Herbal Drugs: Ingestion methods

Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:58 pm

Herbal drugs are taken in a variety of ways. A person looking for ginseng in a health foods store would find ginseng tablets, ginseng capsules, a liquid ginseng extract, dried ginseng root, ginseng gum, and possibly even ginseng cigarettes. Another popular way to take herbal drugs is to make a tea from the dried leaves, roots, or flowers of the plant. Many herbals come in an ointment form, which people apply topically (to the skin) to treat wounds, burns, or skin conditions such as eczema. Following are come common ways herbal medicines are prepared and taken:
A decoction is a tea made from boiling the bark, roots, or other woody parts of the plant in water.
An infusion is a tea made by pouring hot water over the dried leaves, flowers, or fruit of the plant and allowing it to steep. The water is usually boiling, but some infusions use cold water.
A tincture is an extract of the plant made by soaking herbs in glycerine, alcohol, or vinegar for several weeks. The liquid is strained from the plant and can be used therapeutically by adding it to hot water or other beverages. Tinctures can also be taken by the spoonful like other medicines.
A liniment is an extract of an herb added to either alcohol or vinegar and applied to the skin.
A poultice is a soft, moist mass of plant material, often crushed or bruised, which has been wrapped in a fine woven cloth. People apply poultices to burns, wounds, or other skin damage or disease.

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