Types of medicinal plant preparations

INFUSIONS: they are made by mixing the crushed herb with hot water, letting it rest for a few minutes and filter.

COOKING: it is done in boiling water for a set time.

EXTRACTS: the herb is mixed with solvent (60 or 70% alcohol) cold and leaving the mixture in contact for a few days, stirring from time to time and filtered. The ratio is one part of plant in 3 of alcohol.

SYRUPs: these are preparations in which herbs are macerated or cooked in a soft syrup. As it contains sugar, it may be inadvisable for some patients.

MACERATION: consists of immersing the plant in cold water or oil. Time varies; for the flowers a few hours will be enough while for the roots it will take several days.

ESSENTIAL OILS: obtained by distillation and is the most powerful part of the plant. They are used as a condiment, in aromatherapy or for massages. There are lemon, lavender, pine .

MEDICINAL OILS: preferably pure olive, to which digestive plants have been added, or with other properties, whose absorption by the body is easier in this way. There are digestive oils with sage , hops or lemon tree. Digestive and aromatic with bay leaf, rosemary or thyme .

BATHS: the properties of medicinal plants are added to the water, whether in infusion, cooked, essences, salts etc. They can be relaxing like lemon balm or barley , stimulating like pine , or calming and cleansing like chamomile or pansy .

CREAMS: they are solid and finer than ointments, prepared with more water. They are used in addition to cosmetics, for burns, stings, bruises or skin infections. There are marigold or yarrow .

CONSUMED: raw or cooked. There are, although we are not aware of it, many plants and fruits that we eat, with medicinal properties. For example in salads, dandelion or purslane . And like cooked vegetables, nettle or parietaria .

DROPS : are the medicinal substances of the plant diluted in liquid, usually water.

COMPRESSES: it is a gauze moistened in infusion or cooking of the plant and placed on the affected area. Or gently press the raw or boiled plant, wrap it in gauze, and place it on the skin. In plants, not all the parts that compose it have healing, culinary or cosmetic properties, sometimes only a part of them.

LEAVES: with or without stem, they are collected before flowering, but when they have reached maturity, the ones that are closer to the ground will be taken. The leaves must be healthy in their external appearance and clean.

FLOWERS: they are plucked at the beginning of their flowering, to prevent them from wilting. The best time is early morning. Some of them pull out the cocoons, others should be collected in shoots, others, like mallow , have to be open and in some species totally open.

ROOTS: harvested in autumn and early winter. The roots and tubers are harvested at the end of the growing season and plucked in the afternoon.

BARK: harvested in autumn, after the leaves have fallen, the resinous ones in spring. They should be caught when they are tender and fresh.

FRUITS: they are collected when they are mature, or a little earlier in those cases in which their pulp spoils quickly.

Tips for collecting Medicinal Plants

– Plants must not be damp from rain or dew.

– Avoid blows in the collected ones.

– Plants should not be stored while they are fresh.

– They must be free of dirt, insects, dirt and weeds.

– Do not collect: next to roads, near contaminated water, or toxic places.

When the plants are very young, their juices are liquid with substances without marked properties and without a clear physiological action, as they grow the chemical principles develop.

The climate influences the development of plants and the formation of their active principles. The climate is given by the light, the temperature, the humidity, the kind of terrain, the altitude and the latitude.

How to preserve Medicinal Plants

For their conservation they must be dried once the harvest is finished.

  • Do not dry them in the sun, better in ventilated and covered places.
  • They can be hung in bundles, or placed on ventilated shelves or wires.
  • They can be dried with stoves.
  • The temperature must not exceed 50 °.
  • Avoid squeezing the collected herbs and putting them in sealed plastic bags.
  • Protect them from sunlight.
  • For a correct drying of leaves, stems and flowers, it takes 3 to 8 days in summer, in spring it lasts from one to two weeks.
  • For the roots, it will take about 2 weeks in summer and a month in autumn and winter.
  • Store them in a cool place, but protected from the cold.
  • In tightly closed paper bags or in wooden or cardboard boxes covered with paper.
  • In ceramic or colored glass containers that prevent the entry of light.

Therapeutic effects of Medicinal Plants. Uses in Phytotherapy

Plants are a very complex organism, containing many components that are useful for treating certain disorders. Some of the therapeutic properties are:

Diuretic plants: help to eliminate accumulated fluids and purify the urinary tract. One advantage is that they do not remove potassium. Some of these plants are artichoke leaves, horsetail, burdock, borage leaves, watercress, and dandelion.

Purifying plants: cleanse the body of toxins, dead bacteria and urea that sometimes the body cannot eliminate naturally. Cleansing the body is key to restoring health. Purifying plants are the leaves of artichoke, holy thistle, green nettle, burdock and linden .

Laxative plants: they are used to cleanse the intestines and to prevent fats from remaining in the intestine for a long time and from being absorbed by the body. They should not be used for more than seven days in a row. The best are cascara sagrada, mallow, and peach leaves .

Sweat plants: decongest the liver, kidneys, lungs and lymphatic system. They not only help you lose weight but also fight acne. Some plants are burdock, willow, borage leaves, green anise .





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