Techniques: Decoction

January 1st, 2008

Decoction, or boiling, is employed to extract the mucilaginous or gummy parts of substances, their bitter, astringent or other qualities, and is nothing more than boiling the ingredients in a saucepan with the lid slightly raised. Be sure never to use an iron saucepan for astringent decoctions, such as oak-bark, galls, &c., as they will turn the saucepan black and spoil the decoction. The enamelled saucepans are very useful for decoctions, but an excellent plan is to put the ingredients into a jar and then boil the jar, thus preparing it by a water bath, as it is technically termed; or by using a common pipkin, which answers still better. No decoction should be allowed to boil for more than ten minutes.

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