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Infusion
This method is used to extract water-soluble substances from the finer, more delicate plant materials such as leaves, stems and flowers. It is also sometimes used for barks, seeds, roots and rhizomes when these are finely cut or powdered.
The method, much like making a pot of tea, consists of pouring 500 ml of boiling water onto 25 grams of finely cut dried herbs and allowing it to steep in a covered vessel with a properly sealed lid. The lid keeps in volatile oils which otherwise would be lost through evaporation during the ten to fifteen minutes normally required for infusion.
After straining, the liquid may be taken straightaway (a warm or hot infusion), or allowed to cool completely before use (a cold infusion). A hot infusion is normally preferred, and it is always used with diaphoretic or stimulant herbs, as it tends to enhance their action.
The standard adult dose is 100 ml (1 cupful). Normally 3 doses are taken per day, usually before meals.

Decoction
Among hard or woody plant materials such as roots, rhizomes, barks and seeds there are some which require prolonged hot water treatment to release their water-soluble constituents. Decoction is essentially a form of simmering, and the materials, rather than used whole, should first be cut, crushed, broken open or otherwise rendered into small pieces suitable for simmering.
The method consists of adding 25 grams of dried herbs to 500 ml f cold water and allowing to soak for ten minutes. The mixture is heated to boiling point and simmered for ten to fifteen minutes. It is then left to steep for a further ten minutes or so. During the entire process the vessel is kept covered. The mixture is strained and the plant residue discarded. The liquid is then ready for use.
The standard adult dose is 100 ml (1 cupful). Normally 3 doses are taken per day, the same as for an infusion.

Combining Decoctions and Infusions
Sometimes a herb formula will combine roots or barks that require decoction with leaves or flowers that require infusion. In such cases a decoction is first made with the coarser materials, then strained and poured over the finer materials. This is then steeped in a covered vessel, as for a normal infusion, for ten to fifteen minutes.

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