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How are the herbs prepared? In the sense of: come si they use herbs so that they can exercise their beneficial virtues? The preparations used in herbal medicine such as natural remedies they are really numerous and are divided primarily between internal and external. Among the former are the infusion, the decoction, the macerate, the juice, the tincture and the powder.
The herbal preparations that are taken externally are almost always different ways of taking infusions, decoctions and macerates and are: poultice, lotion, compress, tablet, eye drops, gargle and rinse, enema, vaginal irrigation, hand baths, foot baths, sitz baths and baths complete. Let's see what these preparations consist of.
Infusion. It is prepared by pouring boiling water over flowers, leaves, roots or other parts of the plant and letting it rest for a few minutes. The infusion time varies depending on the plant: for example 3-5 minutes for lime, sage and mint, even 10 minutes for a more leathery plant. The infusion is suitable for delicate plants or flowers. In the case of very delicate plants, lukewarm water can be used.
Decoction. It consists of putting the plant in cold, lukewarm or already boiling water (depending on the plant) and boiling everything for a few minutes (the time depends on the plant). The decoction is recommended for particularly leathery plants or plant species, such as rinds, roots and seeds.
Macerated. It is obtained by letting the active parts of the plant rest in a liquid for half a day to 15 days. Maceration can take place in water but with the risk of creating colonies of bacteria, which is why wine, brandy or even beer are more often used.
Juice. For a good plant juice you need freshly picked herbs. The herbs can be crushed in a mortar and then squeezed after enclosing them in a cloth. On the market there are excellent centrifugal squeezer-legumes.
Dyeing. The plant, or parts of it, is crushed in alcohol at 90 °, left to rest for two or three days and then filtered with a fine cloth. In the tincture the active principles of the plant are very concentrated and for this reason it is used only with completely non-toxic herbs.
Dust. The active parts of the plant are used after they have been completely dried. The powder is obtained by finely pounding dried herbs and consumed orally. Also in this case the active ingredients are very concentrated.
Poultice. It consists of a poultice or a pulp of leaves that are heated and applied eternally on the affected part, in direct contact with the skin or by wrapping the pulp in a cloth or fine texture. The temperature must not exceed 50 ° C in order not to destroy the active ingredients. It is never left on the skin for more than 5 minutes, it is better to repeat the operation often.
Lotion. It is an info or a decoction applied directly on the affected part with a massage. When the massage is done with quick and energetic movements it is also called friction.
Compress. It is a layer of wadding, cotton wool and flannel folded in four, soaked in decoction, infusion, dye or other preparation that is applied directly on the part to be treated.
Tablet. It is a pack prepared with a less concentrated and slower-acting product.
Eye drops. The vegetable preparation of an eye drop usually consists of a very mild infusion prepared with boiled water.
Gargling. To gargle, infusions, decoctions and macerates are used, usually hot to accentuate their action.
Enema and vaginal irrigation. The enema is a particularly efficient method of administration and has a very rapid action. For enemas on use low concentration preparations such as infusions or decoctions, the temperature of 37 ° C is the ideal one. The same rules apply to vaginal irrigation.
Hand baths, foot baths, sitz baths and full baths. The full bath requires a lot of water and a large amount of plant, hand baths and foot baths are more practical. They can be made by boiling 2 liters of water, letting it rest and then adding the prescribed amount of dried plant. It is better not to use unglazed metal and plastic containers, the ideal are earthenware ones.