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A bolus is a suppository used as an internal poultice in the vaginal or rectal areas. A bolus helps draw toxic poisons to the bolus itself or it is the carrier for healing agents.
The bolus may be made by adding powdered herbs to cocoa butter until it forms a compressed and thick consistency. It is best to refrigerator the bolus temporarily to harden and then before it is used, bring the bolus to room temperature.
The bolus may be inserted into the vagina to treat infections, irritations or fibroid tumors or into the rectum to treat hemorrhoids or cysts. It is best to use the bolus at night while sleeping when the cocoa butter will melt with the body heat, where the herbs will then be released.
The herbs used in the bolus are usually astringents. This means that they have a constricting or binding affect. They'll have the ability to pull the toxins out of the body. Typical herbs used in a bolus would be white oak or bayberry bark; demulcent herbs will soothe the part or soften the skin to the area applied. Demulcent herbs are comfrey or slippery elm, and antibiotic herbs will inhibit the growth of or destroy microorganisms. Antibiotic herbs are garlic, chaparral or golden seal.
Gelatin capsules may provide a more favorable way of ingesting herbs, especially when they are bitter-tasting or mucilaginous. Mucilaginous herbs would be slimy or sticky. Herbs such as goldenseal, lobelia, mandrake, and poke should best be taken in smaller quantities and are typically mixed with other herbs.
When purchasing capsules from a superior herb company they may be depended on to be uncontaminated, clean and combined in the suitable proportions. When they are acquired through a reputable company, they are usually arranged and measured by chemists who are trained in herbal studies.
When taking capsules, they may be dissolved in or taken whole with eight ounces of water or your favorite herbal tea.
When we think of the word compress, it brings to mind pressure to a body part with varying pressure to control a hemorrhage. But a compress that we are discussing here may be applied with little or no pressure at all.
Compresses are used to provoke the circulation of the blood or lymph in the body and may be applied either warm or hot. When applied cold they soothe pain and reduce swelling. They are also used for superficial afflictions that may include aches, colds, flu, pains and swellings.
Herbal compresses may accomplish the same effect as an ointment combined with the benefit of heat which is a healing action. One or two heaping tablespoons of an herb or herbal combination are brought to boil in 1 cup of water. A 100% cotton pad or sterile gauze is important since it is a natural material and is dipped in the strained liquid. The excess liquid is drained and the cotton pad is then placed on the affected area while it is still warm. It is best covered with a piece of woolen material to trap the heat. For small children, bandaging it in place may be appropriate. When the compress cools, it is time to change the pad. Compresses are commonly used in cases of contusions, effusions, injury, and irritations.
A compress is also known as a fomentation. A fomentation is a hot, wet application for the relief of pain or inflammation. These compresses are used when herbs that are too strong to be taken internally may be used externally. The herbs will then be absorbed in small amounts slowly into the system through the skin. Don't forget, our skin does absorb, breathe, secrete and sweat.
My favorite is a ginger compress which may be used by using two-ounces of fresh powdered ginger root in a pint of hot water until the water turns yellow. The compress is then applied to the affected area. It is a good idea to have an alternate compress available as soon as one cools. By stimulating the circulation of blood and lymph, it may help reduce or relieve colic, alleviate external or internal inflammation and may also restore warmth to cold, swelling joints typical in arthritis.
A decoction is a liquid therapeutic preparation made by boiling vegetable substances with water. When the strength and method of preparations are not otherwise specified, it may be made by boiling five parts of the herb with enough water to make 100 parts. There are no official decoctions.
Often, a decoction is used when a plant is not soluble in boiling hot or cold water, but will often produce its soluble ingredients by simmering in water five to twenty minutes. Five minutes is enough if the herbal preparation is finely shredded. If the herb is firm or woody, such as a bark, twenty minutes is necessary to produce a sufficient extract. It may be useful if the herbs or plants are initially soaked in cold water and then brought to a boil.
A teaspoon of the dried herb is typically placed in a glass or enamel container with one cup of water. It is a good idea to strain decoctions while they are still hot so the ingredients that separate when cooled may be mixed again with the fluid by shaking when the remedy is used. This is a good method for drawing out the essential alkaloids and mineral salts from the herbs.
An extract is a solid or semi-solid preparation made by extracting the soluble portion of a compound by using water or alcohol and evaporating the solution.
Some herbal extracts are rubbed into the skin for treating strained muscles and sprained ligaments. Some are used for the relief of inflammatory processes such as arthritis, bursitis or tendonitis. Extracts usually contain herbs that are stimulating, such as cayenne or the anti-spasmodic herb, lobelia.
Extracts may be made by putting four ounces of dried herbs or eight ounces of fresh crushed herbs into a jar. One pint of vinegar, alcohol or massage oil is then added and allowed to extract. The jar is shaken, not stirred, one to two times per day. The extract is produced after about four days if the herbs are powdered and about fifteen days if the herbs are whole or cut.
If an oil such as almond, castor, jojoba, mineral or olive is used, a little Vitamin E may be added as a preservative. This oil may then be applied wherever a massage oil is typically used.
As a child, my mom sometimes used an alcohol extract with Vodka Gin, or rubbing alcohol. These extracts were for external use only and had a somewhat cooling effect. This allowed the liquid to evaporate more quickly and left the herbs on the skin to perform their therapeutic duty.
Extracts may also be purchased from a reputable company.
An infusion is made by steeping a substance in either hot or cold water in order to obtain its active principle part.
Infusions are made by pouring the hot liquid over the raw or powdered herb and steeping the preparation to extract their active ingredients. When using the method of infusion, it may minimize any loss of evaporative properties. The typical amounts are about ½ to 1 ounce of herbs to a pint of water. It is best to use an enamel, glass or porcelain container to steep the herbs for about 10 to 20 minutes. The container is then covered with a firm fitting lid to avoid any evaporative properties.
When drinking an infusion, first strain the infusion into a cup or small bowl. It is preferable to drink an infusion either lukewarm or cool; but if the purpose is to instigate a sweat and to break up congestion in the body, then sipping it hot is a better choice.
An ointment is a therapeutic, fatty, soft substance for external application only. It typically has antiseptic, cosmetic or healing properties. It's usual base is petroleum jelly or lanolin to which the herbal preparation is added. Either form is not water soluble, however some ointments are composed of ingredients which are water soluble.
Ointments are preferably used on the skin when the active principles of herbs are needed for longer periods of time which would then accelerate the healing process. This may be in the case of abrasion, contusion, effusion, or injury.
Lanolin is a purified, fatlike substance that is natural and obtained from the wool of sheep which may be used instead of petroleum products.
To make an ointment, one or two heaping teaspoons of an herb or herbal preparation is brought to boil in the product of choice. The mixture is then stirred and strained. When the mixture cools, the ointment is put into jars and is ready to use when the time is right.
An oil is a greasy liquid not miscible with water, usually obtained from and classified as mineral, vegetable or animal. According to character, oils are subdivided as fixed or fatty; and either volatile (easily evaporated) or essential.
Fixed oils e.g. - castor oil, olive oil, or cold liver oil. These oils in plants and animals are glyceryl esters of fatty acids. These oils serve as food reserves in animals. They are nonvolatile and contain no acid.
Volatile oils e.g. - mustard, peppermint or rose. These oils have an odor and produce taste sensations which are obtained from certain plants by steam distillation. These oils are used in flavors, perfumes and healing remedies. They are usually complex chemicals that are difficult to purify.
Herb oils are useful when ointments or compresses are not practical. It is important that herb oils be stored in brown glass containers.
When the main property of an herb is much the same as its essential oils, an oil extract may be the best way of preparing a concentrate from fresh herbs.
Oils are prepared by softening and pounding the fresh, dried herbs. The oil of choice is then added, approximately 2 ounces of an herb to one pint of oil. The mixture is then put in a warm place around four days. A swifter process is to carefully heat the oil and herbs in a pan for about one hour. The oil is then strained and bottled. A small amount of Vitamin E may be added as a preservative.
Oils are typically made from the aromatic herbs such as eucalyptus, lavendar, ginger, peppermint, and spearment.
A poultice may be a hot, moist mass of oil between two pieces of muslin or gauze containing herbs which is applied to the skin to relieve congestion or pain. It may stimulate the absorption of inflammatory toxins produced by the body and to act as a counter-irritant. Antiseptic should be used before applying poultices.
The poultice should be a minimum of ¼ to ½ inch thick. It may be held in place with either tape or an elastic bandage and left on for at least three hours. Poultices can also be left on the body overnight for deep cleansing. Most poultices are applied warm and should not be reheated and then reapplied as toxins have already been absorbed into the poultice pack. When one poultice cools, another may be applied at that time.
Before applying a poultice, the skin is first covered with oil. The poultice may be warm crushed fresh or ground powdered herbs that have been applied directly to the skin to relieve abscesses, blood poisoning, bites and eruptions, boils, decrease tissue swelling
(inflammation) and tension, deodorize and disinfect pollutants, soften crusted lesions, encourage the muscles to relax, stimulate healthy skin, and to promote the purging of toxins and healing of the affected area.
There are many herbal preparations that may be used as a poultice; aloe vera juice, comfrey, or goldenseal applied to bruises and a bandage put on for a few hours. Many herbs have a natural drawing power on infections, toxins and foreign bodies embedded in the skin tissue. Plantain and marshmallow are excellent for relieving pain and muscle spasms. If cayenne is a stimulant when added to herbs such as lobelia, valerian, catnip or echinacea. Powdered herbs may be moistened with apple cider vinegar, herbal teas, hot water, liniments, or tinctures.
A plaster may also be used as a poultice. A potent plaster for drawing out fever may be made by squeezing out water from tofu and mashing the tofu with pastry flour and a large pinch of fresh ginger root.
A powder is a collection of fine particles of one or more substances that may be passed through fine meshes.
Powders are made from fresh parts of plants which are mashed until there are fine particles of the herbal property. By forming a powder, the herb can be taken either by capsule, in water, in herbal teas, or sprinkled onto food.
This is an terrific method to acquaint herbs at a leisurely pace to become familiar with the dosage.
For external use, the powdered herbs, are used with oil, a petroleum jelly, lanolin, water or even aloe vera juice and applied to the skin to treat abrasions, contusions, effusions, inflammatory processes, and wounds.
A salve is an ointment that is applied to wounds or abrasions. A salve is typically made with a base of fat, oil, petroleum jelly or a resin. Olive oil is usually the base of choice.
Dried or fresh herbs are covered with water and brought to a boil, which are then simmered for approximately 20 - 30 minutes. The preparation is then strained and added to an equal amount of olive oil or the base of choice. The preparation is simmered until the water has evaporated in steam and only the oil remains. Beeswax is added to give the mixture salve consistency and poured into a dark glass jar with a firm fitting lid. Salves may last up to a year.
A syrup that we are most familiar with is a concentrated solution of sugar in water with specific healing properties added.
A syrup is classic in treating coughs, mucus congestion, bronchial catarrh and sore throats because it may coat the area and keep the herbs in direct contact with the affected area. Syrups are especially helpful for children and those with a sensitive palate.
Syrups may be made by adding about two ounces of herbs to a quart of water and cautiously boiled down to one pint. While the blend is still warm, two ounces of honey and/or glycerine is added to produce the thickened substance. Licorice and wild cherry bark are popular flavors and therapeutic agents in making syrups. Other herbs that are commonly used are anise seed, comfrey, fennel seed and Irish Moss.
Tinctures are alcoholic extracts of vegetable or animal substances. Some popular tinctures are belladonna and ginger.
Tinctures are solutions of a concentrated herbal extract that can be stored for extended periods of time because alcohol is an excellent preservative. Tinctures are typically made with more potent herbs that are not taken as herbal teas. Tinctures may be made by combining four ounces of a powdered or cut herb with one point of alcohol such as brandy, gin, rum or vodka. The tinctures is shaken daily which allows the herbs to extract for about two weeks. The herbs are then left to settle and the tincture is then poured off. It is normally strained through cheese cloth. The extract may also be made with vinegar.
Tinctures are useful for herbs that are not so agreeable to the tastebuds or if they are to be taken over a long period of time, and may be used externally as a liniment.
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