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How to Prepare your Herbs



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SELECTING YOUR HERBS


There are various methods for preparing herbs,
but most of these herbal receipe's involve five
basic herbal preparation.  

The ideal herb is young and freshly picked.
Even when herbs are carefully picked and dried
they lose some of their qualities.  You can keep
fresh herbs refrigerated for about 2 weeks.  Be
sure they are completely dry and place them in
airtight jars or containers.  Dried herbs are a more
than adequate second-best.   You can buy these at
health food stores or herb shoppes.



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INFUSIONS

This is like making a herbal tea.  Pour boiling water over the herbs (fresh or dried) and leave it for about 5 minutes.  The sieve.  When boiling be sure to cover with tightly fitting lid.  None of the aromatic substances should be lost.

COLD INFUSIONS
The herb is steeped in a cold liquid.  The time this takes depends on the herb used.  The process must take place in a sealed, airtight pot, and wine or alcohol are usually used.  Herbal vinegars are also prepared in this way.

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DECOTIONS
By this method the herb is boiled, usually
for about 15 minutes, again depending on
the herb used.  Decotions are usually prepared
from the hard parts of the plant, like roots o
r
tree bark.

ESSENTIAL OILS
In preparing herbal creams essential oils are
the most effective way of adding hergs.  Take
1/2 cup of fresh crushed herbs (or 2 teasp. of
dried herbs) to 1/2 litre of vegetable oil.  Almond
oil is the most suitable for use in cosmetics, but
sunflower oil also works well.  


Add 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar.  Pour the mixture
into a ball mason jar and shake vigorously.  Place in
a warm light place, perferably in the sunlight.  Let the
oil mature for three weeks.  Strain well and pour into
dark (preferably amber) bottles.  If you think the aroma
isn't strong enough pour the strained oil over a fresh
batch of herbs and repeat the process.


TINCTURES
This is a simple tincture made by pounding 100 grams
of dried herbs into a powder and adding 1 litre of
medicinal alcohol.  Keep this for two weeks in ball mason
jars in a warm place.  Shake container daily.  Filter the
tincture through a coffee filter before using it.


NOTE
When water is called for, always use distilled water.  Hard
water is bad for your skin.  Mineral waters, such as Avian
or Perrier water can be used if available.




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