Abecedarian of Remedies

  • Alcoholates: results from the distillation of the maceration of several fresh or dry plants

    in alcohol on a variable basis (40 - 80 ).

    Ex: absinthe alcoholate.


  • Tinctures: results from the maceration of fresh plants in strong alcohol (60 – 90°).

    Since the enzymes they contain are still active, alcoholic beverages do not keep well and must be used quickly. They are used when the active ingredients of the plant cannot withstand the heat of distillation.

    Ex: chamomile liqueur.


  • Balm: ointment with pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, antiviral (lip balm against herpes), antipruritic, analgesic, resolving, vulnerable,

    Ex: arnica balm; antiseptic, resolving and vulnerable.


  • Poultice: pasty preparation of the plant applied to the skin for therapeutic purposes. The plant can be crushed or chopped hot or cold, mixed with flax flour or clay.

    The poultices calm:

    Joint and muscle pain (cabbage poultice),

    Decongest the respiratory tract (mustard poultice)

    Let the boils ripen, treat nettle stings (plantain poultice),

    Relieve lumbago (poultice of young birch leaves).


  • Cerats: topical remedies; mixture of beeswax and sweet almond oil which incorporates balms, extracts, gum-resins, essential oils, powders or tinctures.

    Ex: St. John's wort cerat; antiputrid, topical and vulnerable.


  • Compress: lasting application of a gauze or cloth on the part of the body to be treated. The gauze has previously been soaked with the preparation that one wants to use.


  • Fomentation: hot compress held only a few minutes on the skin.


  • Wrap: special case of a compress that surrounds a whole limb or part of the body. This is done with a strip of gauze impregnated with drug solution.


  • Cream: creamy, semi-liquid mixture, produced naturally by certain plants in the form of latex, but more often prepared by diluting active ingredients in a glyceride substrate. The creams are spread over the skin and, by friction, they penetrate the epidermis.


  • Decoction: operation which consists in boiling a medicinal plant for a few minutes in water to extract the active ingredients.

    Place the plant in cold water, bring to the boil for 10 to 30 minutes, filter. This extraction method is applicable to hard and dry plants: wood, seeds, bark and roots.

    Ex: decoction of burdock roots: depurative, cholagogue, choleretic, hypoglycemic.


  • Plaster: more adherent than cream, this semi-solid presentation is shaped according to the contours of the part of the body where it is applied. The plaster contains grease, resin, sometimes wax.


  • Elixir: it is obtained by macerating plants, or plant extracts, in a solution containing a mixture of syrup or sugar with an alcohol: alcoholate, alcohol, extract, tincture, mother tincture.

    Ex: flower essences of dr edward bach.


  • Extract: solution which collects part of the active principles of the plant subjected to treatment. The plant is first dried or reduced to powder, then wash with a solvent (water, alcohol, ether) to remove the soluble principles. This process, which is called leaching, is conventionally used to make coffee: steam or boiling water is passed through ground seeds. Then, the solution obtained is evaporated to the desired concentration.


    Fluid extract: is prepared by exhausting the vegetable drug reduced to powder by leaching in several successive passages in ethyl alcohol.


    Soft extract: the evaporation of the solution, stronger than in the fluid extract, leaves a kind of soft paste as residue.

    Ex: soft extract of ginseng.


  • Fumigation: use of vapors charged with the active ingredients of the plant. You can boil eucalyptus leaves in a room you want to disinfect. The smoke from certain plants that are burned slowly like incense can also be used for fumigation: this is the case with the smoke from juniper berries.


  • Gargle: liquid preparation which rinses the mouth, throat, pharynx, tonsils and mucous membranes. It is used to disinfect or calm. Gargling should never be swallowed.


  • Medicinal oil: the fruits and seeds of many plants give, when pressed, vegetable oil, which is not a fatty substance. You can macerate roots and dried drugs to make medicinal oils. Some are used in friction, others are absorbed orally. (not to be confused with essential oil, infused or macerated oils).


    Infused oils: the plants are infused in a double boiler to avoid direct heat which could denature the oil.

    Ex: put half of the plants in a container and cover completely with oil. Heat in a water bath, simmer gently for 2 hours. Filter and discard the plants: the oil must have changed color by absorbing the components of the plants. Do the same with the rest of the plants, let simmer for 2 hours. Filter, transfer to opaque bottles.

    Macerated oils: maceration of fresh plants in oil.

    This oil can then be used for massage, for making ointments. Table oil is thus made with aromatics: thyme, bay leaf, rosemary.

    Eg: olive oil with basil, St. John's wort oil.



  • Hydrosol: maceration of fresh or dry plants in water, distilled in a still.

    Ex: rose water.


  • Hydrolé: liquid obtained by dissolving a medicinal substance in water. It is a solution. Orange blossom water, prepared by dissolving an essence from these flowers in water, is a hydrosol, not a hydrosol.


  • Infusion: solution obtained by subjecting a plant for a few minutes to the action of boiling water. About 1 spoonful of plants per cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes.


  • Inhalation: variety of fumigation in which the patient places his head above the container of boiling water in which the aromatic plant extract dissolves. Inhalations are made to clear the sinuses and upper respiratory tract.


  • Injection: introduction of a liquid into the natural cavities (ears, nose, vagina, etc.) either directly or by means of a syringe or cannula. The liquid injected is generally an infusion or a decoction previously warm.


  • Ingredient: variety of physiological plant extracts. To do this, we must use fresh plants that are stabilized with steam or alcohol and then dried in vacuo. These stabilized plants thus retain all their qualities. They are then subjected to the same treatment as ordinary drugs: they are washed with water or alcohol and the solution obtained is evaporated. The resulting extract is called an extract; it has the qualities of a fresh plant. It is a preparation commonly used for valerian, horse chestnut.


  • Milk: liquid obtained by stacking oilseeds in water.

    Ex: almond milk.


  • Enema: introduction of a liquid into the intestine by means of a rectal cannula connected to an enema bulb. It most often has a purgative effect, sometimes emollient or astringent.


  • Liniment: heterogeneous mixture, of a soft consistency, often containing oil and alcohol. To relieve rheumatism, muscle pain and trauma, the skin is rubbed locally.


  • Lotion: liquid preparation from which the epidermis is quickly washed off in irritated places. It is applied with cotton wool. There are special lotions for the scalp.


  • Maceration: liquid preparation method by leaving a plant to macerate cold long enough in water, wine, alcohol, oil, or honey to obtain the soluble principles. The maceration time depends on the liquid, from a few hours to several days. Maceration is used for plants whose active ingredients are altered by heat. Attention, in the case of maceration in water, the shelf life is very short (24 h). There are different types of maceration depending on the liquid chosen.


  • Mellite: a smooth substance that is prepared by macerating plants in honey or by cooking a mixture of honey and hydrolée.

    Ex: rosat honey is a mellite: an astringent infusion of red rose petals is added to honey; it is used as a gargle.


  • Mixture: mixture of medicated liquids which act in synergy, each reinforcing the action of the others. We thus mix plants endowed with the same properties to make “species”: the antispasmodic species, for example, can group in the same mixture valerian, orange blossom, yarrow.


  • Ointment: a kind of ointment made from resin and fatty substances; the active ingredients are dissolved in fatty substances, generally animal fats (tallow, lanolin). To be used externally, by friction.


  • Dough: mixture of a soft consistency, prepared with sugar and gum arabic. Active ingredients are added according to the therapeutic aim sought.


  • Ointment: thick preparation often based on a fatty substance containing the active ingredients of plants used for application to the skin.

    Ex: for 30 ml of oil, 1 tsp. to c. beeswax in a small saucepan, mix the oil and the wax, bring to low heat (or in a bain-marie) until the wax melts (~ 60 ° c). Remove from heat, transfer to a small glass container.

    * wait for the mixture to cool down before adding, as appropriate, the juice, extract or drops of essential oil from the chosen plants.

    * examples: eucalyptus ointment (with he of eucalyptus).


  • Potion: liquid intended to be drunk where the active ingredients of the plant have been brought in, by extract, infusion or maceration.


  • Powder: obtained by finely grinding the dry plant, useful for "tough" plants, hard stems, roots, for example: horsetail powder. Materials needed: a pestle and a resistant mortar, porcelain or stone, or a mill. The powders can be used to make extracts, macerations, be simply diluted in water or be mixed with food.


  • Syrup: the medicinal plant is cooked (over low heat) with sugar until the syrupy consistency is obtained. A syrup can be kept for a few months. The syrup is used internally.

    Ex: practical recipe for making a syrup:

    - Heat 250 ml of infusion or decoction already filtered in a saucepan.

    - Add 500 ml of honey or sugar, stir until the mixture is homogeneous.

    - Leave to cool and bottle.


  • Suc: liquid obtained by simply flowing the sap out of the trunk, or by pressing the fruit, leaves or stem.


  • Tincture: liquid preparation obtained by the action of alcohol on medicinal plants.

    Ex: practical recipe for preparing a tincture:

    Finely grind the plant, add about twice its volume in alcohol (at least 40 degrees)

    Pour the preparation into a glass container. Close tightly.

    Macerate for one month, protected from light by vigorously shaking the jar every 2 days.

    Filter by pressing to extract the maximum amount of dye.

    Transfer the dye to small bottles of colored glass. Keep away from light.

    Alcohol tinctures will keep for a few years. Using the tincture by mouth: place the recommended number of drops in a little water or put them directly under the tongue to obtain an effect more quickly.


  • Mother tincture: maceration of 3 to 5 weeks of a fresh plant in alcohol at least at 60 degrees (depending on the plant, but in general, it is 60 °). requires more plants than conventional dyeing

    Ex: calendula mother tincture.


  • Medicinal wine: wine or vinegar in which bark, roots or plant leaves have been macerated

    Ex: gentian wine, cinnamon wine, cinchona, elderberry vinegar.


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