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Water Facts on Herbal Extraction

By admin On July 6, 2010 Under Formulas

Water Facts: Why Water Extracts

One might ask, “Why even bother with water extraction if alcohol is so much stronger?”  Two things come to my mind.

  • A water extract can be prepared much more quickly than an alcohol extract.  Although, in an emergency, a batch of alcohol extract can be thrown together in a few days, the good stuff takes a minimum of two weeks and preferably much longer.  That is a major advantage if you need an extraction now and you are out of alcohol extract.
  • The two processes are very different, both in how and which plant chemicals are extracted and what affect they have on the body. It is not only a altered experience for the plant, but it is a much different action to take a tea than to slurp down a few dropperfuls of herbal extract. In addition to this, I have always felt like there was a synergistic effect in taking herbs together in different ways.

Water Facts:  Herbal Infusions

Water extractions from herbs are easier and much more commonplace in the home than alcohol extracts.  Most especially are familiar with herbal infusions, or herbal teas, made by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried herb in one cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. 

To Make an Infusion

  • Place the dried and crushed herb in a tea infuser or tea bag.
  • Place infuser or tea bag into cup and fill with boiling water.
  • Allow to steep for 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Do not use a microwave to heat the water.

Water Facts:  Herbal Decoctions

But infusions are different from decoctions.   Herbal infusions are made from the leaves, flowers and stems of the plant.  Decoctions are made from plant roots, rhizomes, barks, and seeds.  These denser parts of the plant take a longer, more intense process.

To Make a Decoction

  • Fill a kettle with 20 ounces of distilled water. 
  • Add two tablespoons of herbs.  Cover and let soak overnight.
  • In the morning, bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Things to remember:

  • It is important to use high quality plants in water extractions.  Pacific Botanicals and Blessed Herbs are two great sources you can trust.
  • The finer the root, rhizome, seed or bark is chopped the more potential there is to extract the medicinal benefits from the herb.   Coffee grinders and food processors are great for chopping herbs.
  • The decoction should be covered when steeping so the medicinal properties don’t escape in the steam.
  • I have always felt that it is better to use distilled water for extraction because it is “empty” water and has more capacity to suck the plant chemical into solution.
  • The herbal tea can be saved for several days if refrigerated.
  • Dried plant material is more concentrated than fresh. You need to use 7 times more herbs if they are fresh.
  • If you are making more tea the next day, you can reuse the herb to get more nutrients out of it.  Just add fresh herb with it and repeat the process.

These simple water facts for herbal extraction can make a big difference in how you feel.  It is another affordable way that water can lend a helping hand to a body in need.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Exercise Balls
    July 15, 2010
    4:21 pm

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  2. Oscar Howerton
    April 26, 2013
    4:31 pm

    Herbal tea is made from many plants, using not just the leaves, but also the flowers, roots, bark and seeds. At Celestial Seasonings, our herbal tea recipes blend the flavors of different botanicals from around the world – resulting in an infinite variety of healthful taste sensations. In fact, this exploration of the many flavors, remedies and benefits of herbal teas is one of the greatest pleasures of working with herbs — there’s an herbal tea that’s just right for every mood and every moment.

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