How to Make Herbal Medicines from Roots and Bark
Learn to Make Your Own Herbal Remedies at Home for Your Pets

How to Make an Herbal Decoction

In this process, roots, barks or chips are soaked, then boiled to extract their resinous properties. The decoction differs from the infusion in that heat is applied and continued over a period of time (boiling or simmering), because roots and barks generally need longer heating to extract their active principles.


Stainless steel, enamel or glass sauce pan.
Stainless steel or nylon strainer.
Covered glass jar for storage (a Mason canning jar with a lid works very well).
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1. Pour 1 1/2 pints (24 ounces) of cold water over 1 ounce of your chosen fresh or dried herb. Dried herbs should be pulverized or ground first. If you use fresh herbs they should be chopped and bruised first. Soak the mixture of herb and water for 12 hours.
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2. After the cold soaking process, put the pot on the stove and bring the mixture to a slight boil. The harder the plant material is, the longer the simmering process will be. You will be cooking the mixture down to 1 pint - loosing 1/2 pint in the extraction process. Generally, it will take around 1 hour. After the extractive period, drain off the liquid while it is hot and press the herb hard to make sure that all of the therapeutic properties are removed; then let stand until cool. When cool pour off the clear liquid on the top, separating it from the plant material. If you have less than 1 pint remaining add enough additional water to make it equal 1 pint (this will keep it from being too strong).
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3. Sweeten to taste and pour into a glass jar with a lid. Decoctions are meant for immediate use. If kept refrigerated, they will keep for approximately a 24 to 72 hour period. Tip: To keep longer, freeze the liquid in ice cube trays. When frozen store the cubes in ziplock freezer bags and thaw small amounts as needed. Freezing will not degrade the medicinal qualities of the decoction.
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