Asian American Herbalism and Teas Asian American Herbalism and Teas

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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