Decoctions or tinctures or oils mixed with cream

Decoctions or tinctures or oils mixed with cream

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Decoctions or tinctures or oils mixed with cream

Since the prehistoric world and still in the Greek-Roman and medieval worlds, herbs, leaves, barks, seeds, branches, fruit, flowers and their vital elements were used to treat ailments, ailments, infections, inflammations and various diseases. even without knowing the scientific reasons. Certain preparations and products of the earth were also used for cosmetics: saffron, for example, was used since the Middle Ages to color lips and cheeks, while almond oil to moisturize the skin and lemon to lighten it.
Today, natural medicine is combined with and very often contrasts with conventional pharmacology, making it appreciated for its bioactive value and for the lack of side effects and contraindications.
The preparation of natural-based healing compounds can be easily prepared at home, with means and products that are easy to find. however, it is necessary to pay attention to the increasingly customary practice of self-medication. In fact, there is often a mistake based on personal knowledge that has no scientific basis, thus creating an invariability or even worsening of the initial state.
Medicinal herbs can be used in different ways, depending on the type of plant. The active ingredients contained in them are in fact extractable and administrable through different techniques. This depends on the biological and therapeutic characteristics of the plant and on the concentration of active ingredients it contains. In most cases the drug is used dry and the active ingredient extracted with the addition of water or solvents, in other cases the drug is used fresh.
But we see in particular the differences between the various preparations.


This preparation is indicated for non-aromatic drugs and which remain stable in contact with high temperatures. These are therefore raw materials that do not contain volatite principles which would be lost during the decoction process. It is the case of roots, barks, seeds, peels and other hard parts (also called "compact") of the plant that are immersed in boiling water (preferably distilled), in a covered container, and kept boiling for a variable time that goes from 10 to 30 minutes. In some cases, the operation is preceded by a process of maceration of the drug in cold water for a few hours. After that the boiling state can be maintained for a time that can even reach 45 minutes, based on the principles to be extracted. At the end, the preparation will be filtered by separating the solid part from the liquid part that makes up the decoction, characterized by a turbid appearance that cannot be clarified as it consists of mucilages and residues in which the extracted principles reside.
Regarding the quantities, the official Italian pharmacopoeia recommends a ratio of 5: 100 between drug and decoction.
A double decoction can be added to a first decoction: the liquid obtained with the first decoction, left to macerate for a limited time, is replaced with another liquid proceeding with a second decoction. Of the first decoction the more thermolabile substances can be exploited, of the second those more resistant to heat.
The decoction can be used as a beverage, as an ointment for bathing and sponging or as a fumigation.
Typical decoctions are those that are prepared with altea (when drunk it resolves gastrointestinal inflammation and used as a facial cleanser counteracts the oily skin and the appearance of pimples and blackheads), the pomegranate (astringent and disinfectant properties), of leaves of bearberry (diuretic effect) or fuca leaves (laxative effect).


It is the maceration of certain plant drugs in alcohol solvent according to a drug-alcohol ratio of 1: 5. The drug is chopped and placed in bottles or glass containers hermetically sealed and left immersed in alcohol for a period ranging from 5 to 10 days, in a warm place and away from direct sunlight. From time to time it should be turned and, at the end of the time set, the liquid should be filtered and the drug squeezed, adding more solvent in order to reach the necessary quantity.
It is fundamental to understand the difference between classic dyeing and mother dyeing: in the first case the starting material is the dry plant, in the second case it starts from the fresh plant, harvested in its natural habitat and in its balsamic period (ie in its period of greater flowering and biological activity). This preparation is characterized by a particular concentration and vital energy resulting therefore particularly medicinal.
It is the French phytotherapic school that prefers the use of fresh plants, while the German school allows the use of dried or frozen plants.
The dyes can be used orally (preferably diluted because of the very strong taste), but also for cosmetic purposes. An example is the famous henna dye, used as a hair dye, but also for non-permanent tattoos.
The mother tinctures, easily obtainable in any herbal medicine, are also used as bases for cosmetic and homeopathic compounds, mixed for example with creams, oils or other preparations with different therapeutic purposes.

Essential oils

It is a phytochemical compound extracted from the aromatic essences of plants that preserve the active ingredient intact, as well as the perfume of the plant to which it belongs. The oils can be contained in different parts of the plant: flowers, leaves, fruits, bark, roots. There are different extraction methods: the main one is steam current distillation, but the cold pressing process, dry distillation or destructive distillation is frequently used. The plant material extracted from it is oily and liquid and can perform an antibiotic, disinfectant and aromatherapy function.
Since ancient times essential oils have been used in aromatherapy which uses these aromas for the achievement of psycho-physical well-being and for the prevention of certain pathologies by acting on the sensory, mental and spiritual system.
To this use today we add a phytotherapy and cosmetic use. In this sense, essential oils are often mixed with creams or ointments that become natural. The most used for this purpose are the essential oils of sweet almonds, olives, argan, lemon, chamomile, calendula, safflower, lavender, bergamot, verbena, carnation, corn and the so-called "tea tree oil ", the essential oil of malaleuca. Just mix a few drops of one or more oils with base creams (easily available in pharmacies or herbalist's shops), gel (the aloe vera one is very useful for those who want a lotion with refreshing and soothing effects), beeswax (which must be dissolved in bain-marie and continuously mixed to avoid rapid solidification) or, alternatively, cocoa butter or honey to produce natural and extremely effective cosmetics.
It is important, however, to remember that these preparations are ruined in a short time. It is therefore good not to exceed with the quantities, at least until the experience has taught us some little trick of conservation, such as the use of grapefruit seed extracts, with particular preservative qualities or vitamin E which, besides being a antioxidant and natural preservative that resists time, has regenerative characteristics for the skin.


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