Category Archives: How-to

How To Cure Sticky Rubber

Has this ever happened to you?  Your beloved wireless karaoke microphones, your car interior handles, your favourite multi-adaptor suddenly became sticky and impossible to hold. Their rubberized coatings have turned sticky  and no matter how much talcum powder you pour on them, they still remain sticky after the talcum powder wore off.

So why does rubber do this? Natural or synthetic rubber starts out as a very sticky substance. The rubber  can revert back to it’s original state under certain conditions. Once that happens you’re stuck with rubber that has become sticky and tacky.   (Ref: https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Clean-Sticky-Rubber/   )

A common method to cure this sticky rubber  is to use 90% isopropyl solution. But this involves actually removing the rubber coating down to the plastic/metal base. I discovered another method that doesn’t end up removing the rubber coating but merely removes the stickiness. 

It happened when my karaoke wireless microphones became impossible to hold because the rubberized handles had turned sticky. I used a handle wrap (those that we wrap around racquets to improve our grip) to wrap around the microphones’ handles and I thought nothing more about it.  Until one day, as the wrap unravelled itself, I discovered that the stickiness on the microphones’ handles had gone!

You can thank me if you find that it also works for you.

 

A Home Karaoke Set And Library To Be Proud Of

I believe I have a (nearly) complete Home Entertainment setup. Here’s why I say so: 

  • An “active” system comprising  an AV Receiver with large screen HD TV,  satellite receiver, digital transmission receiver,  BlueRay-DVD player, media player,  Chromecast, Raku Stick and a projector with a 110″ screen. And of course 6 speakers. When you watch movies and concerts,  your mind has to be “active”.
  • A “passive” system comprising a HiFi Integrated Amp,  a CD player,  a sub-woofer, and HiFi speakers. Your mind is “passive” listening to beautiful music.
  • An “interactive” system, consisting  of a PlayStation and…. the Karaoke system described below.

The Hardware

The Software

Building the karaoke songs library

  1. Search for the karaoke song on YouTube. If there are multiple versions, choose the one with the most views.
  2. In aTube Catcher, select Video Downloader. Use the settings to choose the location for your downloaded files.  Set the Output Profile to MP4 Video 1200kbps.
  3.  Paste the YouTube URL in the video downloader and click download.
  4. Open the Kanto Player application and select the karaoke song that you have downloaded and enjoy!

 

Remedy for Diseased Tuber or Bulb Plant

I hit upon this effective remedy by sheer chance. My pot of Rodent Tuber  (Typhonium flagelliforme Lodd.)   became distressed with slimy rotting tubers. It was apparent to me that the plant was dying and it seemed that I was going to lose my pot of precious  Rodent Tubers. Fellow gardeners will know the hollow feeling in the gut.

 Apparently the bulbs’ soft rots are caused by several types of bacteria, but most commonly by species of gram-negative bacteria, Erwinia, Pectobacterium, and Pseudomonas.  The soft rot decay is generally odorless but becomes foul and slimy when other secondary bacteria invade the infected tissues.

Meanwhile, I have a large stock of homemade “garbage enzyme”. This garbage enzyme has tons of uses, ranging from natural floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid, air purifier, insect repellent, pesticide, and fertilizer.

I wondered what would happen if I were to soak the diseased bulbs in a small container of garbage enzyme and I did just that. I soaked  (immersed) the bulbs in the garbage enzyme for about 30 minutes and then re-potted the bulbs in a pot of fresh soil. The bulbs didn’t die and after a few days, there were new fresh leaves! It worked! So if you have a diseased rotting slimy bulb or tuber…immerse in garbage enzyme for about 30 minutes or more before re-potting in fresh soil. You can save the bulb or tuber.

How to make garbage enzyme.

Rodent Tuber

How To Stop Hiccups

Who has not suffered an inconvenient,  irritating, embarrassing hiccup which often is untimely?    Yes, everyone has had to endure it at one time or another.

What causes this annoyance? 

Apparently, there are   various reasons but probably the most common  one is when we eat too quickly and especially when we are nervous or excited. But who cares what causes it? You are here now because you are intrigued by the  title  and just want to know how to stop the  *&$# hiccups.

Here’s how to stop the hiccups

Disclaimer: This is something that I accidentally discovered which works wonder for me. I have not seen this method described anywhere else. It may not work for you, but why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose and I hope you will  feedback to us if it does work for you.,

When the annoying hiccups start, just pinch your left thumb at the joint with your right thumb and forefinger, then apply pressure and rub /twist at the joint working down to the neck of the left thumb.  Do that for a minute or so, then change to the right thumb, rubbing and twisting with your left thumb and forefinger. Do that for a minute or so.  Have the hiccups gone away? If not repeat until they disappear. It shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.

 

 

Write and tell us if it works for you!

How To Make Pomegranate Juice AND Tea

Hello…Happy New Year 2017! Thank you for visiting.

Here’s my own technique for making yummy, healthy pomegranate juice AND tea, without any wastage.

 1. First off, you need the pomegranate seeds, or more correctly called “arils”, and there are various techniques taught on the Internet. I opted for the following method.

1a. Slice a bit off the top and bottom.

 1b. Next, look for the ridges and make shallow cuts all along the ridges where the fruit will break open.  
 1c. Gently pry apart the fruit, which should open along the cuts made earlier.  
 1d. Now gently pry the arils off the peels in a bowl of water. The water helps prevent the arils from bouncing off everywhere. I find this most helpful. The white pith will float in the water for easy removal too.  
 2. Use a large strainer to catch the arils and pour into a container. Now you can store these in the fridge for a fairly long period (I don’t really know how long they will keep) until you are ready to consume them. You can scoop with a spoon and eat straight off as a morning before-breakfast snack, or use for juicing as what we are discussing now.  
 3. For juicing, I use a simple “Shake n Take” blender. Whichever blender you use, I suggest that you use the pulse mode to gently extract the juice from the arils without breaking their inner seeds. I imagine the inner seeds, if crushed, may affect the taste of the juice. But then some say that adds more healthy stuff to the juice. It’s your choice.  
 4. I pour the pure pulpy mixture into the centre strainer of my tea pot and use a pestle to gently coax more juice out of the pulp. The strained juice is then poured out from the teapot into a container to chill for a refreshing healthy drink later.  

 5. I then add about 3/4 pot of hot boiling water to my teapot and then immerse the strainer (which contains the pulp).  I pour the remaining hot water through the top of the pot/strainer. Don’t try to pour a whole pot of hot water through the strainer. The strainer is choked full of the pulp and will surely test your patience if you try that!  

 6. There you have it! The combined large and medium sized fruits give about 500ml of pure juice. The pulp makes one teapot of pomegranate tea. It may be a rather weak tea to some, but hey, no waste!  

 

 Bonus tip:

I was wondering whether to use the peels for my vermicasting or as garden mulch. But I discovered that the peels have many healthy uses. See the links below.

If you do try any of the health tip below and find it works for you, please share for the benefit of others at my other website, Free2Cure ( www.free2cure.com ), which publishes first-person testimonials on natural remedies to eliminate doubt and hear-say.

11 health benefits of pomegranate peel you never knew!

Health Benefits of Pomegranate Peels

Reasons to not waste pomegranate peels

4 Reasons to Drink Pomegranate Peel Tea

Benefits of Pomegranate Peel for Skin, Hair & Health

10 Amazing Benefits Of Pomegranate Peel For Skin, Hair And Health

35 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Pomegranates

Pomegranate Peel Benefits, Recipes and More

What About Pomegranate Peels is So Special?

How To Recycle Celery For Endless Supply

Here’s a quick and easy way to grow celery. It’s like recycling your celery for an endless supply of garden-fresh crunchy celery.

How To Have An Endless Supply Of  Crunchy Celery

 

img_46631. Carefully cut off the mature stalks at the base, making sure you do not cut too deep into the remaining layers of young shoots. However, you will need to nick the base of the young shoots…. see step 2.

 

 

 

 

img_46552.  Special tip! Carefully nick ( shallow small cut ) the bottom of the young shoots. This will accelerate the formation of roots at the nicks. Picture shows roots growing from the small cuts after 1-2 weeks.

 

 

 

 

img_46763.  Stand the remaining young shoots in some water taking care not to soak the leaf stems. Wet leaf stems may rot. Place the stems in a sheltered place with bright diffused sunlight, such as on a window sill.

 

 

 

 

4.  Within 3-4 days, the pale young shoots will turn a healthy green. Change the water daily. Thereafter, the young shoots will grow bigger steadily.

 

 

 

 

 

img_46555.  After a week or two, there should little roots growing out of the small cuts in the stems. When you have sufficient roots (make your own judgement!), transplant  the young shoots in a suitable pot, and cover the base lightly with potting soil up to the roots level.

 

 

 

img_46826.  Here are my first 3 pots of Australian Celery, USA Celery and Dole Celery (USA) after about a month. They appear somewhat stunted and I’m not sure whether they will eventually grow to their parents’ original market-size, considering that I’m in the hot/humid tropics. But if you live in a temperate zone, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to harvest your full-grown celery within a couple of months. Enjoy!

 

Bonus: Have you ever wondered how long do carrots last? Click here for an interesting article on some of the ways to tell if a carrot has spoiled, as well as ways to extend its shelf life.

Where are the bass and treble controls?

First a disclaimer: this is aimed at the newbie to audio “hi fi” systems. Audiophiles stay away; skip this article.

Let me tell this story as my personal experience, while dipping my toes into the pond of High Fidelity to experience the sensation of near-actual live studio/concert hall musical performances.

First, I found a mentor; an audiophile as crazy a perfectionist as you would expect. Someone who won’t blink an eye to put down mega dollars for that little incremental improvement towards perfection. This was to draw my inspiration from and to establish my own realistic (that’s tough!) benchmark against. When he had got me sufficiently excited, it was time to go shopping.

I set myself a budget of RM20,000 ( it was USD 5,800 then) for a reasonably good entry-level system. I settled for the NAIM 5i integrated amp, Marantz K.I. Pearl Lite CD player and a pair of floor-standing Polk Audio RTiA7.  For the interconnects, I use the Kimber Kable PBJ  and for the speaker cables the QED Bi-Wire. Just to be sure, I plonked some dollars down for the Chord power cables. My mentor gave me a pair of UPS to stabilise/clean up the incoming juice to my amp and player. On top of that he gave me some gadgets and additional tips to improve the sound quality; but that’s for a later different story.

I hooked that all up and fired them up and… yes! For a guy used to listening to music on a portable cassete/CD player, it sounded so sweet to my ears. It seemed like every instrument came alive. Then it happened. One day the sound just does not seem “right”. It felt lifeless and flat. Even a friend commented that his Bose integrated system sounds better than my so called Hi-Fi separates system. I invited my mentor to take a look. He suggested I relocate the system and to arrange them elsewhere in the living room and helped me pick a new spot. And he was right! The music came alive again! But not for long….

I enjoyed my system for a few months and then like before, it suddenly didn’t seem as sweet as it should be. It’s like, I suddenly realise the sounds were too bright and thin and there’s just not enough oomph in the low frequencies. Should I change my speakers? Should I change my amplifier? I don’t think it’s my Marantz K.I. Pearl-Lite; that should be good enough. After researching the Internet, I came to the conclusion that a sub-woofer would probably help fill the sound voids. But hey! Isn’t a sub-woofer really just meant for the home theatre? Researching some more turned up some literature that advocated adding a (right-type) sub-woofer to the system. But since the amplifier, unlike an AV Receiver, does not have a LFE sub-woofer output, it means the correct sub-woofer has to be able take high level input, straight from the amplifier’s outputs to speakers.

It took me a while to find a right-type hi-fi sub-woofer, but I found the REL range of subs a possibilty. Off I went to the local distributor’s showroom in Sunway Pyramid and auditioned a REL T5 hooked to a NAIM 5i. And it certainly made an audible difference. Next, I asked for a home demo; if it works just as well in my home on my system, then I will buy it. And what do you know? It works well! For me the acid test will be to see if the system now passes muster with my mentor the next time he visits.

So why did I go to all this trouble? Where are the Bass and Treble controls? Shoot! Just crank up the Bass and turn down the Treble! Can’t you?

Well, the answer to that is still the same reason why the Bass and Treble (and generally the equalisers) all went out of fashion in the 80’s in Hi Fi amplifiers. Apparently the move was started by NAIM and soon all other brands came around to the same notion as well.

And what’s that notion? Well, all equalisers, bass and treble controls are actually filters and they remove portions of the sounds that went into the media (CD, records, etc). And to the purists, that’s subtractive and not true Hi Fi. The controls actually distort the sounds. OK, so what’s the difference with the sub-woofer? The (Hi Fi) sub-woofer takes the actual signal from the amplifier and further amplifies the sounds (from the very low sub-bass 30 Hz to about 120 Hz). The result is that it adds to the overall sounds, very much like suddenly a bass guitarist fires up his instrument, or he turns up his bass guitar (or bass drum) volume. The original sounds from the floor standing speakers do not diminish in any way. When tuned properly, the sub-woofer should feel like an integral part of the overall Hi Fi System.

That’s all dandy, if….and that’s a very big IF, the sound engineers have done their jobs well and IF the CDs are all made very well. Who has not listened to a badly produced CD or track? No, not even the addition of a sub-woofer can make up for the CD that’s badly produced in the first place. Perhaps we should start a rating system for the sound engineers and music producers, like we rate movie directors and producers.

The Definitive Guide To Making Herbal Tea

Making Herbal Tea

 

Background

I have been very keen in herbal remedies ever since 1998 when my mother-in-law was saved by a herb after doctors had given up hope on her when they deemed her renal failure was no longer treatable.
When she recovered after we put her on a course of urena lobata (“Sar Boh Chau”) herbal tea, and she went on to live a healthy life for 22 more years, I started a website, Free2Cure, to put on record her case study (https://www.free2cure.com/chronic-renal-failure/ )and to solicit first-person testimonials of any other successful natural remedy to help anyone in need.
But I am also acutely aware that my brief description of the herbal tea preparation, typically the common advice of “boil 3 cups until 1 cup” is too vague and does not instill confidence for anyone who needs to understand the “how’s and why’s” of the herbal tea preparation.
As such, I scoured the Internet and researched this topic and what follows, I believe, is the definitive guide to making herbal tea. It should provide answers to the “what, when, why and how” of herbal tea preparation. If there’s any gap, error or falsehood in this guide, please post your comment here, and together we’ll continually improve and add to our collective knowledge.

Some herbs for making herbal tea
Some of the herbs in my garden

Contents

What is “herbal tea”?
Infusion
Cold Infusion
Sun and Moon infusion
What type of kettle or pot to use?
What is the recommended dosage?
Decoction

Mortar and pestle
MY HOT TIP FOR MAKING FRUIT TEA
Measures
References

What is “herbal tea”?

Dried herbs for herbal tea
Air dried herbs for making herbal tea

First off, “herbal tea” in its common usage, is a misnomer, since “tea” is actually a beverage prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis.
“Herbal tea” (or more accurately “tisane”) as referred to and described in this article, does not involve the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, but is any beverage made from the infusion (hot tisane) or decoction (boiled tisane) of herbs, spices, or other plant material and usually does not contain caffeine. But, we will call it “Herbal Tea” here as it is commonly referred to.
A herbal tea is often consumed for its physical or medicinal effects, especially for its stimulant, relaxant or sedative properties.
Herbal teas generally have lower antioxidant values than true teas but there are exceptions (eg. Misai Kucing) with antioxidant properties comparable to black teas.

Since the liquid medium is water, herbal tea is only useful to extract water soluble active chemicals from the target herb and to release the volatile essential oils (if present).
To extract non-water-soluble active chemicals, other methods like tincture may be used.

Maceration, tincture, elixir, tonic, syrup, etc. to extract the beneficial constituents of a target herb will be discussed in a separate article.
Top

Infusion

kettle for herbal tea
Well used 1-litre stainless steel kettle for boiling water for herbal tea

Infusion is made by bringing freshly drawn water to a light boil and then adding the hot water to the herb in an appropriate container. The container must be covered to retain the volatile essential oils, and the herb is steeped in the hot water for the desired duration.
As such, infusion is used to extract minerals, vitamins and volatile essential oils from the soft parts of the plant such as leaves or flowers (fresh or dried) or citrus peelings or fruits.

Glass teapot for infusion of herbal tea
Glass teapot with strainer and cover for infusion of herbal tea

Pre-heat the pot and cup by swirling hot water and pouring off. The warmed tea pot will prevent the water from cooling too quickly so that the full flavour of the tea is not lost. Another good reason to do that is avoid cracking your glass tea pot through a sudden drastic change in temperature which may happen if you just dump the full volume of boiling hot water into the pot. After you have pre-heated the pot, add the appropriate amount of herb followed by the lightly boiled water.

Tools for infusion of herbal tea
My ensemble of cups, teapot, strainer to make herbal tea

Some herbalists recommend not to stir but to just let the herb(s) steep within the confines of the pot or cup. Probably, this is to prevent the loss of the volatile essential oils if you lift the cover to stir.

While tea is normally steeped for only 1-3 minutes to avoid excessive bitter tannins, herbal tea is steeped for at least 5 minutes and usually 10-20 minutes. Some herbalists recommend the use of higher dosage to make a stronger herbal tea rather then a longer steeping time.
Top

 

Cold Infusion

Glass jar to infuse herbal tea
1-litre glass jar for cold infusion of herbal tea

While “infusion” generally refers to “hot tea”, you could also use cold water instead of hot water especially for the more delicate herbs that may be adversely affected by heat.
Cold infusion gives a different flavour to the herbal tea as the chemical balance will be different from that imparted by hot infusion. As before, use freshly drawn water (filtered or mineral water) and add the cold water to the herb(s) in the glass/porcelain tea pot and keep covered. Allow it to steep for up to 24 hours. Dosage is similar to that for hot infusions.
But be very careful; the dried or fresh herb must be clean as there is no heat to kill any bacteria that may be present in the herb. In case of doubt about its cleanliness, do a quick rinse of the herb with boiling water, before using for the cold infusion.
Use a pestle and mortar to crush whole herbs to “open” them up before the cold infusion.
Drink the finished tea as is or chilled or sweetened; whatever your taste. Some may prefer to gently warm up the tea to drinking temperature.

Use a bottle or jar instead of a tea pot to make larger quantities.
Top

Sun's energy for making herbal tea
Tapping the Sun’s energy for a herbal infusion

Sun Infusion (Yang)
Sun infusion supposedly harnesses the sun’s masculine yang energy to stimulate the water and herb(s). Use a big jar and fill it with clean freshly drawn water to keep the herb(s) submerged. Keep the jar open or cover with some fabric like muslin cloth to keep dirt out. Put the jar in a sunny spot to infuse for at least 4 hours. The tea is ready when it is fragrant and the liquid is full of color. Strain and drink throughout the day.
Top

Moon Infusion (Yin)
Moon infusion supposedly harnesses the moon’s feminine yin energy which is more subtle, cool and passive than the sun’s energy.
Apparently, moon infusions under the different phases of the moon will impart different effect on the infused herbal tea although generally it seems like a good idea to do it under a full moon.
Again, keep the jar open or covered with a fabric like muslin cloth to keep dirt out. Moon infusions are generally kept overnight in the moonlight.

The beauty of making lunar infusions is the ability of these to capture the energy of the moon phases and their relative teachings into the tea. A full moon tea will bring more bright, illuminating, and culminating energy to a blend, while a waning moon infusion will invoke a remembrance of rest, calm, and letting go. Herbalists pay close attention to the moon and we use the moon for harvesting. We harvest some flowers and plant tops under the light of the full moon, when the energy of the plant is lifted like the tides into the highest part of the plant. And we harvest roots and tubers under the darkness of the new moon when the energy is calm, the tides are low, and the plants have their intelligent life-force nestled deep into the earth below.

http://plants-whisper-yoga.blogspot.com/2012/08/infusing-with-luminaries-making-sun-and.html

Top
What type of kettle or pot to use?

The guiding principle is that herbal tea is meant  for its therapeutic value rather than its flavour, unlike the case of drinking tea.
Therefore, the material of the container must not contaminate the herbs. As such inert material is preferred over clay or cast iron, two of the popular types of tea pots for making tea (not herbal tisane).

The recommended material for the pot for herbal tisane  is glass or porcelain. Metallic containers like aluminium and copper may react adversely with some herbs. If you have to use metallic pots, I believe stainless steel is inert and will not react with the herb. Other sources recommend enamel pots but I would not use use them as the enamel can chip off and expose the metal (cast iron or mild steel) which can rust. Traditional Chinese tea is usually infused in clay or ceramic pots. For our herbal tea, stick to glass, porcelain or stainless steel. Glass has the added bonus of a delightful visual sense to add to the enjoyment of the herbal tea. The downside of glass is that glass is a poor heat insulator and tends to cool down quite fast compared to clay (or porcelain).

The longer you infuse the herbs, the stronger and more effective the active constituents will be. But the flavour may alter with different steeping times, so experiment to suit your taste with a minimum steeping time of 10 minutes.
And remember, the pot must have a cover or lid.

Choose the size of the container appropriate for the quantity of herbal tea. Do not use a large pot for a small quantity of herbal tea.
Top

What is the recommended dosage?

Generally, the recommended dosage is about 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of dried herb or 2 tablespoons of fresh herb per 8 oz (240 ml) of water (1 cup). But this is only a guideline as different herbs have different potency.

Add 2 tablespoons of fresh, or 1 tablespoon of dried herb (or crushed seed) to the pot for each cup of water, plus an extra 2 tablespoons of fresh or 1 tablespoon of dried “for the pot.” (For iced tea, increase to 3 tablespoons of fresh and 2 tablespoons of dried herb to allow for watering down by melting ice).

Therefore, if making 2 cups of hot tea, you would use 6 tablespoons of fresh herb or 3 tablespoons of dried herb in a pot.

Alternatively, a very general guideline is to take a cupped handful of fresh herb for a quart (0.88 litre) of water.

From the foregoing, you will notice that if you are using fresh herbs for your tisane, use twice the amount you would use if the herb were dry. This is because the water content in fresh herbs dilutes their flavor. As one herbalist wrote, “Let your hands, eyes, nose and heart guide you”.

Note: 1 g dried herb approx = 1.5 tsp dried herb

The average dosage is usually 3 to 4 cups in a day.
Top

 

Decoction

Stainless steel pot to decoct herbal tea
Stainless steel pot with glass cover for decoction of herbal tea

A decoction is used to extract primarily the mineral salts and bitter principles of plants from hard materials such as roots, bark, seeds and wood. These hard materials generally require boiling for at least 10 minutes and then are allowed to steep longer, sometimes for a number of hours. The word “decoct” means to extract the essence from (something) by heating or boiling it. The tea is boiled down and concentrated so that water may need to be added before drinking, in some cases. But a general guideline is to use 3 bowls of water and boiled/simmered until 1 bowl.

Put 1-3 tablespoons of cut herb, seed, root, bark, etc into a pot of 16-32 oz of water and allow to sit in non-boiled water for at least 5-10 minutes. Set on stove and bring to a slow boil then turn down to a simmer for 10-30 minutes. Strain and drink. Will keep about 72 hours if kept refrigerated. Most decoctions can also be brewed via single cup through a regular infusion process as noted above but without the strength.

The decoction method is used for hard, woody substances (such as roots, bark, and stems) that have constituents that are water-soluble and non-volatile. (Red clover is an exception, because red clover flower decoction will extract more minerals that the infusion.)
Decoctions extract mainly mineral salts and bitter principles. Decoctions are intended for immediate use.
Store for a maximum of 72 hours in the refrigerator.

Amounts can vary, depending upon your taste and the potency of the herbs, however 1 to 2 teaspoons of herb mixture to each cup of water is a good starting point. Roots and barks are more concentrated than the lighter leaves and flowers used in infusions, so less is needed.
Top

Heating method for the decoction

There seems to be conflicting views as to how to boil the herb(s). The following methods are extracted from different sources.

Method 1:

Start with cold water over a low heat and slowly bring herb mixture to a simmering boil. Keep the pot covered and simmer for ten to 20 minutes. Take off heat and leave covered while your decoction cools to drinking temperature.

Method 2:

Use this method when the material you want to extract is a bitter, or mineral salt. The whole herb, roots or seeds, or the bark of a woody plant are soaked in cold water for several hours, then brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes.

Method 3:

Add 3 cups of water to the herbs and bring the mixture to a boil using relatively high heat. Reduce to medium heat and continue to boil (for approximately 20 minutes) until 1 cup of strong, dark liquid remains.
Strain the liquid into a large glass or ceramic container. This is the first dose (the strongest) of your herbal medicine.
Add 2 cups of water to the previously cooked herbs. Continue to simmer under medium to low heat for approximately 20 minutes, until 1 cup of liquid remains.
Strain the liquid and pour it into the same container holding the previous dose.
Repeat the last two steps one more time to make a third dose of medicine, which you again combine with the previous two doses.
When finished you should have approximately 3 cups of herbal medicine, and can now discard the cooked herbs. You will generally take 1 cup of your decoction three times a day, but this depends on your individual condition. Decoctions should be drunk slightly warm (like tea). Some herbs may taste a bit bitter, and if so you can usually sweeten them with a small amount of honey. Your decoction should keep for about 2-3 days if sealed and refrigerated.

I personally adopt Method 3 most of the time.

Why you boil a decoction three times
It is important to boil the herbs three times for 20-minutes each time, rather than all at once for one hour. Many of the herbs in your formula will contain some volatile aromatic oils as active ingredients. These oils will be retained in a short 20-minute boiling, but will probably evaporate after an hour at high temperature. Other components of your herbal formula (such as the active ingredients in hard roots or nuts) might take an hour to be fully extracted, however.

Thus the best method of preparing the decoction is to boil the herbs for 20 minutes three times in a row, combining and mixing all three doses. This ensures that all the various active herbal ingredients are present in the final medicine.
Top


http://pkacupuncture.com/patient-resources/how-to-make-an-herbal-decoction/

Mortar and pestle to help make herbal tea
Mortar and pestle to crush herbs to aid making herbal tea

&bnsp;

Mortar and pestle

A mortar and pestle can be used to crush the herb(s) to aid in the infusion or decoction of the herbal tea, especially anything tough or hard, like nuts or barks.

 

 

 

 

 

For the freshest tasting cup of tea, you should always use mineral water or freshly drawn water direct from the tap that has been running for a while. Standing water loses oxygen, and the resulting tea tastes flat. If your tap water is chlorinated, a compromise can be reached by drawing fresh water and letting it stand uncovered for a couple of hours to allow the chlorine taste to leave the water; although, using mineral water is a quick and easy solution. Boiling the water for long periods also removes oxygen from the water, so always use fresh water (do not re-boil it), and use the water quickly after it comes to a boil.

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:A_Nice_Cup_of_Tea

Traditionally, in Asia, water is always brought to gentle boil before one prepares tea. Boiling water eliminates many harmful germs and bacteria. Though water quality has improved vastly, boiling in the water in this fashion can help to bring out tea’s flavor. The water should be heated until a steady stream of air bubbles gently rise to the surface. At this point, the water is sufficiently heated and also has a preferable oxygen content. In contrast, using water that has been held at a fierce, rolling boil can leave tea tasting dull and flat.

http://www.itoen.com/preparing-tea
Top

 

MY HOT TIP FOR MAKING FRUIT TEA

 

Making fruit tea as a herbal tea
A 1-ltre glass teapot of fruit tea

Fruit juicer's extracted pulp for making herbal tea
My simple fruit juicer

Try this the next time you use your juicer to make fruit juice. Make sure the container for the pulp is clean before you start juicing. After juicing, the collected pulp can be put into a tea bag/filter and used for fruit tisane infusion. Now you can have your juice and fruit tea, no waste!

Fruit pulp to make herbal tea
Fruit pulp can be transferred to the strainer of teapot to make fruit tea

Case Study

I used my juicer to make some fruit juice as usual, but this time instead of throwing away the pulp, I used the pulp to make a fruit tea (infusion).

Ingredients :
2 beetroot
3 large green apples
2 organges
3 promegranate

Fruit juice and fruit tea as part of making herbal tea
L – 1-litre glass teapot fruit tea, R – 1-litre glass jar fruit juice

Output:
1-litre fruit juice, and pulp sufficient for 3-litres of fruit tea.
The above ingredients produced almost a litre of fruit juice while the pulp was sufficient for 3 litres of fruit tea. I packed my teapot’s strainer full of pulp to make a fresh infusion of fruit tea. The balance of the pulp was kept in the fridge and used over two days to make two more pots of fruit tea.

 

Extra bonus:

After using the pulp to make the fruit tea, I used the pulp to make my “garbage enzyme”. Remember: to make garbage enzyme, use PLASTIC bottles, not glass. This is to avoid nasty accidents in case the  gas build-up creates too high pressure.
http://www.o3enzyme.com/enzymeproduction.htm

Extra extra bonus:

If you have fruit peels, why not use them in your compost pit? I use mine to make vermicast ( worm castings ).  Learn to make vermicast here.
http://www.diynatural.com/vermicomposting-worm-farm-diy-easy-and-frugal/

Here’s another great guide on Vermicomposting:

Worm Composting: Beginners Guide to Vermicomposting

Truly, truly no waste!

Garbage Enzyme from fruit pulp after making fruit herbal tea
3-litre and 5-litre Plastic Bottles of Garbage Enzyme in progress

Top

Final note:
When you are making your herbal tea, you need a cat curled up at your feet to make it truly magical. Just kidding! (…. but it can’t hurt to try).

A cat to aid making herbal tea
Tickle my tummy and I’ll transform your herbal tea

A cat to aid making herbal tea
What? You don’t believe me?

Top

Abbreviations

Tablespoon : T, tb, tbs, tbsp, tblsp, or tblspn.
Teaspoon : t, tsp

Measures

One quart is equal to 4 cups, 2 pints, and 1/4th of a gallon.

1 quart is 1.1365225 liters.
1 Liter = 1.05668821 Quarts [Fluid, US].

1 Liter = 0.87987699 Quarts [UK]

U.S. to Metric
Capacity
1/5 teaspoon = 1 milliliter
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1/5 cup = 50 ml
1 cup = 240 ml
2 cups (1 pint) = 470 ml
4 cups (1 quart) = .95 liter
4 quarts (1 gal.) = 3.8 liters
Weight
1 fluid oz. = 30 milliters
1 fluid oz. = 28 grams
1 pound = 454 grams

Metric to U.S.
Capacity
1 militers = 1/5 teaspoon
5 ml = 1 teaspoon
15 ml = 1 tablespoon
34 ml = 1 fluid oz.
100 ml = 3.4 fluid oz.
240 ml = 1 cup
1 liter = 34 fluid oz.
1 liter = 4.2 cups
1 liter = 2.1 pints
1 liter = 1.06 quarts
1 liter = .26 gallon
Weight
1 gram = .035 ounce
100 grams = 3.5 ounces
500 grams = 1.10 pounds
1 kilogram = 2.205 pounds
1 kilogram = 35 oz.

Cooking Measurment Equivalents
16 tablespoons = 1 cup
12 tablespoons = 3/4 cup
10 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 2/3 cup
8 tablespoons = 1/2 cup
6 tablespoons = 3/8 cup
5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon = 1/3 cup
4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons = 1/6 cup
1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup
2 cups = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
3 teaspoons = 1 tablespoon
48 teaspoons = 1 cup
Top


Footnote:
After making  your tea and fruit juices, you may want to use the “waste” to make your own compost.
Here’s an article on easy steps on how to make your indoor compost bin . 

 

References

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Herbal-Tea
http://www.motherearthnews.com/natural-health/how-to-make-herbal-teas-infusions-tinctures-ze0z1202zhir.aspx?PageId=1
http://www.growingupherbal.com/how-to-make-a-perfect-cup-of-herbal-tea/
http://blog.chestnutherbs.com/herbal-infusions-and-decoctions-preparing-medicinal-teas
http://www.gardensablaze.com/HerbTea.htm
http://www.fareastginseng.com/howtoprhetea.html
http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/nutrition/7-herbal-teas-that-will-make-you-healthy
https://www.planetherbs.com/specific-herbs/how-to-cook-a-chinese-herbal-formula.html
http://www.itoen.com/preparing-tea
http://www.nourishingherbalist.com/the-difference-between-tinctures-tonics-and-teas-oh-my/
http://cazort.blogspot.com/2011/03/infusion-vs-decoction.html
http://theherbarium.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/infusions-decoctions/
http://blog.chestnutherbs.com/herbal-infusions-and-decoctions-preparing-medicinal-teas
http://www.herbalextractsplus.com/teas-herbal.html
http://www.totalwellnesscentre.ca/cookingherbs.html
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/tea-pot.html
http://www.sacredlotus.com/go/chinese-formulas/get/decoction-prepare-chinese-herb-formula
http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy_tea.php
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Decoction
http://www.anniesremedy.com/chart_remedy_decoction.php
http://coffeetea.about.com/od/glossaryofterms/g/Decoction.htm
http://mountainroseblog.com/medicine-making-basics-herbal-infusions/
http://pkacupuncture.com/patient-resources/how-to-make-an-herbal-decoction/
http://www.superfoods-for-superhealth.com/herbal-tea-preparation.html
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Cookbook:A_Nice_Cup_of_Tea
http://www.thefragrantleaf.com/basic-tea-brewing-and-storage
http://www.samovartea.com/how-to-make-cold-brewed-teas/
http://www.grianherbs.com/how/making-tea
http://www.livingherbaltea.com/how-to-cold-steep-herbal-tea/
http://en.heilkraeuter.net/recipes/cold-infusions.htm
http://plants-whisper-yoga.blogspot.com/2012/08/infusing-with-luminaries-making-sun-and.html
http://movelikeagardener.com/how-to-prepare-plant-medicines/
http://backwaterbotanics.wordpress.com/2014/01/14/infusions-and-decoctions/
http://unstuff.blogspot.com/2011/07/moon-teas.html
http://unstuff.blogspot.com/2011/07/sun-teas.html
http://www.greatnorthernprepper.com/solarlunar-herbal-infusions/
http://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/eat-right-drink-well-stress-less-stress-reducing-foods-herbal-supplements-and-teas/
http://www.theteatalk.com/health-benefits-of-herbal-tea.html
Top

How To Protect HDMI Inputs From Being Toasted By Lightning

Protect HDMI Inputs


So you have a super duper Home Theatre system complete with a jiffy HD Projector and a top-of-the-line AV Receiver linked by a 50-foot (15-metre) HDMI cable that snakes overhead in the ceiling. One end is connected to the HDMI input port of your overhead HD Projector while the other end is connected to the HDMI output port of your AV Receiver across the room.

What happens when there is a severe thunderstorm and there is one or more lightning strikes nearby? Does your system go on the blink? If yes, then you share the same bad experience as I have. The close proximity lightning strike has induced a large voltage spike  in your long HDMI cable that completely toasts your HDMI ports. If you’re “lucky” then maybe only either the Projector’s or the AV Receiver’s  HDMI port gets toasted. More likely, both will be zapped.

After that has happened to me 3 times in as many years, I decided to be proactive as I was getting embarrassed submitting my home insurance claim every year. Not to mention the inconvenience of the downtime pending repairs. I installed my solution early this year and having survived 2 severe thunderstorms since the installation, I am confident this is a viable solution to protect HDMI inputs from being toasted by lightning-induced spikes in the long HDMI cable of a home theater system. Read on.

hdmi-switch protect HDMI inputsThe solution calls for two HDMI Switches. I searched for a simple 2-to-1 HDMI Switch but the simplest I found is this 3-to-1 HDMI Switch. I wanted a mechanical switch but finally settled for this electronic switch because it has a remote. This makes the switching convenient when the switch is mounted at the Projector, ceiling-high.

AV-receiver-hdmi-switch protect HDMI inputsInstall one of the HDMI Switches to the HDMI Ouput of the AV Receiver. In my case, I connected Port 3 of the switch to the AV Receiver’s HDMI Output. The switch’s output port is then connected to the long HDMI cable. The other end of the HDMI Cable connects to Port 3 of the second HDMI Switch mounted projector-hdmi-switch protect HDMI inputsat the overhead Projector. The output port of this switch connects to Projector’s HDMI Input port. That’s it. When the system is on, I use the remote to switch to Port 3 of both switches. When I have finished viewing, I switch to the un-used Port 1 of both switches, before shutting down the system.

The cost? Only RM80.00 (USD24.00) for each HDMI Switch.  I reckon that in the event of a really bad lightning strike, it’ll be a USD24 fuse. But so far, neither switch has failed.

Does this help you? Share your experiences here.

Update 10-Nov-2014

Last night there was no video output from my Projector. The bulb was OK but there was no display. A quick change of the HDMI input port from HDMI 1 to HDMI 2 was to no avail. A quick visual check showed that the light on the HDMI switch at the Projector went out, like there was no signal reaching it from my AV receiver. Checked the HDMI output from the AV receiver; there was output when connected directly to the TV. It appeared as if either one or both of the HDMI switches were toasted, but when swappped out to test each at the AV receiver end showed both were OK. Horrors! Could it be that my projector’s HDMI ports are both dead? I refused to believe that; if anything, the HDMI switch should be toasted first. I am confident of that. That left one long shot to try out. Maybe the signal from the AV receiver had somehow degraded and was a trifle bit too low at the Projector end?   Luckily I have a HDMI repeater. I connected the HDMI repeater to the Projector end of the long HDMI cable before connecting to the HDMI switch. Voila! Happiness! Problem solved.

How To Ensure Untangled Storage Of Cables

I first saw this tip at http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html   by Brian Lee. It sure looked neat and I thought that I’ll attempt my version of it and document the effort here.

tissuecores8601.  Start by collecting the cylindrical cores  of  used tissue rolls.

2.  At the same time, look for a suitable box. I recommend a box that is about 1-1/2 times deeper than the height of the cylindrical core.

threecores8603.   Stick the cylindrical cores together in a row as shown here.

 

 

 

coresinbox860

 

4.  Mount them in the box. Voila! A really neat cable storage box.

Now go and finish off the additional rows.

 

 

finishedrow860* Warning!
Your addiction with this project may result in an excessive consumption of tissue rolls.