As we’ve touched on in several earlier articles, herbs can be used in a variety of forms. This part of our glossary will take a closer look at many of the most useful herbal forms, and help you understand each a bit better.
Herbal Teas – Herbs used in tea form have the advantage of quick assimilation by a weakened, sick body. The heat from boiling water releases the power of the herbs, and there is liquid for our body already included from the tea. Herbal teas are also useful when an area needs to be coated for relief and healing.
Some herbal teas come in standard tea bags and can be made just like regular tea can. Other herbs must have boiled water poured over either freshly picked, or dried and ground herb pieces.
Herbal Capsules – Dried and ground herbs are placed into gelatin capsules, which dissolve quickly. Often capsuled herbs are concentrated for more strength, and they’re easily portable. Most of the strongest medicinal herbs are quite bitter to the taste too, so it’s easier to get them down when taking them in capsule form.
Most herbal capsules contain just one specific herb in them, but sometimes you can buy combination capsules, or you can buy the dried ground herbs and make specific combinations yourself.
Extracts and Tinctures are concentrated herbs in liquid form. Most are made with either drinking alcohol such as Everclear, or Apple Cider Vinegar. Powdered or dried herbs are added to a pint of either fluid, then aged for at least two weeks. Alcohol based tinctures and extracts brings out more of the herbs properties than vinegar does, and the alcohol can be dissipated by putting a few drops of the tincture into 1/4 cup of very warm water.
Herbal Oils is another form of getting liquid herbs, but the liquid form of these are created with olive oil instead of alcohol or vinegar. Herbal oils usually need to be kept refrigerated.
Herbal Ointments and Salves are used for topical applications. They’re made by mixing powdered herbs into natural petroleum jelly or lanolin, and can be kept indefinitely in small beauty containers or cream jars with lids.
Herbal Poultices are used for external wounds, swelling, bites, stings, inflammations and so on. They’re made by chopping, grating or blending various herbs with mineral water, olive oil, aloe vera, or other healing liquids. The mixture is then applied to a clean cloth, then laid with the herb side against the skin on the affected area. A poultice can be covered with plastic or wrapped in gauze to keep from getting cloths and bedding dirty.
A bolus is an internal herbal poultice usually used in suppository form for the rectum or vagina.
Statements made in this article may not be approved by the FDA, and should not be taken as professional medical advice.