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Methods of Medicine Making: Comparison Table

MethodDescriptionPreparation MethodShelf Life
ExtractsA concentrated substance made by extracting the essence of a substance using a solvent such as ethanol, water, or oil.The substance is usually soaked in the solvent for a period of time, then the liquid is strained and the remaining liquid is evaporated to create a concentrated extract.2-3 years
Essential OilsA highly concentrated liquid containing volatile aroma compounds from plants.Essential oils are usually extracted through steam distillation or cold pressing. This results in a highly concentrated oil that is usually diluted with a carrier oil before use.2-3 years
TincturesA concentrated liquid extract made by soaking herbs or other plant material in alcohol or vinegar.The plant material is usually soaked in the solvent for several weeks, then the liquid is strained and the remaining liquid is bottled for use.2 years
DecoctionsA method of extracting the active compounds from hard plant material such as roots, bark, or seeds by boiling in water.The plant material is usually boiled in water for a period of time, then the liquid is strained and the remaining liquid is used as a decoction.24-48 hours or 3 days refrigerated
InfusionsA method of extracting the active compounds from soft plant material such as leaves or flowers by steeping in hot water.The plant material is usually steeped in hot water for a period of time, then the liquid is strained and the remaining liquid is used as an infusion.24 hours or 3 days refrigerated
SalvesSalves are semi-solid preparations made by combining herbs with a base, such as beeswax or coconut oil.Melt the base in a double boiler, add the herbs, and stir until well combined.6 months
PoulticesPoultices are soft, moist substances made by mixing herbs with hot water or oil.Steep the herbs in hot water or oil, strain, and apply the resulting mixture to a cloth.Use Immediately