Decocting and Working With Herbs

The vital constituents of herbs can be fragile and some don’t last long after the herb is picked. This section is not a treatise on herbology, just a quick discussion of a few salient and important points for you to know when utilizing herbs as a curing regimen. It is intended to assist those people who want to make the products described herein themselves.

Firstly, when you decoct the herbs, do not use boiling water. That is simply too hot. Time is your friend, be gentle, use hot water and let them steep overnight. Buy the freshest herbs that you can and don’t be afraid to use too much. If you make a saturated solution then you are throwing away herbs that still have some valuable components left in them. But that is acceptable if you just make small batches and this assures you a maximum potency, saturated solution.

Roots and barks need far longer to release their value than leaves and flowers. They need to soaked. Dried berries should be ground up to expose their inner fruit.

All of these natural herbs come from the real world. They will have mold spores on them. When you make a decoction, it will mold in a few days. If you plan to keep it longer than that, then you will need a stabilizer. I prefer not to use alcohol since it will attack and destroy some of the constituents.

Most of the products described in this book can be made as a spray. Spray bottles are easy to procure and this is a good place to start. If you want to gel it and put it in a pump bottle or tube, then you will need to use a gelling agent. There are some natural argarose gels, guar gum and alginate gels. However, they are not good for long term. They tend to re-liquify over time.

A good long term gelling agent is Carbomer 940. It is very commonly used and available. You can make a good gel with less than 1% w/v. The carbomer is introduced into the decoction and allowed to sit overnight. The next day, it is stirred while adding a buffer solution to raise the pH.