Herbal healing remedies in the form of teas, poultices, and infusions took their root in Europe, co-existed with oriental healing herbal remedies and merged with the rich herbal remedies of the Native Americans. Even at this era when herbs have been given away to the modern chemical-based medicine, in many developed countries, some 70% to 80% of the population still has used some form of alternative or complementary medicine, for its natural healing and remedial power, often without the same negative side effect.
According to The Herb Society of America's New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses by Deni Bown: "The term "herb" also has more than one definition. Botanists describe an herb as a small, seed bearing plant with fleshy, rather than woody, parts (from which we get the term "herbaceous"). In this book, the term refers to a far wider range of plants. In addition to herbaceous perennials, herbs include trees, shrubs, annuals, vines, and more primitive plants, such as ferns, mosses, algae, lichens, and fungi. They [herbs] are valued for their flavor, fragrance, medicinal and healthful qualities, economic and industrial uses, pesticidal properties, and coloring materials (dyes)."
The process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time (a process often called steeping). An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid. The process of infusion is distinct from decoction, which involves boiling the plant material, or percolation, in which the water passes through the material (as in a coffeemaker).
Large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce (28gm) by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.
Like aloe vera, a drawing salve is a salve used to help treat various minor skin problems such as sebaceous cysts, boils, ingrown toenails and splinters. It is sometimes known as Black Ointment, or Ichthyol Salve. The main ingredients are often ichthammol, phenyl alcohol, or arnica montana, and several familiar herbs such as echinacea or calendula.
A salve is an unctuous adhesive substance for application to wounds or sores.
In herbal medicine, alcoholic tinctures are made with various concentrations of ethanol, 25% being the most common.
Herbal tinctures are not always made using ethanol as the solvent, though this is most commonly the case. Other solvents include vinegar, glycerol, ether and propylene glycol, not all of which can be used for internal consumption. Ethanol has the advantage of being an excellent solvent for both acidic and basic (alkaline) constituents.
A carrier oil is a vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, usually from the seeds, kernels or the nuts. If applied to the skin undiluted, essential oils, absolutes, CO2s and other concentrated aromatics can cause severe irritation or reactions in some individuals.
Carrier oils are used to dilute essential and other oils prior to application. They carry the essential oil onto the skin. Each carrier oil offers a different combination of therapeutic properties and characteristics. The choice of carrier oil can depend on the therapeutic benefit being sought. Natural lotions, creams, body oils, bath oils, lip balms and other moisturizing skin care products are also made using vegetable (carrier) oils. From a simple essential oil/carrier oil blend to a more complex natural lotion, your choice of carrier oil can make a difference in the therapeutic properties, color, overall aroma and shelf life of your final product.
Vegetable Butters and Other Ingredients As Carriers
Vegetable butters are not carrier oils, but the beneficial properties of vegetable butters like Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter make them lipids that are suitable for use in aromatic and herbal dilutions and applications. Vegetable butters are similar to vegetable oils but are solid at room temperature. Vegetable butters are processed by a wide variety of methods, so it's especially important to check the method of extraction when shopping for butters. Strive to use butters that are cold pressed.
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