Herbal Infusion [How To]

An infusion, or tea, is one of the most powerful herbal preparations. This is because in tea form, the body does not have to work to absorb its nutritional and medicinal properties. When a herbal infusion is ingested it can be directly assimilated into the body and immediately go to work where it is needed. It is critical that every herbalist knows how to prepare a herbal infusion.

Tea vs Infusion

The terms tea and infusion are used interchangeably much of the time. I personally will use the term “tea” when I am preparing herbs that I plan to drink as a healthy addition to my diet and the term “infusion” when I am preparing herbs for use medicinally in some manner.

A herbal tea is basically a weak infusion, drank throughout the day either for the great taste or for whatever healthy qualities that particular herb can offer.

When using herbs for medicinal purposes, I will typically prepare my infusion slightly different than I would if I were simply planning to enjoy a cup of tea. For this reason I have listed the two processes separately.

Steam Distilled Water

When working with herbs, you will always want to make your infusions and other herbal preparations with steam distilled water if at all possible. Steam distilled water can be purchased at most grocery and health food stores or you can make your own at home if you wish. There are even water distillers that can be purchased for use at home.

David Christopher MH, director of the School of Natural Healing, calls steam distilled water a “hungry water” because it contains no minerals and it is able to draw out the maximum medicinal qualities from the herb with ease. When water with heavy mineral content is used, its ability to pull the nutritional and medicinal value is not as great. Minerals will also build up in the body over time.

Stainless Steel Cookware

You will want to use stainless steel cookware when creating your herbal preparations. Glass and Earthenware are also acceptable.

When aluminum or cast iron cookware is used, the distilled water will draw minerals from the cookware as well as from the herbs into your preparations and the full medicinal potential of the herb will not be utilized.

Herbal Tea

Fresh Herbs for TeaTo make a herbal infusion using the leaves or flowers of fresh herbs, start by boiling a pot of steam distilled water. As your water is heating up, use this time to get your fresh herbs ready.

Unless preparing a tea for a specific herbal formula, exact measurements are not necessary since the tea will end up being pretty much the same in the end even without perfect measurements. A good guideline is 1 ounce fresh herb to 1 cup distilled water.

Put your leaves or flowers into a cup or jar, pour the boiling water over the herb, cover and let steep. Steeping time will depend upon how strong you like your tea. Leaves should steep approximately 10 to 20 minutes, flowers will be less, and steep about 5 minutes.

The steam from the boiling distilled water is the power in the process of steeping. It is pulling the nutritional or medicinal value from your herb. For this reason it is essential to keep your tea or infusion covered during this process to ensure the oils and nutrients are pulled to their maximum extent.

When steeping is complete, strain out the leaves or flowers with a stainless steel strainer or cheesecloth, sweeten with a little honey or pure maple syrup if desired and enjoy!

Dried Herbs for TeaWhen making teas using dried herbs, the process is the same as above. A good measurement guideline is to use the proportion of 1 teaspoon dried herb to 1 cup distilled water.

Medicinal Infusions

If I am intending to use a tea for a medicinal use, I will follow all the same processes as above but I will steep my herbs in a glass jar with the lid tightly sealed. This is to be sure to keep all the steam within the jar to get the maximum medicinal value extracted out of my herbs and into my infusion.

I will generally steep the herbs longer for a stronger infusion. Depending on the formula and recipe I am using, steeping can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours.

Infusions can also be made using tinctured herbs. Depending on the herb in question, adding 10 to 30 drops tinctured herb to warmed distilled water will also make an excellent ready to use infusion. Check with a qualified herbalist for exact proportions.

Cold Infusions and Extracts Some herbs that contain volatile oils are better used as a cold infusion so as to retain their most volatile properties while extracting only small amounts of the mineral salts and bitter principles. This procedure will work best will soft plant parts such as flowers, aromatic herbs, and minced seeds, barks or roots. Examples of aromatic herbs include Lavender, Chamomile and Peppermint.

A cold extract can be made  letting the herbs steep in cold water for 8 to 12 hours. Typical proportions are 2 tablespoons herb per 1 cup water.

All herbs will begin to lose their nutritional and medicinal value when heated above approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit however, some herbs will begin to lose these qualities at lower temperatures.

When working with herbs, especially medicinally, it is always best to have a good knowledge of all the herbs before formulating any type of treatment plan.

DIY Sun Tea

Sun tea can be made by putting 1 cup herb mixture of your choice (or about 12 tea bags) into a gallon jar of unheated distilled water. Seal the jar and set it out in direct sunlight. The sun will generate enough heat to steep the herbs.

Depending on the strength you like your tea, the steeping process can take anywhere from 4-6 hours to a few days. After steeping, simply strain out the herb, sweeten if desired and your tea is ready to use.

Sun tea can make an excellent iced tea. One of my family’s favorites is sun tea made with spring dandelions. We steep the dandelions in 3/4 gallon of water and after steeping and straining, 1 quart organic apple juice is added to sweeten. The kids love the taste and I love how nutritious it is for them!

Herbal Infusion – Nature’s Perfect Solution

The Earth gives us an abundant variety of herbs to choose from, all with their own unique “super powers.” The herbal combinations that can be made into teas and infusions are almost infinite, which enables us to create teas and infusions for almost any purpose imaginable. This makes teas and infusions nature’s perfect tool.

The body can absorb and utilize herbs in infusion form so they can immediately go to work. Herbs can give us all the nutrients each part of our body craves but they can also target areas in need. This makes infusions one of the most powerful tools in a herbalist’s arsenal.

Having the knowledge to create even basic herbal teas and infusions can literally mean the difference between life and death in some situations.

Share your favorite herbal teas and infusion combinations in the comments below. Have you used herbal infusions for medicinal purposes? I would love to hear of your experiences!

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10 thoughts on “Herbal Infusion [How To]”

  1. Thanks for this detailed information about herbal tea medicine.

    Right from my childhood, I preferred using herbal tea over synthetic drugs because of the adverse effect of too many synthetic drugs. I could remember then, when I used steam along with herbal concoction to detox myself of harmful material. After steam bathing, I also drank herbal tea for its effective result. Although my dad often tells me to avoid too much herbal tea because of the lack of measurement but I know how to take normal quantities to avoid overdose.

    This information has opened my eyes to so many ways to use herbs and how to prepare them. This is very useful.

    • Hi Stella,
      I think its great you prefer to use herbs over synthetic drugs!

      Drinking certain diuretic herbal teas (ones that will induce perspiration) in conjunction with steam baths is actually a wonderful and powerful way to help detox the body as well as speed healing from various ailments.

      It is true indeed that there are some herbs that can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. It is always a good idea to have at least a basic knowledge of herbs and their uses before working with them medicinally however, for the most part herbs are much safer and can be more effective than pharmaceutical medications with proper use.

      To get the most out of your herbal steam baths, you will want to pick the herb that will be most beneficial for use depending on your desired outcome. If you would like more insight into this issue please feel free to contact me!

      Thanks, Shan

  2. I learned a lot from reading your article discussing various herbal preparations, thank you so much for sharing this information. It is difficult as a beginner to understand how infusions and fresh/dried herbs can be used for health and medicinal purposes. Your article makes the processes clearer for me.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m happy to be of help! Most people understand the concept of herbs being an aide for health and healing but they do not know how to utilize herbs. I try to provide as much information as I can so those just beginning with herbs have a foundation to build on.

      If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask away!

      Thanks, Shan

  3. Hello, I was very excited to read your article on the use of herbal tea medicine. Right from my childhood, I preferred using herbs over synthetic drugs because of the adverse effects of too many synthetic drugs. Everyone in our family prefers this.

    I can remember when I used steam along with herbal concoction to detox myself of harmful materials. After steam bathing, I also drink herbal tea for its effective results. Although my mother often tells me to avoid too much herbal tea because of the lack of measurement but I know how to take normal quantities to avoid an overdose.

    This information has opened my eyes to so many ways to use herbs and how to prepare them. Thank you very much for sharing such a beautiful article.

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences with steam baths. Herbs can be a wonderful tool for detoxing the body when used correctly.

      There are certainly some herbs that can be dangerous if consumed in high quantities. Before using herbs it is always a good idea to have knowledge of the herbs and processes and to consider any existing health issues and medications.

      I am happy to answer any questions on specific herbs, processes and uses at any time. Feel free to comment on any of the comment sections within the site or you can also send a private message to Shan@shansherbal.com at any time.

      Thanks, Shan

  4. Hello Shan,
    Very detailed article about the medicinal side of herbs. I got to know about many herbal preparations I didn’t even know existed. I’m honestly thankful to you for this and can’t wait to check out all of them. Herbal teas are always great for healing our body not only physically but also mentally.

    ‘DIY Sun Tea’ really surprised me because it’s so simple yet very powerful and I definitely want to try it out. Before reading this article I didn’t really know about infusions and now I get the point and also realize how simple procedures can make strong herbal healing products.

    Thank, you Shan! for sharing such an amazing article with us.

    • I’m happy the article was informative for you. It’s very true herbs are excellent aides for physical, mental, and even spiritual health, depending on how they are combined and utilized.

      Let me know how your sun tea turns out! My grandmother used to always have a giant jar on the back porch brewing as I was growing up so I was exposed to this tea very early on. The great thing is it’s not only simple but it’s delicious and healthy too!

      Thanks, Shan

  5. I am a pharmacist who is governed by principles that in order for an illness to be treated, one should take accurate approach and should not rely on methods that are unpolished. We have developed intricate systems of active ingredients extractions, then purification of substances, and lastly by using pharmaco-dynamics and pharmaco-kinetics principles for accurately measuring the drug’s action and how the body should eliminate the substances via excretion in a digital manner.

    But then, I am also aware that these modern knowledge that we got is “no match” to the knowledge our greatest pharmacist have which is in Heaven. God created all these things, and he created the herbs complete with nutrients for their specific purposes. With human’s creation, sometimes we err. Sometimes, too much of the acid that we have extracted can cause problems. God created leaves with balanced concentration of acidic and alkaline substances, and that made him the greatest pharmacist and physician ever.

    I understand, there are other pharmacists out there and even physicians, they would not agree to the methods shared in this article. They may recognize the power of these herbal preparations, but would not recommend them to their patients. But in me, I recognize both. Maybe it would be good if one could simultaneously use medicinal herbs and modern medicine at the same time. Two solutions for one problem.

    • I appreciate your knowledge and opinion. I am in constant awe of the balance in nature in all things. I truly believe God created a ‘cure’ for every ailment that can be found in some combination in nature if utilized in the correct fashion. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself, if given the right tools.

      That being said, technology can be an excellent tool that I think can and should be used along side nature. This is why I love the concept of Integrated Medicine.

      I am a huge advocate of self-care when and where it is appropriate but there is no substitute for the advice of a qualified trained physician when the need arises.

      Thanks so much for your input!
      Shan

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