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Methods of Making Decoctions

Decoction is the earliest and most widely used drug form in China. It is easy to prepare, and it is rapid in absorption and also potent. The quality of a decoction may be affected by factors such as utensils used, quality and amount of water. 

Decoction utensils 

The best choice is the nonmetallic pots, as in coring ware and porcelain.  Stainless steel and enamel pots can be used too.  Iron, copper and aluminium pots are forbidden.


It is better to use pure and fresh tap water or well water, which meets the drinking quality. 

Amount of Water
The optimal amount of water is 2 cm above the medicinal substances to be decocted after they are pressed down in a pot.
Methods of Making Decoctions
First of all, soak the substances in cold water for 20-30 minutes. Then, decoct them with the high flame to bring them to a boil and with the low flame for some time. Those to release the exterior syndrome and aromatic ingredients should be cooked for 10-15 minutes with a low flame. Minerals, shells and tonic substances should be cooked for over 30 minutes with the low flame.  Decoct the common ingredients twice and tonics three times. Each time the herbs are boiled down until about 250- 300 ml of liquid remains. Some ingredients in the same formula must be separately treated during the decocting process as their property, potency and clinical use is different. 



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