Health & Beauty Recipes > Glossary

A glossary of terms used:


Although all the ingredients in these beauty recipes are natural, remember that it is still possible to be allergic to anything applied to the skin. DO NOT USE ANYTHING NUT BASED ON YOUR SKIN IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY. To test other ingredients make up a very small amount of the recipe you intend to use. Wash and gently dry a small patch of skin inside your elbow. Apply a little of the mix to the skin and leave for 48 hours. If you experience any redness or swelling DO NOT USE THE BEAUTY RECIPE AT ALL.

We strongly recommend that you do your own research before using any of the ingredients in these recipes since some ingredients should be avoided by certain groups of people. Mountain Rose Herbs' website has a wealth of information on herbs, their uses and possible side effects. Many essential oils and herbs should always be avoided by pregnant/nursing ladies. Always check with a qualified health advisor if in doubt.

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs offers a wide range of dried herbs and spices and essential oils.


An infusion is made by adding boiling water to leaves, bark, seeds or flowers. The usual proportion is 1 pint of boiling water to 1oz of leaves etc.
The infusion should be made in an earthenware, glass (be careful with the boiling water), or china jug or bowl.
Once the boiling water has been poured over the organic matter leave to infuse for 15 minutes.
Strain before using.


This form of herbal preparation is achieved by soaking the chosen ingredient in alcohol, wine or vinegar for a specific length of time. The time is usually given in the recipe.


A tisane is basically a weak infusion. The leaf etc content is halved to ┬Żoz and the boiling water is kept to the same amount of 1 pint. It is prepared in exactly the same way as an infusion except that the steeping time can be between 5 and 15 minutes according to the strength required.


When the more fibrous parts of plants are used in herbal preparations i.e. the bark or roots boiling is often necessary. The bark etc is immersed in cold water (quantities vary) and then the ingredients are boiled for about 30 minutes. The mixture is then allowed to cool and is strained for use.


To make an ointment the herbs are prepared as for an infusion or decoction. Usually however the strength is increased.
The base for an ointment is either petroleum jelly, lard, solid vegetable oil or anhydrous lanolin.


A poultice is made by soaking gauze in a strong decoction or infusion or by layering the actual herb (such as comfrey) between sheets of hot damp gauze.