Terms to Know
DECOCTION: Place one ounce of herb in one pint of water. Make certain that roots are put in to boil before leaves. Once the water has come to a boil, simmer for about 30 minutes covered, then leave to cool completely. Strain and use as directed.
INFUSION:The original form of a potion, an infusion is not unlike a tea in quality. Pour boiling water over the herb in the proportions of one ounce herb to one pint water (although you may need much less for herbs that infuse quickly in water). Steep for fifteen to thirty minutes until a tea is formed. Use as directed.
MACERATE: To steep an herb in fat, such as done with salve and ointments. Best oils to use are almond and sesame. Warm one cup of oil over a low flame and place one-half ounce herbs wrapped in cheesecloth to soak. Continue until the herbs have lost their color and the oil is rich with their scent.
OINTMENT: A fatty substance such as lard to which herbs are added. Choose herbs according to the effect you desire, or enchant them, or both. For healing ointments, choose according to physical ailment. Three teaspoon of herb to one cup of fat, steeped and heated several times should prove very nice. Vegetable shortening will work very well, especially
almond and saffron. All ointments should be kept cool and in air tight containers for best results. For magic, ointments work best when applied to pulse points or chakras.
POULTICE: A portion of herbs placed in an equal amount of boiling water to steep. Once herbs have been fully dampened, strain the water and place the herbs in gauze or cheesecloth applied directly to the affected area. This can be a little messy, so have a towel handy. It works fairly well, especially for rashes and other mild skin disorders.
TINCTURE:For ounces of herb steeped in eight ounces of alcohol for about two weeks gives a reasonable tincture. The bottle should be sealed and left in a dark area, and the liquid strained when the tincture is ready.
WASH: A tea or infusion meant only for external use. A mild form of a wash would be 1/4 ounce of herb to one pint of boiling water, steeped until lukewarm, then applied.