Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Alcohol Extracts of Chinese Herbs
Chinese medicine has a long history of using medicinal wines and liquors. For some herbs, alcohol is a better choice to extract active ingredients than water. If you go to some herbalist's shops, you may see a big jar of dark liquid with some herbs floating in it. Alexa Hulsey, formerly of Yosan University, saw some in China, as you can see here.
Chinese Medicinal Wines and Elixirs, by Bob Flaws, details some traditional recipes and methods. Chinese Medicated Liquor Therapy, by Song Nong, also has hundreds of recipes for everything from indigestion to impotence.
Jake Fratkin, an American practitioner, has combined traditional Western methods with Chinese herbs and uses them in his practice. In this article, he details his method, which uses ground raw herbs and a shorter soaking cycle than the traditional Chinese practice (1-2 days rather than 5-10 days). He considers it an important way for people to take herbs long-term and says he has success with conditions as varied as chronic cough to ovarian cysts.
If you'd like to make herbal alcohol extracts, Fat Turtle Herb Company can help you with all stages of the process, from getting high-quality raw herbs to grinding.