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How to Make Herbal Infusions – And Q & A
An infusion is a large quantity of herbs prepared over a long period of time. Typically, one ounce (about one cup by volume) of the dried herb is placed in a quart jar, which is then filled to the top with boiling water, covered tightly, and allowed to stand for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or so is used and refrigerated to minimize spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nutritious herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.
I make my infusions at night before bed and they are ready in the morning. I put my herbs in my pot and my water in the pot and put the pot on the stove, then brush my teeth (or sweep the floor) until the kettle whistles. I pour boiling water up to the brim of the jar, put the lid on tightly, turn off the stove and light, and go to bed. In the morning, I strain out the plant material, squeeze well, and drink the liquid. I prefer it covered with snow, as long as it doesn’t snow in the morning. I drink the infusion within 36 hours or until it goes bad. Then I use it to water my houseplants or pour it on my hair after washing, which can be put on.
My favorite herbs to infuse are nettle, oatstraw, red clover and comfrey leaf, but only one at a time. The tannins in the red clover and comfrey make my lips pucker, so when I add a bit of mint or bergamot to them, that’s enough to give the brew some flavor. A little salt in your infusion can make it taste better than honey.
Questions – and answers – about nutritional herbal infusions
Can I use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs when making my nourishing herbal infusions?
No. The herbs I use for my nourishing herbal infusions – such as nettle, oatstraw, red clover, comfrey leaf, linden flower, chickweed or mullein leaves – are more or less volatile when dried. Instead, drying frees them of minerals and other nutrients.
Can I prepare my infusion as “sun tea”?
No. It is important to pour boiling water over the dried herbs to release the minerals.
How can I make a nutritious herbal infusion for many people?
When we make a nourishing herbal infusion for 30 at the Wise Woman Center, we start by boiling 4 gallons of water in our largest pot. Then we add a pound of herbs (16 ounces in a pound and 16 quarts in 4 gallons), stirring well until the water boils again. We cover the pot well with a tight-fitting lid, turn off the fire and let it stand there overnight.
Can I make enough infusions to last a week?
No. It is better to prepare a fresh infusion every day. Once made, nutritious herbal infusions deteriorate rapidly. The perfect time to drink the infusion extends refrigeration. Refrigerated infusions are usually good for at least 24 hours, sometimes up to 72 hours, depending on several factors, including the herbs used and the room temperature during brewing.
How can you tell if your infusion is bad?
If a nutritional herbal infusion tastes funny, smells strange, and/or contains bubbles, it is no longer safe to drink.
What can you do with a damaged infusion?
All is not lost; Spoiled infusion perfectly rinses hair and makes excellent plant food.
Is the infusion safe for children?
Not only are nutritious herbal infusions safe for kids, but kids love nutritious herbal infusions. Children who drink nutritious herbal infusions instead of fruit juice are often healthier and stronger.
What’s wrong with fruit juice?
Fruit juices are really sweet: drinking them every day can increase tooth decay and obesity. They are expensive, and actually contain few nutrients for the calorie count. Nutritious herbal infusions, even sweetened with honey, have a more favorable nutrient density to calorie ratio. (Caution: Do not give honey to children under one year of age.)
Can I drink too many herbal infusions? Or eat too much seaweed?
You will be amazed at your desire for nutritious herbs once you start using them regularly. This is quite normal. Once you absorb all the minerals you need, your cravings will naturally disappear. So, no, it’s not really possible to drink too many nutritious herbal infusions or eat too much seaweed.
Is it true you don’t take supplements?
This is I haven’t taken a supplement in over 25 years. I eat a healthy whole food diet, drink nourishing herbal infusions daily, eat lots of yogurt, and make time for my weekly (for 35 years) yoga and twice weekly (for 5 years) Tai Chi classes.
How many infusions should you drink?
I drink 2-4 cups of nourishing herbal infusions a day, plus I use several tablespoons of mineral-rich herbal vinegar and lots of garlic, onions, mushrooms and seaweed on my wild salad every day.
How would you like to take your herbal infusion?
I prefer to drink my nourishing herbal infusions iced. Even if the wind is blowing and it’s snowing outside, I might prefer my comfrey hot and infused with honey. Another interesting variation I enjoy is a little salt or miso or umeboshi vinegar in the nettle infusion.
Legal disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. None of the instructions given and all herbs listed are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Individual directions and usage should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula you. All content contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or consultation. If you need medical care, contact a reputable healthcare practitioner. Empower yourself by asking for a second opinion.
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