Bulk herbs can be used in many ways. To get the most benefit from your herbs you first need to look at the form. Are they a powder, whole or cut? Powders are most commonly used in capsule, either as a single herb capsule or part of a formula. If the herb is whole or cut you need to next look at what part of the plant the herb is from. Is it a root, bark, twig, leaf, etc.? You will want to process each part of the plant differently to get the most out of your herbs. Below is a list of methods to use bulk herbs.
- Make your own capsules
- Add to tea or other beverage
- Cooking - Add to your recipes like you would a spice.
- Poultice or Compress
- Use in creams, lotions, balms, salves and other topical applications
Whole & Cut Herbs
This gets a bit more tricky. The part of the plant used as an herb plays a big role in deciding how to prepare it for use. Below is a list of preparation methods and the types of herbs to use with them.
- Tea - Teas are perfect for the more delicate herbs such as leaves, soft fruits and flowers. If using hard dense herbs such as roots, twigs, stems, or hard berries, please review how to make a decoction. As these herb forms can also be used as a tea but require longer steeping times.
- Decoction - Decoctions allow for longer cooking time, perfect for the harder herbs such as stems, roots, barks, hard berries and seeds. Drink the decoction like a tea. A foot soak, or even an eyewash.
- Tincture - Tinctures are potent herbal extracts (usually made with alcohol) allowing you to take smaller doses as compared to a decoction, tea or regular powder. You want the herbs to be cut into small uniform pieces, harder herbs may need to be slightly crushed.
- Syrups & Gargles - Syrups, also called bitters or elixirs, are easy to make and a convenient way to use herbs.
- Bath - Simply add the herbs of your choice to your bath or foot bath. To keep it less messy put the herbs in a muslin bag and toss it in the water. If using roots, twigs or hard berries as your herbs, you will want them cut in smaller pieces.
- Topical - You can make herb infused oils to make your own balms, salves, body butters, lotions and ointments. Or use a decoction to use in a compress, body spritzer or as a rinse on you skin or hair.
- Cooking - Herbs have been used for centuries in cooking and are an easy way to add additional health benefits and nutrients into your daily routine. If you don't want pieces in your food use a reusable muslin bag to hold the herbs.
- Herbal Crafts & Gifts - Bulk cut herbs are great to make herbal gifts and crafts.