Special Preparations

 

Some herbs need to be cooked in a special way or for a different amount of time than the rest of your formula. In that case, they will be packaged separately in smaller bags with labels. Match the label to the instructions below.

 

Herbs to Pre-Decoct

pre-decoction labelA bag with this label contains herbs that need to be cooked for a longer time than the rest of your formula. Pour the herbs in this bag into a smaller pot with enough water to cover them, bring them to a boil, and simmer for the number of minutes instructed. Keep them covered while they cook. Then before bringing the primary decoction to a boil, add the entire contents of the small pot, herbs and liquid, to the large pot where the rest of your formula has been soaking.

For example: If the label reads, “pre-decoct for 45 minutes,” simmer the herb in this bag in a small pot by itself for 45 minutes. After cooking for 45 minutes, pour the herb and its cooking liquid into the large pot, where the rest of your formula is soaking. Continue preparing the rest of the decoction as instructed above.

 

Pre-Decocting Fu Zi

Fu Zi, or aconite, is an herb that always requires pre-decoction. It must be simmered for 60 minutes before being added to the rest of your decoction. To test that Fu Zi has been properly prepared, use a spoon to touch the tip of your tongue to the decocted liquid. If you experience tingling or numbness on your tongue, then cook the Fu Zi for an additional 10 minutes. Repeat until none of these sensations occur.

 

Herbs to Add for Final Minutes

add for final minutes labelA bag with this label contains herbs that must be cooked for a shorter time than the rest of your formula. Add the contents of this bag to the main formula near the end of the cooking process for the number of minutes specified.

For example: If the label reads, “add for the final 5 minutes of the decoction process” and you are cooking the rest of your formula for 30 minutes, then simmer the main formula for 25 minutes, add the herb in this bag to the pot, and cook for another 5 minutes. Keep the pot covered the entire time the herbs are cooking.

 

Herbs to Steep

steep labelA bag with this label contains herbs that don’t require simmering. Steep these herbs in the hot decoction for the specified number of minutes after cooking is complete.

For example: If the label reads, “steep for 5 Minutes in decoction after cooking is complete,” cook the main decoction as instructed above, and turn off your stove or pot. Add the contents of this bag while the liquid is still hot, and let it steep for 5 minutes before straining.

 

Herbs to Stir into the Decoction

stir labelA bag with this label contains herbs that do not require cooking, but must be dissolved in the warm decoction. After cooking is complete, stir these herbs into the decoction until completely dissolved.

For example: If the label reads, “stir into decoction after cooking is complete,” finish cooking the main formula and strain it. While the liquid is still warm, add the herbs in this bag and continue stirring until they are completely dissolved. This may take a few minutes, depending on the herb.

 

Adding Fresh Ginger

This label indicates that fresh ginger should be added to the primary decoction. Ginger may be bought at most grocery stores. Add the ginger to the decoction from the very beginning of the process and soak it with the rest of your herbs.

For example: If the label reads, “add 1/2 ounces of fresh ginger to the decoction,” measure half an ounce of fresh ginger and add it to the primary decoction during the soaking stage.