From theory to practice – How To Use Plants
How to use the plants and how to consume or apply them on the body. Many home remedies are better when fresh ingredients are used, although some medications may be stored for some weeks in suitable containers, often in cold weather.
There are different forms of preparation which vary according to the intended purpose and are also conditioned by the characteristics of the products:
Infusion: water is heated to boiling and then poured on top of the plant material in a container that can be a cup, sometimes is left to stand for a few minutes and finally it is drunk.
Decoction: In the process of decoction, the herbs are boiled with water to extract the active ingredients from the plant. Generally, this method is used for tougher parts of the plant such as root, stem and the shell. During preparation, the herb is mixed with water in a container that is brought to the boil. The mixture is boiled for a few minutes, normally less than 5 minutes, but can reach 15 minutes, with the container partially capped. After boiling strain the material and is ready to drink.
Juices: are obtained from fresh plant material squeezing the fruit, leaves or roots, and must be consumed immediately.
Cooking and bathing or washing: it is a prolonged cooking of the plant material (during several minutes, far more prolonged than the rapid boiling of tea) and then with the water wash up the affected area or allow to cool slightly this water then dip the affected area in this lukewarm water.
Gargle: do a prolonged cooking of the plant material (as above), allow to cool a little and then make up the throat gargle with this water.
Application of soaked rags: make a long cooking of the plant material (as above), then soak up cloths / wipes (some people refer linen cloths) in that hot water and apply these cloths on the affected area. Keep soaking the cloth in the hot water when they cool down.
Vapors: do a long cooking of the plant material (as above), then this water is placed in a container (bowl, bucket, bowl), and the person places the affected area over it and receives the vapors released by the hot water.
Poultice or plasters: the plant material is applied directly to the affected area and kept there with a patch, a cloth, handkerchief or a bandage.
Direct application: the vegetable material is applied directly to the affected area, but unlike the above, the application is not too long and not is bind.
Syrup: The plant material is typically boiled for a while with honey or sugar resulting in a thick liquid which is usually taken with a spoon (soup, tea, one or a few tablespoons per day, often before eating). It can be stored in a container to consume until is gone.
Maceration: the plant material is placed in a liquid (water, alcohol, spirits) that is put up to stand for a while; in some cases when using alcohol or spirits the solution can be stored in a container (jar) for many months or even years; often the resulting liquid is used to frictions in which the liquid is placed and rubbed into the affected area.
Smokehouse: the plant material is burned (in the fire or coals), the vapours of the burn are allowed to spread around the house, or the person or its cloths are placed to receive these vapors.