Herbal preparations

There are many forms in which herbs can be administered, the most common of which is in the form of a liquid that is drunk by the patient—either a tisane or a (possibly diluted) plant extract.[62] Whole herb consumption is also practiced either fresh, in dried form or as fresh juice.[citation needed] Several methods of standardization may be determining the amount of herbs used. One is the ratio of raw materials to solvent. However different specimens of even the same plant species may vary in chemical content. For this reason, thin layer chromatography is sometimes used by growers to assess the content of their products before use. Another method is standardization on a signal chemical.[63] Leaves of Eucalyptus olida being packed into a steam distillation unit to gather its essential oil. Tisanes, or "herbal teas", are the resultant liquid of extracting herbs into water, though they are made in a few different ways. Infusions are hot water extracts of herbs, such as chamomile or mint, through steeping. Decoctions are the long-term boiled extracts, usually of harder substances like roots or bark. Maceration is the old infusion of plants with high mucilage-content, such as sage, thyme, etc. To make macerates, plants are chopped and added to cold water. They are then left to stand for 7 to 12 hours (depending on herb used). For most macerates 10 hours is used.[64] Tinctures are alcoholic extracts of herbs, which are generally stronger tha

tisanes.[65] Usually obtained by combining 100% pure ethanol (or a mixture of 100% ethanol with water) with the herb. A completed tincture has an ethanol percentage of at least 25% (sometimes up to 90%).[64] Herbal wine and elixirs are alcoholic extract of herbs; usually with an ethanol percentage of 12-38% [64] Herbal wine is a maceration of herbs in wine, while an elixir is a maceration of herbs in spirits (e.g., vodka, grappa, etc.)[citation needed] Extracts include liquid extracts, dry extracts and nebulisates. Liquid extracts are liquids with a lower ethanol percentage than tinctures. They can (and are usually) made by vacuum distilling tinctures. Dry extracts are extracts of plant material which are evaporated into a dry mass. They can then be further refined to a capsule or tablet.[64] A nebulisate is a dry extract created by freeze-drying.[citation needed] Vinegars are prepared at the same way as tinctures, except using a solution of acetic acid as the solvent.[citation needed] Syrups are extracts of herbs made with syrup or honey. Sixty five parts of sugar are mixed with 35 parts of water and herb. The whole is then boiled and macerated for three weeks.[64] The exact composition of a herbal product is influenced by the method of extraction. A tea will be rich in polar components because water is a polar solvent. Oil on the other hand is a non-polar solvent and it will absorb non-polar compounds. Alcohol lies somewhere in between.[62]