What Are Decoctions?

What Are Decoctions?

Decoctions are herbal teas made of the more dense, fiberous plant materials—berries, roots, barks.

This traditional method is how I was taught by my teacher, Dr. Hua Ling Xu, and she always stressed that it is the most potent way to take Eastern herbal formulas.

Preparation: Place herbs in a pot and cover with 8 cups of water. Simmer with the lid off until the liquid has reduced by one half. Strain liquid into a glass jar. If less than 4 cups, add fresh water to make 4 cups. Re-boil the strained herbs in 8 cups of fresh water, until reduced by one half. Strain liquid into glass jar for a total of 8 cups.

The lighter parts of the plant—leaves and flowers, can be added to the decoction for the last 5-10 minutes of cook time.

Decoctions are taken throughout the day, usually 1/2–1 cup twice a day. Tea can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and reheated as needed.

Part science, part art. All medicine.
—E

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