What is an herbal decoction?

An herbal decoction is similar to an herbal infusion in that it utilizes water, but it differs in what type of material is being extracted.

Infusions are for softer plant material like leaves and flowers; decoctions are for tougher plant parts such as

  • roots
  • seeds
  • berries
  • bark

I like to put the herbs and water in a pot and allow them to sit overnight. This enables me to prepare the decoction more quickly and to get a full extraction of the constituents. After soaking, I will simmer the herbs for 15-20 minutes in the morning, then strain and drink.

Another method is to simply place the herbs into a pot with room temperature water and bring to a simmer. Allow the herbs to simmer for 15-30 minutes, then set aside, cover and allow to steep for another 15-30 minutes. Strain and drink.

You can also make a concentrated decoction by increasing the ratio of herb to water, or simmering the strained “tea” until it reduces by half.

I like to make concentrates, and freeze them in an ice cube tray to store in a labeled freezer container for quick and convenient access when we need it.

Really, the only wrong way to make an herbal preparation, is to not make one. 🙂

To learn more about herbal decoctions and other preparations in detail check out our Herbal Preparations courses!