Making Eastern medicines is a delicate task since they require precise concoction using the materials given by a herb doctor.
If they are concocted in a wrong manner, their potency will be lost.
Patients should pay attention to the following principles while making herbal medicines:
Use a ceramic pot to concoct the medicine since it keeps it warm and spreads the heat. If you don’t have a ceramic pot, use a stainless steel one instead. An iron pot will render the remedy ineffective. You should steam the medicine if ginseng is among its ingredients.
The water used to cook should be clear. Water that has been boiled and cooled is ideal. The quantity of water and cooking time should be exact as instructed by the doctor.
Patients should ask their herbalist about cleaning the ingredients, drying them, how long to soak them in water before cooking, and if the flame should be high or medium.
If the patients use gas stoves to concoct the medicine, they should ask their herbalist for more directions. The herbal medicine is usually heated to boiling point before it is put on a low fire for the remedy to dissolve in water. The lid of the vessel should be covered tightly to retain the active elements in the medicine, especially ginseng, antler, seahorse, and seeds of kỷ tử (Chinese wolfberry).
If the remedy uses tortoise shells, tortoise flesh, gấc (cochinchin gourd) seeds, animal bones, or buffalo skin, you should steep them in water for 30 minutes before boiling in a pot for 15 minutes together with other ingredients.
If the remedy is gluey, you should first dissolve it in hot water and then put it in the pot to cook to get the optimum effect.
You should follow your herbalist’s direction on whether to drink the first decoction or the second, or a combination of both, since this varies depending on the remedy.
By herbalist Duong Tan Hung