How To Make Herbal Steams

Herbal steams are excellent for addressing issues in the lungs and sinuses, the face, and eyes. The evaporating steam carries light chemicals from the herbs, including some with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, relaxant, and immune-stimulating effects. These get into direct contact with the respiratory tract and skin, exerting their effects strongly.

Administration and Dosage Guidelines

Administer a steam whenever you want to stimulate the surface or respiratory tissues with moist heat. For acute illness, it’s best to steam at least twice a day. For ongoing skin or respiratory support, once a day is sufficient.

Shelf Life and Storage Guidelines

Steams are made on as-needed basis. They are not stored. Dry herbs blended for an herbal steam formula can keep for years if they’re stored in airtight containers.

Necessary Tools, Equipment, or Ingredients
  • Herbs
  • Water
  • Gallon-size or larger pot
  • Towel or blanket
Preparing Remedies – Step by Step
  1. On the stove, boil 1/2 to 1 gallon of water in a covered pot.
  2. Once at a full boil, remove from the heat and place the pot on a heat-proof surface.
  3. Make a tent by draping a blanket or towel over your head.
  4. Remove the lid from the pot and add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your herb mixture to the water.
  5. Position your face over the steam and remain there for 5 to 20 minutes, catching the steam with your tent.
  6. For respiratory issues, inhale the steam as deeply as you can so the medicated steam gets deep into your lungs.
  7. Keep a handkerchief nearby – the steam will clear your sinuses and make your nose run.
Pros
  • Delivers the medicine where it’s needed.

Particularly for antimicrobial effects, steam is the most direct method for getting the herbs in contact with the respiratory tract tissues.

  • Stimulating but soothing.

The warmth and moisture of steams help activate immune function in the mucous membranes and at the same time relieve irritation and calm a cough or ease difficult breathing.

Cons
  • Takes time. Between preparation and execution it can take at least 30 minutes to conduct a good effective steam.
  • Not portable. Steams require some space and a stove to make effectively, so they’re mostly done at home.
Additional Considerations

After steaming, you can use the leftover liquid – it is essentially a hot infusion. Drink it, soak your feet in it, soak a cloth and make a compress, or employ it in some other way so nothing is wasted. If nothing else, let it cool and feed it to your garden or houseplants. Plants like tea, too.

You can also make a good steam using essential oils. Simply boil water and set up your steaming station as directed, but instead of adding dry herbs, tap in 10 to 30 drops of essential oil. DO NOT however, drink the leftover liquid when done steaming. It can, however, be used as a foot soak.

Source: Herbal Medicine for Beginners

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