Herbal Apothecary - Infusions
Tea. It seems like a simple process yet since my training I cringe when I see people making their cups and pots of tea, or as we Herbalists call them, infusions or tisanes.
I know that I'm not alone in this, Herbalists...I'm speaking to you. And now, you'll all know the proper way to infuse your herbs to get the best results!
The short of it is this...
Cover your cup: Coving your infusion protects the volatile oils that will otherwise evaporate if your cup is left uncovered. Keep those in your cup!
Infusion time is 5-15 minutes: Letting the herbs steep will allow nutrients and medicinal constituents to properly extract. The longer it sits, the better However, when infusing herbs with a high mineral content, steeping overnight is best. Short steep times with these plants only extract between 5-10% of its minerals. Some examples of high mineral herbs can be found here.
Herb amount: 1 tsp dried herb = 3 tsp fresh herb. Amount will increase 3x when fresh herb is used due to the water content within the fresh plant
Parts best infused: Infusions are best using leaves, flowers or stems (softer parts). If using harder parts (seeds, root or bark) it's best to grind them to break down the cell walls
Shelf life: Infusions are best used immediately or stored in the refrigerator. If there are signs of fermentation or mold, the infusion should be discarded
Cold or Hot?: Some herbs prefer to be infused in cold water overnight to allow for full extraction and/or to avoid the beak down of constituents when hot water is applied. Measurements stay the same but infusion time significantly increases to 6-12 hours
Standard Hot Infusion:
1 tsp dried herb OR 3 tsp fresh
1 cup boiling water
Add herb and boiling water, cover, let steep for 5-15 minutes (depending in how strong you want your infusion to be).
NOTE: Personally, I like to add more herb so a standard infusion for me is more like 1 tbsp of dried herb to 1 cup water, steeping for 5-15 minutes. The more you play with your infusions, the more you'll know what you prefer. Just be sure to COVER YOUR INFUSION!
Standard Cold Infusion:
5 tsp dried herb OR 15 tsp fresh
1 cup warm water
Add herb and warm water in large glass jar, seal, store in refrigerator and let steep for 6-12 hours (depending in how strong you want your infusion to be).
Shake periodically to help break down the cell walls of the plant.
So now that you know how to make a proper infusion, it's time to try one of my favorite formulas...
Digestive Tea - For digestion & upset stomach
Calendula officinalis (Calendula) 5g
Mentha piperita (Peppermint) 10g
Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) 10g
Total recipe is 25g. Using the standard hot infusion amounts above, this mix will last 1 week when consuming 3 cups per day.
Use this tea as needed, especially after a meal.
Ninetta (Nina) Savino