can be toxic and each herb considered must be researched individually. This overview has been offered for informational purposes only.


Combine one-ounce crush of herbs, etc. with two cups of water. Simmer for the prescribed amount of time for either infusion or decoction and allow the mixture to infuse until cold.

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Responses to “Making Herbal Remedies”

  1. thank you