Crude herbs need to be prepared with certain procedures before they can be used. Because herbs are natural products, they need to be cleaned and processed to be stored for a long term. Some special processing methods are used to detoxify certain herbal ingredients, and to change the effects of certain herbs.
Objectives of Processing Herbs
- To clean herbs, make them easier for storage, and to preserve their effects.
- To facilitate the administration of herbs.
- Detoxification: to reduce the toxicity or side effects of certain herbs. For example, certain processing methods can reduce the toxicity of wild aconite root.
- To enhance the efficacy of herbs. For example, to improve the pain-relieving effect of corydalis tuber, the herb can be processed through stir-frying with vinegar.
- To change the properties of herbs. For example, processed rhubarb has reduced purgative effects than unprocessed dried rhubarb.
Processing Methods for Herbs
General processing methods:
Processing with water:
- Grinding in water
Processing with heat:
- Frying with liquid adjuvants (vinegar, honey, wine, ginger juice, etc.)
- Wrapped baking
Processing with water and heat:
- Dipping (in boiling water)