Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to Prepare Roots for Further Use

Today's post is in response to a comment/question made on my earlier post on echinacea. (Sorry, Dirty Fingernails : ) )
To prepare roots for further use first dig them up being careful not to damage or cut the sections. Remove what you will be using and replant the rest. Clean your roots with water to remove all visible dirt.
Decocting is a method used for the tougher parts of the plant like roots and bark. Add one ounce of clean root to a nonreactive saucepan and add 2 1/2 cups of distilled water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. If more than 1/2 of the liquid evaporates, add more distilled water to make 1 1/4 cup. Cool, strain and bottle. Store in the refrigerator for use within a few days.
Macerating is very similar to making a tincture and is used when you want longer shelf life for your product. First, thoroughly air dry your freshly washed roots. Pulverize the roots and pack into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. Cover with cider vinegar or vodka and cover. Shake once a day for two weeks, strain and repeat with more roots. Store in a cool dark place. I prefer the vodka as it seems to be more stable for storage.

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