Making Herbal Infusions
There are many ways to extract the healing elements of medicinal herbs. For thousands of years, women & men have made teas, ointments, syrups and extracts to obtain the curative benefits found in botanicals. Each method works differently and knowing the proper method for self-use forms an important foundation.
An Herbal infusion is a very popular method of extraction because it works well for most ingestible herbs. Infusions require hot water to pull the herbal constituents out and is an all-around simple method.
If you have ever brewed a cup of tea, you have made an infusion. It is the easiest, most commonly practiced method and works wonderfully for fragile parts of the plant like leaves and flowers. Infusions may serve as relaxants, stimulants, or tonics and may be ingested both hot or cold. Infusions can be prepared with a single herb or a combination of herbs to create a synergistic blend. Infusions should be refrigerated if not consumed hot and tossed out after 24 hours.
To create your infusion, set aside the herb(s) you have chosen and research each herb’s recommended dosage. Roots, bark, & rhizomes require a more intense extraction process and are not suitable for infusions so be sure that your herbal selection reflects that.
Herbalists may adhere to a standard quantity of dosing which works well for most herbs. Approximately 2 to 3 grams of dried herbs or 4 to 6 grams of fresh herbs per cup of water up to three times daily. Again, it is important to research the dosing quantity of each herb you use. If you are using multiple herbs, altogether they should equal 2 to 3 grams when combined. Some herbs to begin with are:
German Chamomile – 2 g dries leaf per cup of water once before bed to serve as a relaxant
St. John’s Wort – 1 ½ g of dried flowers per cup of water once daily to serve as a digestive tonic
Lavender – 2 g of dried bud per cup of water once daily to serve as a relaxant
Lemon Balm – ½ g of dried leaf per cup of water up to three times daily to serve as antiviral herb
A tea cup with a strainer is convenient for individual doses. A pot of tea may be used by doubling or tripling the recipe. Placing your dried herbs in a strainer, pour your freshly boiled water over the herbs and cover to let steep. Herbs should steep for no less than 15 minutes and no more than 25 minutes. Once your steeping time is finished, your infusion is ready to drink.
Keep in mind that teas are made with actual tea (camellia Sinensis) whereas an infusion involves the extraction of many different herbs. Possibly the sharpest distinction between the two their is taste. Tea is naturally fragrant and taste is usually a key factor in creating tea blends, whereas infusions may include multiple distasteful herbs and serve more so as a medicinal brew.
Following these simple guidelines and implementing the use of infusions can greatly increase overall wellbeing, strength and longevity.