The goal of the herbalist is to release the volatile oils, antibiotics, aromatics, and other healing chemicals contained by the herb. Herbs can be prepared in a variety of forms depending on their purpose. Such techniques include:
In general, delicate leaves and flowers are best infused. Boiling may cause them to lose the volatile essential oils. Roots, barks, and seeds are best made into decoctions.
As the herbs are getting more and more popular, more and more manufacturers are supplying standardized herb extracts. A standardized extract means that the manufacturer has verified that the active ingredient believed to be present in the herb is present in the preparation and that the potency and the amount of the active ingredient is assured in the preparation. The problem is that, the action of the herb may be from a number of constituents and not from just one or two ingredients. Thus, the standardized preparation may omit some of the ingredients and we will lose out on the effect from the complex combination of the constituents.
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