Herbal Infusions are the simplest way to prepare the delicate aerial parts of plants, like the leaves, flowers, buds, some berries and seeds, and other aromatic plant parts, without destroying the enzymes, vitamins, and precious essential oils that you want from the plant.
If you have ever made tea, you have basically made an infusion. Infusing herbs is the process of steeping a plant in just-boiled water, like you would black tea.
Herbal teas can be good for health, but they are mostly drank for pleasure, not healing. They are not as strong as medicinal teas and generally can be consumed 5-6 times a day. Medicinal teas use more herbs and are steeped longer, which can make bitter remedies depending on the plants you use. Medicinal teas can be tasty too, though, if you know what you are doing. Medicinal teas should be consumed in less quantities than herbal teas, and not all herbs are safe to consume this way.
Do your research on your herbs before ingesting.
Infusions can be drank hot or cold and sweetened with honey or other sweeteners to make them more palatable. Lemon is also tasty in many herbal infusions.
Some herbs, like Yarrow (Achillea millifolium), are stronger than herbs like Chamomile and must be drank less frequently. And some herbs, like Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), are so strong that they are not suitable for infusions. Always check recommendations on dosages so as not to over do it. Wrong dosages can lead to unwanted effects like diarrhea, and in severe cases, damage organs like the kidney and liver.
When making medicinal tea, it is better to make a quart, rather than one cup, because the process takes longer than infusing regular herbal teas. The infusions can be reheated if you prefer it warm. Water does not have preservative properties, so infusions do not last long, but they can be left out at room temp for about a day. If it starts smelling stale or tastes flat, brew another batch. Infusions can last 1 or 2 days in the fridge.
HOW TO MAKE A MEDICINAL INFUSION:
-Put 4-6 tbsp. of dried herb, or 6-8 tbsp. of fresh herb in a glass quart jar.
-Bring filtered or distilled water to a boil, and then pour over the herb to fill the jar. I like to run the outside of the jar under hot water first to warm it up to prevent the glass from cracking when you add the hot water.
***The medicinal value of many herbs are in the volatile oils, especially German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita), which can be lost through steam. Make sure to put a lid on jar, or somehow cover your infusion while it steeps.
-Steep 30-45 minutes. The length of steep time affects the strength.
-Strain, sweeten if desired and drink hot or cold.
Steeping some herbs for long periods of time can bring out some of the less desirable tasting parts of the plant, but honey can usually remedy that. There are some medicinal teas, however, that aren’t very good even with a little honey.
HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL TEA:
-Use 1 tsp. dried herb or 2 tsp. fresh herb to one cup of just boiled water.
-For a quart, use 4 tsp. of dried or 8 tsp. (1/6 cup) of fresh herb.
-Cover and steep 5-10 minutes.
-Strain, sweeten, and drink.
If you are cold, tea will warm you;-William Gladstone
If you are heated, it will cool you;
If you are depressed, it will cheer you;
If you are exhausted, it will calm you.
SOLAR INFUSIONS are made by using the same proportions as suggested above. Place herbs in a clear quart jar with a tight fitting lid. Fill with cold water and cap. Let sit in direct sunlight for several hours. Strain and enjoy.
LUNAR INFUSIONS are made with the same amount of herbs as listed above. Place in a clear container, fill with water, and cover with clear plastic wrap or a clear lid. You can leave uncovered if you do not have a lot of nighttime bugs, but I am in Texas, and that is a laughable notion. Position directly in the path of the moonlight for several hours. Remove before the sun comes up. Strain and enjoy. Many consider lunar infusions to be magical, and a favored drink of the fairies. That is up for you to decide.
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Emma Lee Joy