BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
What is the most effective way to consume garlic for the most
health benefits? I have tried taking garlic, mincing
it, and putting it in warm water to let the nutrients
seep into the water and then drink it. I have also
tried raw garlic where I mince it up, let it sit 20 mins,
then take spoon of garlic, eat it while flushing it down
with water so I donít taste it. Does it matter? Would
garlic effect or cancel out the dandelion root and/or
As to Garlic the fresher the better. Include it as a
condiment in all your meals if possible. It will not
cancel out the others.
I've read instructions on the internet about how to make
my own liquid herbal extracts. I plan on using 100
proof vodka and making extracts in small 1-2 oz
bottles. I wanted to ask you:
* when extracting from seeds (like Fenugreek, Fennel,
etc) is it best to use in powdered form or whole seeds?
* do I absolutely need to measure out the herbs exactly?
I would rather estimate 1 part herb to 1 part vodka. Is
* Some say to let the herb sit in alcohol for about 2
weeks. Others say 4-6 weeks. Which is correct?
ANSWER: "When extracting from seeds (like
Fenugreek, Fennel, etc) is it best to use in powdered form
or whole seeds?"
Personally, I like to crush the seeds with a mortar and
pestle before adding them. Some seeds like milk thistle
won't release all the components if you don't do this.
Powders are also fine, but if you use the whole seed, just
make sure you crush them first.
"Do I absolutely need to measure out the herbs exactly? I
would rather estimate 1 part herb to 1 part vodka. Is
What you're talking about is called the "simpler's" method
and it's been used in herbalism for years. Using parts
instead of cups or ounces. It's fine to do things in
parts, just make sure if you are converting from a recipe,
that you are getting the parts correct. (Are you good at
fractions?!) As for one part herb to one part vodka, that
is not the proper combination unless you are using fresh
herbs. Usually for dried herbs, 1 part herb to 4 parts
"Some say to let the herb sit in alcohol for about 2
weeks. Others say 4-6 weeks. Which is correct?"
I think the longer the better. I've never done a tincture
less than 4 weeks, but I suppose it's possible. I have
jars with herbs and alcohol in them that are still
steeping after months. It certainly won't hurt to leave
them longer and it gives the ingredients time to combine
nicely. Make sure you are agitating them every day.
LOOKING FOR AN HERB
friend of mine was asking me if I ever heard of a herb
called "decotation". I'm not sure, but I think it's
French. I had never heard of any herb called by that
name. I started to search for the name decotation, but
nothing showed up. Then I found the site HerbNET saying
if anyone had questions, to e-mail you. If you have any
information about this herb, or if it exists, please
send me some information.
they are probably referring to is a "decoction". It is a
way of preparing herbs like a tea, or a tincture, or an
infusion. Decoctions are made from the harder parts of
the plant, like the roots, or bark or seed. It's harder
to extract the constituents from these parts, so a slow
simmer or an overnight infusion is often required. To
make your own decoction, place the herbs in a small
saucepan and cover with cold water. Heat slowly and
simmer, covered, for 20 to 45 minutes. The longer you
simmer the herbs, the stronger the decoction will be.