"How the heck do I take these herbs?" and other good questions.
What form of herbs is best for me? The best form of herbs for any patient is the one you can realistically make time for! So keep that in mind. Tablets and tinctures are more portable but less potent than powdered herbs. Powdered herbs are slightly more potent and more customizable. Raw herbs are the most potent, use no binders, and are the most time consuming. Take a good look at how much time you have to commit and what results you want, and be sure to ask questions if you need!
Tablets and liquid extracts: As prescribed (usually by number of tablets or droppers). If you are allergic to any binders (corn, gluten, etc) be sure to let us know so we can find a tablet that works with your body! If you are on any medication or other supplements, be sure to tell us and we can keep those in mind. Typically we will let you know depending on the formula's action whether to take before, with or after meals.
Granular Herbs: Add your prescribed amount of scoops of powder to comfortably warm 1 oz - 6 oz of hot water and stir to dissolve. If you are on any medication or other supplements, be sure to tell us and we can keep those in mind. Typically we will let you know depending on the formula's action whether to take before, with or after meals.
Raw/Bulk Herb Cooking Instructions: First things first - some herb math! Each "bag" of herbs you are prescribed is good for up to 3 "cooks" and each cook will last you a day. The first cook will be the most potent. Some patients prefer to just buy a bag per day, but if finances are a factor, use the directions below
Additional instructions: Wrap any seeds or "hairy" herbs in cheesecloth. Keep any aromatic herbs separate and add at the end of your cook-time. Cook time may vary depending on formula - just ask your acupuncturist for any other details!
Rinse herbs using a strainer and add in a ceramic pot if available. Stainless steel is fine otherwise! Add 3 cups of water and bring everything to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes (ask your practitioner). Add any aromatic herbs at last 5 minutes and make sure to keep the pot's lid. Strain herbs out and keep the water/decoction. You now have herbs for the entire day!
Some quick notes: you can repeat the same process twice if the price of herbs is prohibitive for you (for a total of 3 cooks per bag). Each bag will then last for 3 days. You can cook all at once to save time if you have a solid day at home and divide this into 3 large mason jars (1 per day). Keep these in the fridge. When you are ready to drink your herbs, simply reheat the liquid to a comfortably warm temperature.
Raw/bulk herbs are the most time consuming form of herbal medicine, but also the most potent! It might not be best for you if you are... let's say a CPA and it's tax season. But if you can carve out a couple hours to prepare while you are doing something else around the house, it's a very rewarding way to connect with the medicine and a radical act of self care.
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