One of the primary advantages of a decoction is that the body rapidly absorbs it; its effects are strong and immediate. In addition, it is easy to modify the recipe to customize the treatment of a particular patient. Although herbal teas are strong and powerful, they may have an unpleasant odor and taste that many people find unpalatable. More convenient methods of taking Chinese herbs are available.
These are made by soaking the herbs in a solvent (usually alcohol) to extract the active ingredients, and then heating the liquid to evaporate some of the alcohol. The benefit of a liquid extract is that the bottle is convenient to take with you where ever you go and the recommended dosage is minimal; usually 3-9 droppers full a day. Approximately 1ml of a liquid extract contains the active ingredients of 1g of a normal ingredient.
Tablets and Capsules
This is the most modern method of processing herbs. The herbs are boiled until thick syrup remains and then dried. After decoctions, granules are considered to have the highest effectiveness of all the preparations. Granules can retain their potency for long periods of time. They are stronger-acting than most pills, and require less medicine per volume than liquid extracts
Lotions, Creams, Salves and Poultices
A poultice is prepared by combining powdered herbs with a moistening agent such as honey or egg white. The paste is than spread on muslin or cloth and applied for one to eight hours to the sore or inflamed area of the body.