Mother Earth Living

Herb Basics: Homemade Health

By The Herb Companion staff
March/April 1998
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Interested in making your own remedies at home? If the herb part you want to try is a seed, bark, or root, you may need to make a decoction because it takes these plant parts extra time and heat to break down their cellular structures and release their medicinal compounds.

A Quick Decoction

• 1 ounce (25 g) dried or 2 ounces (50 g) fresh herb
• 1 pint (500 ml) water

1. Put the herb in a pan that has a tight lid. Add the water and cover. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain into a glass measuring cup. Add water, replacing the water that evaporated, until you again have one pint (500 ml) of fluid.

2. The standard adult dose for a decoction is 1/2 cup two to three times a day as a tonic, or 1/2 cup three to six times a day for acute conditions. For children over five, use half the dose. If you haven’t used an herb before, are unsure of its use, or want to treat a child younger than five, be sure to ask your health-care provider for guidance.

• Sullivan, Karen, ed. The Complete Family Guide to Natural Home Remedies. Rockport, Maine: Element Books Inc., 1997

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