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Can I add anything to teas and infusions to make them more palatable?
You can absolutely add milk and anything else that will help to make your teas and infusions tasty, though in some cases the protein in milk may affect the bioavailability of some herbal constituents. Honey, fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice, a splash of dairy or dairy-free milk, and even diluting the tea/infusion with juice or broth are all great options. You may also want to consider adding tasty herbs to your blend such as peppermint, spearmint, lemongrass, rose hips, cinnamon, and licorice! These can all add delicious flavor as well as bring their own benefits to your tea cup. Experiment and have fun!
Safety Note: It’s always a good idea to research any herbs you’d like to add into your teas or infusions, even as flavorings, for safety and dosing information. For example, licorice root should not be used for more than 4-6 weeks or in large doses as it can lower potassium levels in the body and cause unwanted health effects. It should also not be used by individuals who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or who have heart, liver, kidney disease, or diabetes.
What are the best containers for storing my herbs?
As we recommend to students, any clean, dry glass or BPA-free plastic container with a tight sealing lid works wonderfully! Canning jars are a great option. Note that canning jar lids used to be coated with BPA, and so replace older lids.
What is the best alcohol to use as a menstruum when making tinctures?
We often receive this question, which is why we touch on the basics of choosing alcohol in our beginner programs. Vodka and brandy are popular choices for herbalists when making tinctures! Keep in mind that tinctures should contain at least 25% alcohol for preservation purposes. In general, for leafy herbs 50-60% alcohol is used; for fresh herbs 70-90% alcohol is used, and for resins 80-90% is used.
I am making my first tincture and would like to know more about what “by volume” is as well as more about ratios and percentages.
The volume involved in tincture making refers to the amount (or volume) of alcohol used. While the ratio is the amount of herb to alcohol and percentage refers to the concentration of alcohol in the menstruum.
Perhaps looking at an example will be helpful:
For a 1:5 ratio, you are using 1 part herb (measured in grams) for every 5 parts menstruum (measured in mL). If we have chosen to use 30 g herb, 30 x 5 = 150 mL menstruum.
If you choose to use 60 g herb, for a 1:5 tincture you would use 60 g x 5 = 300 mL menstruum.
If you were creating a 1:4 tincture with 30 g herb, you would use 30 x 4 = 120 mL menstruum.
Tincture making can be confusing at first but you will likely get the hang of it after you make your first few tinctures. Also, keep in mind that you can always make tinctures using the folk method if that suits you better as an herbalist
Why are there different amounts of steeping time for making teas and infusions? What is the difference?
To make a tea, you will generally want to steep your herbs for 15 to 20 minutes. This helps to extract many of the constituents from the plant into the water. An infusion, however, is left to steep for longer, generally 4 to 8 hours (or overnight). Plants that are prepared as infusions tend to be vitamin and mineral rich plants. The longer steeping time is thought to extract more of the vitamins and minerals into the water
What herbal compounds and medicines are effective for the prevention and treatment of fatty liver?
Healthy foods for the liver: water, fruits, sour lemons, 4-5 units of vegetables a day, natural pickles (such as barberry, which is the best medicine), citrus fruits, whole grains. Peas, apples, berries, grapes, celery, cinnamon, cilantro, saffron, mung bean, fenugreek, olives, ginger, turmeric, figs, lettuce, spinach, carrots, barberry, and squash.