Herbal Infusion: How to Prepare and Use Therapeutically
The terms herbal infusion is typically used interchangeably to refer to a simple cup of herbal tea.
The two terms are in fact quite different as a properly prepared herbal infusion is much more potent and easily absorbed than plain herbal tea.
If you plan to use herbs therapeutically as in use of nettle tea during pregnancy to tone the uterus and prepare for natural childbirth, it is best to prepare herbal infusions instead of herbal tea.
The ease of assimilation and increased potency of herbal infusions is due to careful preparation which involves boiling of the water and steeping of the herbs for anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on the type of plant matter used.
The boiling of the water releases any dissolved gases from the water into the air which are not reabsorbed by the water due to the tight fitting lid on the steeping jar. These dissolved gases can interfere with the rapid and complete assimilation of the nutrients released into the water by the herbs as they steep in the cooling water.
This boiling of water to release any dissolved gases and then cooling of the water in a glass jar with a tight lid to restrict the gases from redissolving back into the water is referred to as the “wonder water” effect.
Using the wonder water principle, how should herbal infusions be properly prepared?
Very easily as it turns out.
Preparing Herbal Infusions
Roots and Bark
If making an herbal infusion using the roots or bark of a plant, use one ounce of plant matter per pint of water to be used.
Place the correct amount of plant matter at the bottom of a glass mason jar and fill to the top with boiling water. Screw the lid on tightly and leave at room temperature for 8 hours.
Use one ounce of dried leaves per quart of water. Place the leaves in a quart mason jar and fill to the top with boiling water. Tightly screw on the lid and leave at room temperature for 4 hours.
Flowers and Seeds
One ounce of flowers per quart of water should be steeped in boiling water as it cools in a mason jar with a tight fitting lid for no more than 2 hours.
One ounce of seeds are steeped in a pint of boiling water, again with a tight fitting lid on a mason jar and only for 30 minutes.
Herbal Infusion Dosage and Storage
Before making your infusion, be sure your dried herbs are of proper potency. This article on storing bulk herbs and loose teas outlines how to preserve your precious plant matter!
Once the herbs have steeped for the proper amount of time, strain out the plant matter and drink 2 cups per day if you weigh between 125 – 150 lbs until the infusion is used up.
Add an additional one half cup per day for every 30-40 lbs additional weight. Similarly, if you weigh less than 125 lbs, reduce dosage by one quarter cup for every 15-20 lbs.
Herbal infusions spoil rapidly so it is best to make and use them up as soon as possible. Store unused portions in the refrigerator for no more than a day and then prepare a fresh batch. You also have the option of freezing them for later use.