Suppositories & Pessaries
These are classed as remedies used externally because they are not taken orally but in a sense they are taken internally in as much as they are inserted into the body; suppositories being inserted rectally (eg. For hemorrhoids) and pessaries vaginally (eg. for candidiasis).
Both are made in essentially the same way, the choice of herbs depending on the condition to be treated. They may contain extracts of herbs or the dried ground herb itself.
Of major importance in the preparation of suppositories and pessaries is the composition of the base. A good base should: remain solid at room temperature, melt at normal body temperature, be a non-irritant to the body, and be stable on storage and when combined with the herbal materials.
The bases that are commonly used are: oily ones (usually cocoa butter or ‘Theobroma oil”) and are suitable for lipid-soluble material and tannins; and water-miscible ones (usually mixtures of glycerin and gelatin) which are suitable for water-soluble substances.
While it is possible to form suppositories and pessaries by hand particularly if made with cocoa butter, it is faster and neater to use molds. These are usually stainless steel and are re-used, but plastic ones can be obtained which may also be used as the dispensing medium and makes packaging and storage easier. Before filling, the mold should be lubricated with almond oil then inverted to drain.
How to make a Suppository or Pessary:
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