Decoction 101

The etymology of decoction takes us to the Latin language: decoctio. Decoction is the act and consequence of cooking an animal product or vegetable substance in boiling water. The term also allows to name the liquid obtained through the process.

For example: “According to the natives of this region, the decoction of twenty leaves of this plant in a liter of water allows to obtain a very effective anti-inflammatory”, “Cooks recommend the decoction of a teaspoon of root powder in 100 cubic centimeters of water with salt”, “With the broth from the decoction of the meat you can prepare a very tasty soup”.

The idea of ​​decoction is linked to the procedure that is carried out by placing plants or meats in a container with boiling water. After a certain amount of time, the water becomes a product that includes various components of the substance that was immersed in it: thus, it can acquire flavor, color, aroma, etc.

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Coffee, to cite one case, is a drink obtained by decoction: the grains, whole or ground, are subjected to the action of boiling water. Tea, on the other hand, is an infusion : the plant is placed in hot water that is no longer boiling and left to stand. In colloquial language, however, it is common for decoction and infusion to be used as synonyms.

Both in the decoction and in the infusion, the purpose is to achieve the dissolution of various substances in the water to obtain a product that can be drunk. In general, a filter is used so that no solid particles remain in the liquid resulting from the process.

Another term that is used as a synonym for decoction is decoction ; Unlike what happens with infusion, this one can be used in any case, since it has the same meaning.

Summarizing all that has been said so far, we can say that a decoction is any drink, whether for tasting, nutritional or for medicinal purposes, that is prepared by filtering certain substances (usually vegetables) in a liquid that is in boiling state.

In the field of home medicine, very popular today thanks to its wide dissemination through the Internet, the decoction is one of the most used products to treat a large number of disorders and diseases. We can say that thanks to this process of filtering a plant, it is possible to extract its active ingredients and take advantage of them to maintain or improve our state of health.

The time that the boil is usually left to prepare a decoction varies a lot, since it depends on the characteristics of the plant and the part that we use of it, such as the roots, leaves, stems, seeds and bark ; Broadly speaking, we can say that it goes from three minutes to half an hour. Although it is necessary for the water to be kept in a boiling state throughout the process, it is recommended to use a medium temperature, that is, to do it over low heat. Once this phase is over, the product must be left to rest for at least ten minutes.

In addition to coffee, which for many is considered the most popular decoction in the world, there is a long list of drinks that people usually prepare for medicinal purposes; among them are the decoctions of: horsetail; licorice roots; cat’s claw root; oak bark; ginger root; willow bark Despite the differences that exist between them, the maximum number of cups per day is around three.


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