Herbal Decoction

Updated: Aug 13, 2020

Traditional herbs in India

According to the World Health Organisation, about 70-95% of developing countries in the world rely on complementary, traditional alternative, or nonconventional medicines for health care.

India has recorded 15,000 medicinal plants from which 7,000-7,500 plants are used by the communities for curing different diseases. Basically, it is the phytochemical constituent in the herbs which lead to the desired healing effect, such as saponins, tannins, alkaloids, alkenyl phenols, flavonoids, terpenoids, phorbol esters and sesquiterpenes lactones.

Saga of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic pedagogy native to India dates back to the Vedic era. It is the science of life and longevity. Institutions across the globe have been engaged in reviving the ancient system of medicine for the past two decades. This involves natural means to alleviate the root cause by restoring balance unlike allopathic medicines designed for target receptors primarily for symptomatic relief.


Water-soluble extract by boiling medicinal parts of the plants in appropriate combinations at a controlled temperature is called Decoction, Kadha or Kwatha.

According to traditions of Ayurveda, the physician provides a handwritten recipe of the kwatha and the patient prepares the medicine at home, utilizing herbs procured locally. 

However, this tradition virtually disappeared ever since the establishment of Aryavaidya Sala Kottakkal in Kerala, 1902 and the advent of commercially manufactured traditional medicines.

Freshly made Vs commercially manufactured decoction

After decades of research, these herbal remedies were successfully manufactured and sold by extracting and preserving. This involves manhandling and certain agents to retain their properties. For instance, the use of Sodium benzoate primarily as an anti-mycotic agent in liquid pharmaceutical products. As benzene is a carcinogen component, the high levels of sodium benzoate found in the samples tested in the present study are alarming.

More about Decoction

It is amongst the five subtilized medicines of Vedic scriptures. Various studies on d