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 Integrative Medicine: Preparing Herbal Treatments 

To make an herbal tea from a tincture or extract, put the suggested number of drops of the extract into a hot cup of water. Let the mixture sit for five minutes to allow some of the alcohol to evaporate.

Herbal Juices (Juiced Fresh Herbs)
If you are lucky enough to have a reliable source of fresh herbs and a juicer, you may want to prepare a fresh essence.

Wash the fresh herbs well under cold running water. If necessary, scissor them into pieces of a suitable size. Place the wet herb parts in a juice extractor and whiz them into liquid. The fresh juice maybe taken internally in the form of a few drops diluted in tea or spring water. For some conditions, the juice may prove valuable when dabbed externally on the affected parts of the body.

Fresh juices are generally used immediately after extraction. However, if you place the liquid in a small glass bottle, cork it tightly, and refrigerate it, it will keep for several days without an appreciable loss of vital properties.

Herbal Ointments
There are many very fine herbal ointments and salves available. Purchased ointments and salves are often much more attractive and pleasant to use than the homemade variety. But if you wish to emulate yesterday's herbalists, here's how to make your own herbal ointment.

In a double boiler (preferably ceramic or glass), heat 2 ounces of vegetable lanolin or beeswax until it becomes liquid. Once this base is melted, add 80 to 120 drops of each herbal tincture you want in your salve. Mix them together and pour into a glass container. Refrigerate the mixture and allow it to harden. If you prefer, you can use a very strong herbal tea made with your own fresh or dried herbs instead of a store-bought tincture. Keep a record of your recipes for later use.

Herbal Oils
To prepare a fragrant herbal oil, wash the fresh herbs of your choice and permit them to dry overnight. Place scissored fresh herbs or crumbled dried herbs in a glass bottle or jar. Slowly add light virgin olive oil or almond oil until the oil level is an inch above the herb parts. Cover the container tightly and allow it to stand in a very warm place for two weeks. You may place it near the stove to gather warmth from cooking, or outside in the sun (but remember to bring it in before night cools the air). Strain the oil before using it.

Herbal Poultices or Compresses (Pulped)
Only fresh herbs are suitable for making a pulped poultice. Dried herbs do not pulp well. By pulping the herbs directly onto the poultice cloth, you retain all the juices and improve the effectiveness of the poultice.

Place a quantity of fresh herb parts on a clean white cloth several folds thick (cotton, gauze, linen, and muslin are ideal). Wrap several thicknesses of the cloth over the herbs. Using a rolling pin, thoroughly crush the herbs to a pulp.

Unwrap a layer or two of the cloth, until you uncover a thoroughly wetted area. Apply this to the affected area of the body. To trap the juices and hold the poultice in place, overwrap it well with a woolen cloth or a towel. A pulped compress can remain in place overnight.

Herbal Poultices or Compresses (Steamed)
A hot herbal poultice can be very comforting to a distressed child. The active ingredients in the herbs will be absorbed through the skin.

(Excerpted from Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child ISBN: 1583331395)
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 About The Author
Janet Zand LAc, OMDJANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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