Herbal Preparation and Use - Decoctions (Kwatha)

Herbal Preparation and Use - Decoctions (Kwatha)


Decoctions are made by boiling herbs in water over a low flame until 1/2 the amount of water remains. Decoctions are best suited for roots, stems, bark, and fruit, because it takes longer to transfer the energies from these parts of the plant to the decoction liquid (flower and leaf energy is quickly transferred).

Decoction Recipe: 1 part dry herbs to 16 parts water or 1/2 ounce of herbs to 8 ounces of water. The 8 cups of water are boiled over a low flame until half the amount (2 ounces) remains. The herb’s energies are now transferred to the liquid from the dry herb. Herbs are then strained and the decoction is taken.

Sometimes milk decoctions are especially useful for enhancing herbal properties as for ashwagandha and shatavari. A traditional recipe for ashwagandha milk decoction is 1/4 ounce ashwagandha to 1/4 cup milk to 1 cup water. This mixture is boiled over a low flame until the water evaporates. Less water can be used when using herbs in powdered form.