Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Preparing Herbal Teas: Infusions

There are two main ways to make herbal teas; infusions and decoctions.  Today I am going to discuss my favorite way to make an infusion for nutritional or medicinal use.

Making an infusion simply means that you are using the dried leaf, flower, or stalk of an herb to make a tea (versus a decoction, which uses seeds, roots, barks, or sometimes berries).  Examples would be peppermint leaf, chamomile flowers, oat straw, elderberry flowers, lemon balm, or nettle leaf.

Infusions are easy to do and there are many ways to make them.  When I am making medicinal or nutritional infusions, I want to draw as much of the healing and nutritional properties from the herbal matter that I can.  A excellent way to do this is to make your infusion the night before you want to drink it.  I simply take the days dose of herb I want to use, place in it a quart or 6 cup canning jar, then fill it with water that has been brought to a boil.  Seal the jar and allow to stand overnight.  In the morning, drain the herbal material and your tea is ready to drink.  If you want it hot, simply heat it up.  If you like it cold, add ice or place in the refrigerator for a few hours.  Honey can be added if you want to sweeten it up.

When I brew teas in this manner, I make the entire day's dose at one time, so the tea is drunk throughout the morning and afternoon, not all at once.

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  1. I never thought about my tea or infusions too much before but of course you'll want to draw out all the goodness, which in turn takes time. Thanks for the tip. I'll keep it in mind for my next camomile and peppermint tea. I'll also get me "bang for my buck" since they'll be more goodness in my tea.

    I'm hosting whole food wednesdays over at Beyond The Peel. I'd love it if you came by to check it out and share.
    The post will go up tonight but here's the link. http://www.beyondthepeel.net/2012/01/whole-food-wednesdays-curried-lentil-soup.html
    Hope to see you!

  2. This is great information! Thank you!

  3. Great post! - gonna try with my next batch of peppermint!

  4. I found your blog through the link up at Raising Homemakers! I haven't read through any of your other posts, but I most definitely will after this comment :)

    I've only just started making herbal tea this last year. I drink Red Raspberry Leaf tea every day. I actually bought a french press just for it and it works wonderfully! I LOVE the look of mason jars though, so I may just have to pull one out for fun and make an infusion that way!

    Have you ever heard that heating up herbal tea in the microwave cancels out some of the better properties? I love my tea warm, but I heard that once and didn't want to risk getting less out of it (Oh, I forget to mention I'm drinking it for labor prep :)). But I'm honestly not sure a little heat up could make THAT much of a difference...

    1. It does affect it, I wanted to share with you an experiment we heard about and then did with the kids. One pot of grass seeds we watered with tap water and the other tap water that had been heated a few second cooled and then used. After 2 weeks the one that got tap water grew great and the one got microwaved water was not growing well, the blades were deformed and it yellowed till it died. So I am thinking heat your infusion in a little pan or tea pot instead. Good luck with your labor!

    2. I agree with Our Family. Microwaving will destroy healing properties of your tea. We do not use the microwave in our home. You might want to take a few minutes to google the effects of microwaving food - it does a lot of harm.
      I use vintage corning ware glass pots to heat up my tea. It just takes a minute or two and you still retain the healing properties of your herbs.
      Thanks so much for taking time to stop by!

  5. What a great post! :) I use a french press which makes it so much easier to strain and pour. :)

    Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday!

    ~ Kathy @ Mind Body and Sole

  6. Well that certainly sounds easy enough. I love a good herbal hot tea to wind down at night before heading for bed.

  7. I drink tea everyday and I love a good Herbal mix. I will have to try this recipe, it looks great. Thank you so much for sharing with our 1st Anniversary Party at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week end and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. I received herbal loose leaf tea as a birthday gift last year. I have been using a tea strainer but I am going to try this method! Thanks for sharing!

    Coming from the FFBH!!


  9. Thank you for coming by and sharing this with us at WHole FOod Wednesdays. I hope you have a great week.

  10. Greta info! I drank a lot of herbal tea this way in my pregnancy but not much since. It's a good reminder to pick up more tea! Visiting from fitness Friday. :)

  11. I just added your site to the blogs I'm following! I am new to blogging and love blogland for learning new things.

    When I go for my walks, I have been looking at nature in a new way, studying the leaves and medicinal properties, and what's poisonous and what's edible. I am definitely going to try this method of making tea. Can't wait for spring in order to collect wild raspberry leaves!

  12. Thank you to all who have commented! I'm glad this was a helpful post.

  13. Nice article, we make tea with milk and love it. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop.

  14. What an interesting post! I had never steeped herbal teas more than a few minutes, but I can see the benefits of making infusions! Thank you for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul hop.

  15. Thank you for the wonderful tips and insights into herbal tea infusions -- a very welcome addition to the party at Rook No. 17. Thank you for linking up!


  16. This was such great information to share. Just wanted to say thanks for linking up to my Thriving on Thursdays party last week. It's on again tomorrow (Australian time). We'd love to see what you've been up to.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

  17. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information on the Living Well Blog Hop! I hope to see you tomorrow again.

  18. Hi Jessica! I hadn't thought of allowing my herbal teas to seep like that and am giving it a try tonight. Thanks for sharing this post with us!
    I host a weekly linky and would love it if you popped over and linked this post! It would be great to introduce your blog to my readership! Seasonal Celebration Linky http://naturalmothersnetwork.com/seasonal-celebration-sunday/seasonal-celebration/ Thank you :-).Rebecca x

  19. Jessica thank you very much for placing this post at Natural Mothers Network's linky: Seasonal Celebration! You helped make Seasonal Celebration a wealth of intelligent, creative and resourceful information and it's been such a pleasure for me and many others to read through each post I am really looking forward to seeing you again Sunday evening or Monday! Rebecca x

  20. Good to know about your blog Nice article, we make tea with milk and love it. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hope.

    Herbal Tea