Liniments: Liniments can be applied by rubbing or massage, and have excellent warming effects. They stimulate, warm and relax the skin and muscles in external conditions. They relieve local tissue trauma with swelling such as sprains. They relieve burns and inflammation, and also repel insects. Liniments can be oil or water based. To make an oil-based liniment, mix herbs in oil or lard over very low heat for 4-8 hours, then strain. Use 1 pint of lard or oil for every 2 ounces of dried herbs. Alternately, soak the material for 2-3 weeks, shaking it once or twice daily. Strain and store. A water-based liniment is made exactly the same way as a tincture, except rubbing alcohol is used. If this is the case, be sure to label the bottle clearly “For external use only.”
Bath/Wash: Therapeutic baths use water to which herbal teas or bundled herbs have been added. The purpose of an herbal bath is to restore and strengthen, to relax, calm and release tension, to stimulate and warm, to reduce fever in feverish conditions (cool bath), and to draw out toxins. Full Bath: A cold full body bath is taken for 1-2 mins., never longer. For those in good health, it has a reviving and stimulating effect. A warm full bath has a tiring effect. Warm full baths are mildly relaxing. They can generally treat tension and stress. Crush or chop the herbs to be used, using up to 4 ozs. Add to water and allow to steep covered for 4-5 hours. This can be used for several baths. Use 2/3-1 pint of the herb tea for each bath, or add essential oils, 5-10 drops directly in the water. The herb mix may be bound up in a muslin bag and steeped in the hot water for the entire duration of the bath. Sitzbath: Fill a bowl or bathtub with enough water to cover the hips up to the waist only. Add 1/2 pint of the herbal preparation or 5-10 drops of essential oil to the water. Cold sitzbaths should last only 1-3 minutes. They are unsurpassed for heavy menstruation and boost the immunity to help prevent colds and flues. A hot sitzbath of about 15 minutes will stimulate, relax and relieve pain. They are typically used for painful menses, hemorrhoids and constipation.
Bolus/Suppository: A suppository or bolus is an herbal preparation in the shape of a cone or cylinder, used to apply the herbal agent into the nostrils, rectum, urethra or vagina. These solid formations are introduced into the different body orifices. To make a bolus or suppository, add slippery elm or cocoa butter to powdered herbs. Add water to the combination to make a dough-like mass that is easily formed. Shape into long pencil shaped tubes and cut into the desired size.
These are easily inserted and will melt at body temperature.
Electuary: This is an herbal powder incorporated into honey or syrup to form a soft or pasty mass which can be rolled into a ball. When a child does not like to take capsules or resists drinking strong teas, you can make up an electurary by mixing herb powder with a little honey, stiffening it with a small quantity of coconut or slippery elm powder, and then have the child chew the mass. Even cayenne can be taken in this way, using peanut butter and honey as a base. Electuaries may be made from powders of barks, roots, seeds and flowers, but astringent electuaries (having pulps or fruits in them) should be prepared only in small quantities, as the medicinal virtues in these are rapidly lost and the fruit pulps are apt to ferment.
Enema: This is a way to administer copious amounts of liquid into the bowel itself, including infusions or decoctions, having a laxative or peristaltic action upon the bowels. It is also used as a means of conveying nutritive fluids into the system. There are anti-putrefaction enemas, diuretic enemas, emollient enemas, laxative enemas. If a hot or warm enema is given, then the anus will relax, causing the rectal area to discharge immediately, so a cool preparation is preferred as it will soak through the waste concentrations. Prepare an infusion or decoction with 1 1/2 teaspoons of herb to each cup of water. Use 1 1/2 cups to 1 pint solution for children. Use 1 to 3 quarts for adults.
Syrup: A syrup is a thick, sweet liquid used for irritated conditions of the throat, lungs, stomach and intestines where continuous soothing effects are needed. It coats the digestive passages. The gradual and gentle absorption of syrups is ideal for children and elderly people. Syrup is made by dissolving sugar or honey into distilled water, decoctions, infusions, or juices, and is used to suspend medicinal or flavoring agents for easy administration alone, or to combine with other preparations. To make a syrup with herbs, for every pint of double strength herbal liquid infusion or decoction, add one and 1/2 pounds of sugar or 1 pound of honey, place in pan and heat until sugar or honey is melted, cool and store. Syrups will keep for 8 months to 1 year, or longer if refrigerated and sterile equipment is used, and alcohol or glycerine added as additional preservative.
Steam: Breathing in the vapors of an herbal infusion that is high in essential oils is a good way to treat respiratory problems. Inhalations can provide invaluable symptom relief, while other remedies taken internally are for more long-term treatment. To prepare an inhalation, make an infusion with the required herbs. Alternately, add 5-10 drops of essential oil into a small bowl of steaming hot water. Essential oils are the most convenient to use. Cover the head with a large heavy towel, and inhale the volatile oils for 5-15 minutes. Inhalations can be done 3 times a day or more.
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