and Nutritional Therapies
Also see Physicians Laptop and Indications
Curandero, Dominican Republic
||Above: "Root doctor", Taiwan.|
Make Your Own Herb Extraction
Jim's favorite preparations: Astragalus Cayenne Echinacea Licorice Soy Milk Leaching Myrr Liniment
Also, see Weights and Measures to ascertain grams, teaspoon, ml., kg., etc.
See video: Jim Meuninck's video Herbal Preparations and Nutritional Therapies to see these preparations demonstrated in full motion.
DISCLAIMER: THESE RECIPES ARE USED BY THE MEUNINCK FAMILY AS DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS OR FOOD. ALTHOUGH THE SCIENTIFIC AND ETHNOBOTANICAL LITERATURE SUGGESTS THAT THESE RECIPES MAY HAVE HEALTH BENEFITS, WE CANNOT GUARANTEE SUCH. THE RECIPES ARE PRESENTED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES AND ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF DISEASE BY A SKILLED, LICENSED HOLISTIC HEALTH CARE PRACTITIONER. Always seek consultation with your personal physician before trying remedies in this or any other program.
We eat plants or we eat animals that eat plants. Thus, our chemistry is made from the chemistry of plants. There are several ways to get these vital biochemical plant constituents into our body are:
1. Eating the fresh, whole or prepared plant.
2. Taking manufactured vitamin, mineral and phytochemical supplements.
3. Make your own herbal extractions.
To make your own herbal extractions you will need:
Pure, quality water for water based extractions.
Alcohol for alcohol and lipophilic extractions.
Vinegar, oils, glycerin, honey to be used with appropriate plant materials.
A FEW METHODS FOR EXTRACTING PHYTOCHEMICALS FROM PLANTS
Needed utensils: blender, funnel, cheese cloth, jelly bags or panty hose, 2 bowls, coffee filters, chop sticks, seed/root grinder, stove, mortar, colander, wooden spoons, grating board and pestle.
Stabilizers: Tincture of benzoin (purchase at a full service drug store), vitamin E, alcohol (best choice is Everclear which is 95% alcohol and can be reduced to various percentages of alcohol by adding distilled water). If you cannot get access to Everclear you may purchase a high proof vodka. For example: 100 Proof vodka has twice as much water as Everclear and your tincture ratio will be effected by the amount of water in your alcohol. Alcohol serves two purposes: it extracts alcohol soluble chemicals and preserves. The higher the alcohol content the more preserving power. Twenty five percent alcohol is a minimum preservative and fifty percent will in most cases be your maximum. More later.
INFUSION: Throughout the ages this has been one of the simplest and most common methods of releasing phytochemicals into water. Native Americans used to put acorns in a reed basket or animal skin bag and soak them overnight in a stream to infuse or draw out the bitter tasting tannins in the acorns making them edible. Of course, the tannins were lost in the stream. Soaking black tea in a hot cup of water is another way of drawing tannins from dried tea. These tannins from tea may relieve diarrhea and may protect you from cancer. Note: The addition of milk to tea reduces the bitterness and effect of tannins.
What plant parts are easiest to infuse? Use soft tissue plant parts: flowers, leaves, green stems, crushed seeds, powdered roots, powdered resins for infusions.
You may use dried or fresh herbs. Use about 4 times as much of the fresh herb than the dried herb of the same species.
A typical dose of dried herb for a hot infusion is one teaspoon to one cup of hot water (just off the boil).
Let steep until drinkable or cool. Cover with lid if volatile oils are desired constituents. When I am not looking you may lick the volatile oils off the lid of the pot.
Fresh Herbs: Use 4 teaspoons full of fresh herb in hot water.
A Few Favorite Hot Infusions
Lemon Balm: This is my favorite herb tea. It works by calming the central nervous system and is antiseptic. Active ingredients are monoterpenes (volatile oils)--citonellal, citral, limonene, linalool, geraniol. German studies show it good for excitability, restlessness, headaches and palpitations. A calming brew!
Elderberry: Make a dried elderberry/water infusion (This may also be made as a tincture, it does not process in glycerin). Crush half ounce of dried elderberry. Then cover with 8 ounces of water just off the boil. Use as a gargle. Or take prophylactically against acute infections. Active ingredients: fruit acids, vitamin C and P, essential oil, essential fatty acids, and anthocyanidin for colds, flu, hay fever, sinusitis, rheumatism, diarrhea (mix with black or green tea).
Put herb in cold water and seal. Steep for 5 to 10 hours. This may be done in the sun, to make a sun tea or sun tea infusion. For longer periods should be processed in
a refrigerator to keep bacterial and fungal growth minimized. I prefer a cold infusion of ten hours in a refrigerator with a quarter cup of lemon juice to a quart of infused herbs. This make a clear invigorating infusion. Try mints, lemon balm, especially mountain mint in a cold lemon juice infusion.
Favorite Cold Infusions
I put an herb like chamomile or lemon balm in cold water and seal. Steep for 3 to 10 hours. making sun tea is similar, but I do not put my tea in the sun. Longer period should be processed in a refrigerator to keep bacterial and fungal growth minimized.
Burdock cold infusion for skin conditions, acute infections, stomach infections, and immune system stimulation. Peel and wash root. Slice thinly or chop. Three or four ounces to a cup of water. Blend thoroughly. Strain off bioflavonoid, polysaccharide rich drink. Root contains bitter glycosides arctiopicrin, flavonoid arctin, tannins, polyacetylenes (fresh root) resin, inulin and mucilage. Mix in teaspoon of elderberry glycerin extract for treating allergies, nasal inflammation and discharge (see elderberry).
Primal Decoction Technique: First people dropped hot rocks in a skin bag of water and drug. Gourds and pottery were used in the same way. A fire heated rock is lowered into the water and drug combination and an instant boil occurs. Drug can be added after water comes to boil.
Plant parts used in decoction: Stems, tree and shrub leaves, bark, seeds and roots, rhizomes are plant parts that are typically used in making a decoction.
Herbs are simmered in a water bath. I prefer a double boiler of Corning pyrex glass. A decoction may require a double boiler if the chemical is heat labile at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind Ginkgo bioflavonoid extractions require the temperature to not get above 177 degrees F. Many bioflavonoids are more soluble in alcohol than in water. Thus, they should be decocted in alcohol (be careful because alcohol is flammable) in a double boiler. Ideally, with a distilling device to recover the alcohol. I do simmer roots in water directly over the heat, but watch the temperature...A slow simmer is best, reducing the water by half before consuming the decoction is the water many Chinese Medicine Practitioners prescribe.
Use four times as much fresh herb as dried herb.
Typical decoction is 4 teaspoons of dried herb to one cup of water simmered for 10 to 15 minutes.. Then strain hot into a cup.
For a strong decoction 8 teaspoons in two cups simmered down to one cup. Strain.
Advantages: Provides a long shelf life and excellent extraction for alcohol and water solvent phytochemicals.
Use dried or fresh herbs. Hard herbs (roots, bark, woody stems, seeds) should be crushed and or powdered.
Fresh plant extractions tinctured at a ration of 1 to 1, weight to volume, of 190 proof alcohol will yield approximately a 55% alcohol tincture. Near ideal in many cases. Explanation: The water half of the tincture is in the fresh plant and the alcohol half comes from the Everclear, which is 95% alcohol.
Dried herbs can be tinctured in 60 proof or greater Vodka. A 30% (60 proof) alcohol solution is about as weak as you should go to get preservation and extended shelf life from a tincture. Using kitchen science I prefer being closer to a 50% (100 proof) alcohol menstruum. But the best Echinacea extraction comes from a 25 or 20 percent alcohol extraction. This is accomplished by using 50% (100 proof) vodka as the menstruum and whole live flower, leaves and root of Echinacea.
Rule of thumb when using dried herbs is to mix weight of herb with volume of alcohol at a 1: 4 ratio.
That is, mix 1 ounce of dried herb to 4 ounces of alcohol or mix 8 ounces of dried herb with 32 ounces of alcohol water mixture and son on.
Macerate the marc (herb) and menstruum in a blender until pureed. Perform all extractions in stainless, glass or porcelain containers. Store macerated herb (marc and menstruum) in amber glass for two weeks and shake as often as possible. (Note: An exception to this method is when using live plants such as Echinacea enzymatic action may destroy some of the chemistry you are trying to release. Thus shorten the storage time to three hours).
After two weeks strain the maceration through a cheesecloth, wring out the marc completely.
Pour into amber bottles and use 10 to 20 drops as recommended in your herb handbook.
NOTE: There are two different extractions to be performed and blended to make a potent Echinacea tincture.
Extraction One: Echinacea Aerial Parts Extraction of Flowers and Leaves
Echinacea Tincture: For a fresh flower, leaf extraction of Echinacea: Use 100 proof alcohol for extracting akylamides, cichoric acid and polysaccharides from flower heads. Blend equal weight to volume (1:1) of flower heads, leaves (fresh) to alcohol in blender. Blend thoroughly. Pour off macerate (plant material and alcohol) through a pair of clean panty hose into a storage vessel. This provides approximately 30% * water to alcohol tincture which is ideal for extracting polysaccharides (water soluble), cichoric acid (alcohol soluble) and akylamides (alcohol soluble). Use immediately, will store easily in refrigerator until next seasons harvest. After the extraction I often add a little more alcohol (5%) to this tincture to improve its shelf life.
*Discussion: 100 proof alcohol is 50% alcohol.. When you add an equal weight of Echinacea flowers and leaves you in effect reduce the alcohol percentage to about 30% because the Echinacea flowers and leaves contain about 85% water. Thirty percent alcohol is adequate to preserve the tincture.
Extraction Two: Echinacea Root Extraction
To improve the above flower and leaf extraction and get more polysaccharides into your tincture dig up an Echinacea root, chop the roots, then mix in water at one to one weight to volume. That is if you have and three ounces of chopped root add that to three ounces of distilled water. Blend (puree) root in water. Store in refrigerator and shake bottle every time you open refrigerator Leave in refrigerator for 12 hours. Then strain off this water extraction through a filter (panty hose for example). Add the water extraction of the root to your alcohol extraction of the aerial parts at a 1:2 ration: root extraction to alcohol extraction. This will reduce your overall alcohol content to 20%. Add alcohol to the blend to make a 30% alcohol/water blend.*
*For example: Your original 30% alcohol extraction of aerial parts was 20 ounces. Then you add 10 ounces of water root extraction, giving you a total of 30 ounces of combined extraction. This combination reduces your alcohol content to 20% alcohol. Add three more ounces of alcohol to raise your alcohol percentage to approximately 30%.
OTHER TINCTURE MENSTRUUMS:
Apple cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar and glycerin.
VINEGAR: Use vinegar full strength. With dried herb mix at a 1:4 weight to volume strength.
Combine and blend completely. Store and shake for two weeks. Pour and squeeze off through a cheese cloth. Siphon into amber bottles for therapeutic use.
I don't recommend using vinegar in live (fresh) plant extractions. With the water content from the plant, the vinegar may not be at an adequate ph to preserve the tincture. I like to keep vinegar tinctures refrigerated for added safety.
GLYCERIN: First mix water with glycerin at a 1:1 ratio.
Then, combine the water/glycerin mixture at a 1:4 weight to volume ratio with the dried herb. Blend completely in a blender. Store in a refrigerator and shake for two weeks. Pour off into amber bottle for use. Keep refrigerated.
NOTE: When making a glycerin extraction from fresh plant material, do not add water. The water in the fresh plant will be adequate. Mix the herb of a fresh plant extraction at a 1:1 weight to volume ratio. Blend. Store in refrigerator and shake often (daily). Strain. Store in refrigerator.
An oxymel syrup to me is an excellent way to make a sauce for cooking. For example the following oxymel is fine for flavoring soups and sweet and sour stir fry. You get a medicinal benefit to boot.
Ingredients: vinegar, garlic, honey and other herbs of choice.
Blend two parts honey to one part vinegar.
-Add 2 ounces of garlic to a half (1/2) pint of vinegar, you may also add the carminatives below (caraway and fennel).
-1/4 ounce each of caraway and fennel seeds crushed.
Blend thoroughly, then bring this blend to a boil in glass container. Press out vinegar through cheese cloth, and add about 10 ounces of honey.
A fomentation or compress is made by soaking a clean cotton cloth in a decoction or infusion of herbs. My favorite for muscular and joint pain is a fresh ginger and cayenne powder fomentation.
To one quart of water shred a quarter cup of fresh ginger. Simmer for ten minutes. Stir occasionally. Let cool to bearable to the touch (do not scald) Then soak the cotton cloth in the decoction and apply to the muscle or joint.
A warm, moist mass of plant material for drawing pus, or treating infected closed wound.
Make dried herbs into a paste with hot water or hot apple cider vinegar. Apply the paste to the injured area and cover with a gauze or clean cloth. Place a hot water bottle or zip lock bag with hot water in it over the poultice.
Fresh plants are bruised perhaps with a mortar and pestle. Then apply to the wound. Once again use zip lock bag of hot water or hot water bottle.
For open wounds use the appropriate herb and apply pressure.
Percolation and Salve
This is a drip by drip method of extracting plant phytochemistry similar to percolating coffee.
Percolate 100 grams of cayenne powder with 60 grams 90-95% percent ethanol.
Homemade percolator: Cut the above recipe in half. Fold a large coffee filter in half and then in half again. This forms a funnel. Open the coffee filter to form a funnel. Fasten the coffee filter funnel with clothes pins to the inside of a canning jar funnel. The clothes pins hold the coffee filter funnel in place. After moistening cayenne powder in alcohol (see next) put wet powder in coffee funnel and begin dripping (percolating) alcohol through it.
To start moisten cayenne powder with alcohol and let sit for at least one hour. This is to let the dried powder absorb the alcohol and swell. Then put the percolation in the percolator add four ounces of alcohol to one ounce of cayenne (dry weight). Repeat the percolation at least twice preferably 5 or 6 times.
Next, melt lard in double boiler. Then pour in alcohol percolation and cook until alcohol is almost completely evaporated (boiling will diminish). What liquid is left is probably water gone. Stir vigorously to incorporate the percolation with the lard.. Add one drop of tincture of benzoin for every ounce of lard (oil) base. This is a stabilizer. You may also add up to 4000 mg Vitamin E (ten count 400mg capsules). You may soften the salve by adding almond oil if necessary, or your favorite non-scented natural ingredient hand lotion. Add the stabilizers and oils, lotions while the lard is hot and fluid....Mix thoroughly.
To one quart of 70% alcohol add 1 oz myrrh powder ; .5 oz of cayenne powder; and 1 oz. of goldenseal powder. Set aside for two weeks. Shake occasionally. Filter off and store in amber bottles. For aching joints, strains, sprains, muscle aches.
Other forms of extracting and administering plant phytochemicals include: Lozenges, Baths, Pills, capsules, salves, oils.
TIP: To make strong tasting herbs more palatable they are often prepared or taken with honey, cream cheese and bread, dissolved in fruit juice, or prepared in a sweet, pleasant tasting liquer.
What follows are a few of my favorite Chinese Medicine extractions:
Chinese Medicine Primer
Yin and Yang Elixir:
Angelica root is considered the number one female herb in China. Ginseng is the number one male herb. The two together give a balanced elixir of phyto-sterols, saponins and other hormone building nutrients. This is a strength and energy building cordial, alas it has alcohol and is used mostly for its pleasant surprise effect in our home.
Angelica root 100 grams plus 100 grams ginseng to one fifth quart of peppermint schnapps.
I infuse for 30 days, then drink an ounce as needed, an uplifting cordial.
I take Astragalus 100 grams (12 tongue depressors); Codonopsis 100 grams, Licorice 25-50 grams and simmer in four cups of water. I simmer off one cup and drink remaining contents for long term immune system stimulation and nourishment. Chinese indicate this therapy for chronic conditions. This amount provides two days of therapy.
A daily dose of Astragalus decoction used for making soup is 6 tongue depressors of the root to two cups of water, simmer away about a half cup. Use the water in your soup stock.
Brown Rice, Licorice and Astragalus Nourishing and Stomach Protecting Food
Simmer down 100 grams (12 tongue depressors) of Astragalus and 25 grams licorice in four cups of water down to about 3 cups. Add one cup of brown rice and cook over low heat, covered until tender (about 45 minutes). Soothes intestinal track. Nourishing for chronically ill. Excellent for ulcers and gastritis. But please see you doctor when you have any prolonged stomach complaints. Do not self medicate without your doctors permission.
Immune System Building Stir Fry
I make an Astragalus soup base as described above. Add 1/4 t of curry powder, About 2 pounds of cruciferous vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage etc.) Add red, yellow and green pepper, sliced turnips, sweet potato, Jerusalem Artichokes, Burdock, Soy sprouts.
Cook in olive oil and oyster oil, with sesame oil and a dash of soy sauce. MAIN INGREDIENT:
Slice one Bitter Gourd....Cook it first in oil, water and sauces until tender, then add other vegetables.
If available I cook with Shiitake mushrooms.
Simmer 6 long pieces (look like tongue depressors) in two cups of water.
Simmer down to about one and half cups. Also, can be used as a soup base.
Soy Milk/Vegetated Protein
For all the benefits of soybeans see soy in database)
The soy isoflavones, genistein, daidzein, may help prevent heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. To get more soy isoflavones in your diet make your own soy milk and soy vegetated protein.
Ingredients: soy beans; water.
Preparation: Soak beans over night in refrigerator. One cup of beans to about two cups of water. You may have to add water as beans absorb and swell. Next day put about a cup in a blender (this will be about 1/3 of the beans after they have swollen). Add two and one half or up to three cups of quality water to the blender. Less water, richer soy milk. Blend thoroughly. Strain off soy milk, squeeze the last ounce from the cheese cloth, and heat the milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and hold this temperature for 15 minutes (use double boiler). This makes the milk more palatable breaking down much of the protease inhibitors and phytate.
Vegetated protein: The left over bean pulp may be heated in an oven on baking paper at 400 degrees for 20 or 25 minutes to make vegetated soy protein. This also is an excellent dog food. Use the crisp protein in spaghetti sauces, soups and the like.
To Make Tofu: Rinse, then soak 5 cups soy beans overnight in refrigerator. Rinse soy beans in colander. In a blender, add 3 cups of water for every cup of soybeans. Blend to a fine slurry of soy milk. In double boiler (or directly over burner) bring to a simmer or low boil and cook for at least 15 minutes. Strain off the soy milk with a cheese cloth, squeeze out as much as possible from the pulp. Now you must curd the milk: 1. Add 3-4 teaspoons of Epsom salts or Nigari (special sea salts available from health food stores) to two cups of water. 2. While the soy milk is still hot 185 degrees F stir it in slow circular motion. Stop wooden paddle upright to create a turbulence, then pour in 13/4 cups of Epsom salts water blend. Cover soy milk and let sit for 5 or 6 minutes.
Upon inspection the soy milk has formed curds and whey. If some soy milk remains pour in last quarter cup of salt blend and gently push the curds to finish the setting process. Carefully, dip out the whey from the curds. You can use a strainer pushed into the pot to separate whey from curds, then dip with a ladle the whey from the strainer. Finally, remove the curds with a ladle to a colander double or triple lined with cheesecloth, better yet, line it with nylon mesh.
Under the colander is a collecting pot for the whey. Fold the cloth over the gathered curds and place a plate over the folds, weight the plate with a brick or whatever and let sit for 30 minutes to squeeze out a bit more whey and press form the tofu. Pour water over the tofu and refrigerate.
Tofu has been under study for its anti cancer, cholesterol lowering properties. It is an excellent dietary choice for health conscious consumers.
Preparation: A simple preparation for tofu is to dissolve a vegetarian bullion cube in a half cup of water, then simmer thin slices of firm tofu in the bullion until the water is boiled off or absorbed. Store in refrigerator as a nutritious appetite quenching snack.
Ingredients: complete curry powder mix; vegetable bullion; mixed vegetables; tablespoon of garlic/cider oxymel; water; olive oil; tamari sauce; sesame seed oil.
Preparation: Saute vegetables in a cup of water, with a tablespoon of tamari, tablespoon of sesame seed oil, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Stir for a minute, then cover and steam for about 5 minutes. Pour off vegetable water from the cooked vegetables. In a separate pan cook the vegetable water with a teaspoon or two teaspoons of curry powder. Add one more tablespoon of olive oil. Bring to a simmer. Add two tablespoons of flower dissolved in cold water to thicken the vegetable water into vegetable gravy. The curried gravy is then poured over the vegetables.
Native Americans cured tannin rich nuts in a leather bag and soaking them overnight in a stream to leach out the bitter water soluble tannins, making them more palatable. A similar process was used to denature the cardiac glycosides in milkweed. Hot water was poured over the fresh leaves, seed pods or flowers, denaturing the glycosides. Manioc root contains cyanide compounds that are leached out through processing the roots, beating, pulverizing and washing the compounds from the potential food. In this way, leaching is the opposite of a percolation, and it is the same. In the case of leaching, you eat the marc so to speak and in the percolation you use the menstruum. Should you want to make powered cayenne pepper less potent, less hot, you could leach it with alcohol and use the remaining leached pepper powder (now wet). You could also use the water or alcohol you percolated through the pepper powder as the "hot" percolate.