Infusions and decoctions are the basics of herbal remedies. Two weeks ago I shared how to make a simple herbal infusion. An infusion is usually used for leaves and flowers, while decoctions are used for roots, stems, and bark.
To make a decoction, place your herbs in a pot and cover with water. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat on medium, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third. Allow the decoction to cool. Strain out the herbs. Use immediately – decoctions are best used within 48-72 hours.
Cramp Bark is a potent antispasmodic and can be used as a tincture, pill, or decoction for menstrual cramps. Valerian is a sedative and antispasmodic and it can be used to reduce anxiety and ease pain. Valerian might make you sleepy so it’s best to take it for the first time when you don’t have to drive or operate machinery.
2 teaspoons cramp bark
2 teaspoons valerian root
2 teaspoons ginger root
3 cups of water
Prepare your decoction. Strain out the herbs. Slowly drink 1/2 cup. Repeat every 3 – 4 hours.
The decoction will be pretty bitter, but its worth it! If you find that the taste is too bitter for you, just add some honey or add 1/4 cup of the decoction to a cup of juice.
NOTE: If you are using powdered herbs, use 1 teaspoon of each and 3 cups of water.
Bonus: Sugar Scrub Recipe
I missed Wise Woman Wednesday last week! Kids were out of school and I got my days all mixed up…. Sorry. Here’s a little bonus to make up for it!
Sugar scrubs are a luxurious treat for our thirsty, dry, winter skin. Here’s a super-simple recipe to make your own sugar scrubs at home – for literally pennies on the dollar for what you’d pay retail. And your homemade version will be fresher, too!
2 parts sugar (I like to use organic brown (turbinado) sugar because I like the consistency)
1 part oil (I usually use a mix of sweet almond oil or grapeseed oil and olive oil, but you could use coconut, jojoba, etc.)
Gel from 5 vitamin E capsules (optional)
20 drops essential oil of your choice
Flowers or herbs (optional)
Add the oil and vitamin E gel to the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the essential oils and mix well. Keep in an airtight container and it should keep for about 60 days – if it lasts that long! This is a great recipe for you try out different essential oil combinations. Try something sweet like vanilla lavender, sensual like ylang-ylang and rose, refreshing like mint eucalyptus, or energizing like lemon and orange. Have fun and enjoy!
Angela is partner to Matt, foster mom to O and J, Truth-chaser, and education addict. She loves to play with words, workflow rules, herbs, and dirt. Angela lives in rural Illinois, where her family is part of an intentional Christian community. When she gets up the gumption, Angela blogs over at Leaping Greenly and hatch*.