Herbal Medicine 101:Fancy Words

This is our 50th blog post on this server and I wanted to do it right by starting a new series: Herbal Medicine 101. In this series we will be discussing many of the basic things you need to know to start learning more about herbal medicine such as herbal energetics, herbal preparations, plant and human physiology, and what these words even mean in the first place.

Today I am going to start by discussing a bunch of those words and what they mean, mostly different forms or preparations herbs can be used in, ie tea. If you want to learn even more about herbal medicine, I recommend checking out our free class series on our website. Be sure to subscribe for more information about these as we go more into detail on how to make these preparations over the next month or so.

Types of Herbal Preparations


An infusion is when you take herbs and let them sit in a liquid for an amount of time and then remove the herbal matter. The liquid that remains is an herbal infusion. When not specified, an infusion generally refers to using water as the liquid as in a tea. Heat can be applied in an infusion to speed up the process, but it is not necessary.


The herb material you use in an infusion.


The liquid you use in an infusion



Herb material is boiled in water for an amount of time to more effectively break down the herbs for extraction. Used more for roots, barks, and seeds.


Herbs that have been ground to a fine powder that can be mixed with food and eaten for medicinal benefits. Also commonly put into capsules but this is not necessary and is just added time and cost.


A mixture of herb material (fresh or dried) with a liquid (often water) that is applied topically without removing the herb material. This is often bandaged over and allowed to sit for a few hours.


An infusion made using alcohol or a combination of alcohol and water.

Vinegar Tincture

An infusion made using vinegar.


A sweetened tincture, often with honey.


An infusion that contains glycerine, sometimes also containing alcohol but not always.


A tincture, or vinegar tincture, that is used topically


A hot water infusion that is simmered to remove extra water and then preserved using a sweetener, usually sugar or honey.

Herbal Honey

An infusion made using honey. If powdered herbs are used they are not always removed from the honey after infusing.

Infused Oilphoto 4 (7)

An infusion made using oil. Generally only for topical use but can be used in cooking.


A mixture made by melting wax and oil together and allowing it to cool and solidify. Often made using infused oil.


A water or alcohol infusion of herbs then made thicker with the addition of a gum, ie gum arabica.


A mixture of water, oil, and wax (at it’s simplest). It can contain infused oils, water, alcohol, and vinegar extracts.

Did we miss one you want to hear about. Let us know in the comments below and be sure to check out our free classes as well for more information.


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