Traditional Chinese Medicine Decoction information worth collecting!
Traditional Chinese Medicine, or mainly Chinese herbal medicine, is getting more and more popular, but how do we decoct and intake it properly? Let's find out.
How to choose the decocting containers?
In general, Chinese medicines should not be boiled with metal utensils, because the various metal components contained in a metal vessel will have chemical reactions with the components of certain Chinese medicines, and some of these heavy metals are precipitated and absorbed by the human body, and thereby affect health. It is better to use clay or enamel casserole pots, however, stainless steel pots are acceptable.
The quality of Traditional Chinese Medicine decoction has a lot to do with the containers it is used to cook with. For example, the iron pan will produce water-insoluble iron tannate when boiling Chinese herbs such as hawthorn and gallnut. It is better to use the clay casserole pot, because the material is stable and will not chemically react with the medicinal ingredients, and its heat transfer is even and moderate, which is one of the reasons it has been used since ancient times. Enamel pots, stainless steel pots and glass pots are also suitable.
Cleaning & Soaking before decocting?
Yes! The medicine must be soaked before decocting, that's because herbs from plants are mostly dried, so, we need to soak them in water to soften the herbs. When the tissue cells expand, they will return to their natural state, thus will make it easy to extract active ingredients when decocting. The soaking time of herbs with flowers, leaves, or stems is 1-1.5 hours. The soaking time of herbs with root, seed, rhizome or fruit is 2-3 hours.
If you think the herb has some dirt, you can rinse it quickly with water, but it must not be soaked and washed to avoid loss of ingredients, and small seeds will be washed away.
How much water does it need for decocting?
It is preferred that the water level to be 2 ~ 3 cm higher than the face of the herbal medicine. Some herbs with flowers have large water absorption, and the water level drops after soaked for half an hour. Add some cool water to the standard water level and start decocting.
What the proper level of heat in decocting?
Use strong heat before the decoction is boiling, use gentle heat after boiling.
In Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine, the temperature levels of decocting is called "degree of heating”, and it is generally called "Gentle heat" or "High heat ". With “gentle heat”, the temperature rises slowly, and the water evaporates slowly. With “high heat”, the temperature rises quickly and the water evaporates quickly. If the heat is too strong, the water will evaporate quickly, and it will affect the leaching of active ingredients, and it's easy to stick the pot. Conversely, when the heat is weak, the effect of decocting is poor.
How long should it take for decocting?
General herbal medicines, decoct for 20 to 30 minutes after boiling for the first time, and decoct 15 to 20 minutes after boiling for the second time.
Herbal medicines with light texture or are rich in aromatic components, such as medicines for relieving heat, removing dampness with aromatics, promoting the circulation of qi and so on, their decocting time should be shorter, decoct it 10 to 15 minutes after boiling for the first time, and decoct 5 to 10 minutes after boiling for the second time.
Herbal medicines which are thick, solid, and nonvolatile, such as tonics, mineral medicine and medicines with roots, their decocting time should be extended. Decoct it for 40 to 50 minutes after boiling for the first time, and decoct 30 to 40 minutes after boiling for the second time, third time, or even the fourth time. The decocting time should be calculated after boiling.
How many times can you decoct?
The extraction rate of active ingredients is about 45% for each decocting of Chinese medicine. That is to say, after 3 times of decocting, about 90% of the active ingredients have been extracted. If the medicine is only decocted for 1-2 times, the total loss of active components is 30%-55%, tonics are even more. Therefore, it is better to decoct for 2 times.
How to intake the decoction?
Temperature of taking the decoction: it depends on the need of the disease.Take when it is warm: the decoction is too much and need to be taken when it is warm, especially some medicines that will have stimulating effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Take when it is cool: take the decoction after cooling down. Generally, cold prescription is better to take when it is cool. It is suitable for heat syndrome.
Take when it is hot: Take the decoction while it is hot. In general, hot prescription is better to take when it is hot. It is suitable for cold syndrome. For example, it must be taken when the decoction is hot when you are catching cold, cover your coat after taking, and eat hot porridge for sweating. In this way, the medicine’s effect can work better. Dosage. It depends on to the doctor's orders and the need of the disease. Some are taken separately, some are taken once.
Time to take the medicine.
The decoction is generally taken one dose daily. Take it twice each in morning and evening. Whether to take the medicine before or after meal, it mainly depends on the nature of the disease: generally, if the disease happens above the chest (heart, lung), such as sore throat, cold, headache, vertigo, etc., should take the medicine after meal. If the disease happens below the chest, such as diseases of stomach, liver and kidney, the medicine should be taken before meal. Some medicines that will have stimulating effects on the gastrointestinal tract should be taken after meal. Take tonic medicine on an empty stomach. Take the tranquilizer before bed. Special prescription should follow doctor's advice.
Foods to avoid when taking Traditional Chinese Medicine.
To guarantee the effect of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine and make the treating effect better, you need to avoid some foods when taking Chinese medicine and you should usually pay attention to the following points:
Don't drink strong tea when taking Chinese medicine. Because tea contains tannic acid, Strong tea contains more tannic acid. When you take with Traditional Chinese Medicine, it will affect the absorbtion the effective components of Chinese medicine, and reduce the treatment effect.
Don't eat radish when taking Chinese medicine (except for phlegm medicine). Because radish has the effect of digestion, breaking Qi and so on, Especially when taking nourishing Chinese medicine such as ginseng and so on. Eating radish will reduce the effect of tonic medicine and loss the effect of tonifying, and can not achieve the goal of treatment.
Patients with digestive tract disease, such as hepatitis, chronic gastroenteritis patients must not eat garlic when taking medicines for tonifying spleen and warming stomach. Garlic contains allicin that will stimulate the gastrointestinal mucosa, and cause congestion, making the taken Chinese medicine cannot work effectively.
Don’t eat pepper when taking Chinese medicine, especially when you are suffering from body heat syndrome. Don’t eat pepper when taking medicine for clearing heat and cooling blood, or nourishing yin and removing body heat. Pepper will reduce the effect of the medicine, and make the treatment ineffective or reduce the effect.
When you are taking Chinese medicine decoction and pills, do avoid eating spicy, cold, greasy foods. As raw, cold food will stimulate the stomach, and affect the absorption of medicine. Greasy food is hard to be digested and absorbed, and the mixture of greasy food and medicine will block the gastrointestinal absorption of active ingredients, which could reduce the effect of the treatment.
In addition, those suffering from sores and skin diseases should not eat saltwater fish, shrimp, crabs, mutton, and pork. Edema patients should avoid eating salt. Hepatitis patients should avoid eating spicy, and greasy food. Don’t eat fish, shrimp and crab when taking herba schizeneptae. Don't eat carp when taking asparagus. Don't eat garlic when taking white atractylodes rhizome.