Phytotherapy : how to use medicinal plants ?

Aurélia D | 06 April 2022
Reading time : about 5 minutes
Phytotherapy : how to use medicinal plants  ?
Contents

    In what form should medicinal plants be used ?

    From dried or fresh plants, it is possible to obtain different forms to use for treatment. The forms are obtained by using a solvent (water, oil or alcohol).

    #1. Using medicinal plants in infusion form

    Very well known and widely used, infusions can be obtained from fresh plant or the dry plant. To do this :

    • boiling water is poured over the plant without ever exceeding the temperature of 60 degrees;
    • Cover and let it infuse for 15 minutes;
    • filter and then drink.

    Which plants to use in an infusion ?

    Infusion is a simple way to use a large number of edible and safe plants. The most popular blends are :

    • soothing herbal blends (scented verbena and Roman chamomile);
    • mixtures of plants that help digestion (licorice and peppermint).

    The consumption of licorice should be avoided by people with high blood pressure.

    When to drink an infusion ?

    Whenever you want! Infusions are diuretic, which means that they provoke the desire to urinate. So avoid drinking it just before going to bed.

    #2. Use medicinal plants in the form of a decoction

    To obtain decoctions, you can use all the hard parts of the fresh plant or the dry plant (bark, root, seed, dried fruit). For that :

    • Place the plant parts in cold water;
    • one carries to boiling during 10 minutes;
    • Cover and let it infuse for 15 minutes;
    • we filter and then we can drink.

    Which plants to use in a decoction ?

    The branches of thyme are very appreciated in a decoction. The bitterness can be reduced by adding a spoonful of honey. The decoction allows to alleviate rheumatic pains or linked to arthrosis.

    When to drink a decoction ?

    The decoction is to be drunk in a 30 centilitre cup and preferably in the evening.

    #3. Use medicinal plants in the form of oils

    Oils are obtained after maceration of the dry plant and are usually reserved for external use to be applied to the skin. To obtain them :

    • the dry plant is cut into small pieces;
    • the pieces are placed in a glass jar filled with oil;
    • one covers with a rag to let breathe;
    • let it macerate for 3 weeks at room temperature (never exceeding 40 degrees);
    • you can shake from time to time;
    • filter through a clean cloth to keep only the oil;
    • keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 year, protected from light.

    Which plants to use in an oil ?

    Primrose oil is very well known for its action against inflammations, bruises, hematomas and pains of muscles and joints.

    When to use an oil ?

    The oil is to be applied at most once a day and preferably in the evening at bedtime. It is necessary to massage the oil well to make it penetrate in the skin.

    #4. Use medicinal plants in the form of tinctures

    Tinctures are obtained after maceration of the fresh plant in 95 degree alcohol and are generally used in the preparation of homeopathic medicines after successive dilutions.

    To go further, see our article, "Homeopathy : what is it ?".

    To obtain the tinctures :

    • we cut the plant in fine pieces;
    • we plunge the pieces in a glass jar filled with alcohol;
    • we let it rest for 3 weeks at room temperature (without ever exceeding 40 degrees);
    • you can shake from time to time;
    • filter through a clean cloth to keep only the alcohol;
    • it can be kept for up to 5 years at room temperature away from light and heat.

    Which plants to use in a tincture ?

    Arnica tincture is very effective on bruises. Apply by dabbing the skin lightly with a clean cloth.

    When to use a tincture ?

    The tincture is to be applied at most 1 time per day and preferably in the evening at bedtime. It is necessary to massage the tincture well to make it penetrate in the skin.

    #5. Use medicinal plants in the form of hydrolats

    Distillation allows to separate the hydrolats and essential oils present in a plant. To go further with essential oils : click here.

    Hydrolats contain the same therapeutic properties as essential oils but are very diluted. This strong dilution allows to have the same medicinal virtues while limiting the risks of toxicity and the undesirable effects of essential oils.

    Which plants to use in a hydrolat ?

    Yarrow hydrosol allows the healing of oily and acne-prone skin. It allows to soothe superficial inflammation of the skin.

    When to use a hydrolat ?

    The hydrolats can be used up to 1 application 3 times a day depending on the plants used.

    #6. Use medicinal plants in the form of syrups

    Syrups are obtained after infusing the dry plant or the fresh plant and adding a large quantity of sugar (at least 55%). The sugar ensures a good conservation of the preparation for at least 1 year.

    Which plants to use in a syrup ?

    Echinacea syrup helps prevent the onset of flu and cough. To go further with the flu : click here.

    When to use a syrup ?

    The syrup is very appreciated for its gustative qualities. It can be enjoyed in moderation because it is very rich in sugar.

    #7. Using medicinal plants in the form of total powders

    The powders come in the form of capsules or tablets. These forms allow you to use mixtures of plants or to use plants that are difficult to use in infusions, decoctions, macerations and distillations.

    Which plants to use in a capsule or in a tablet ?

    The black radish allows to calm the difficult digestion and the various disorders of the liver.

    When to use a capsule or a tablet ?

    The modality of usual catch is of 1 tablet or capsule 1 to 3 times per day according to plants used.

    Published on 06 April 2022 at 16:36
    Updated on 06 April 2022 at 16:53

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    Aurélia D

    Aurélia D

    Web Editor

    I am Aurélia, the oldest member of the team. My main role is to popularise the information as much as possible to make it pleasant to read. My family has always valued the use of nature and plants to heal ourselves.