An herbal infusion is much like herbal tea, but infusions are usually stronger. You can drink herbal infusions to relieve specific health complaints or to boost general health and wellbeing. Infusions are often used when taking medicinal herbs for a long period of time (several months).
What Are Herbal Infusions?
When making an herbal infusion, the herbs are steeped in hot water longer than when making just a cup of herb tea. When you drink herbal infusions to treat a health complaint, it is usually recommended that you drink 3 to 4 cups a day. It makes sense to prepare a large amount of the infusion to drink throughout the day.
How to Make an Herbal Infusion
You will need a glass container/jar (quart size; approximately 9.5 desiliters) with a lid. A coffee press is also convenient, but do not use the same press for coffee and for herb teas or infusions – the coffee flavor will stay in the press and affect the end result. Depending on the herb(s) you have chosen, use 4-8 tablespoons of dried herbs for a quart of water. (If using fresh herbs, you can double the amount). You can pick just one herb or a combination of herbs.
Boil enough water to fill the jar. Place the herbs in the jar and pour the boiling water over them, close the lid and leave to steep. Let the herbs steep at least 30–60 minutes, although many herbs can be left for several hours or overnight. The longer the steeping time, the stronger your infusion will be. Strain the infusion before drinking. You can store an herbal infusion in the fridge for 24-48 hours.
When an herbal infusion is used as a natural remedy for a health complaint, you would usually drink 3-4 cups a day for three months. When using the same herbs for such a long time, it is a good idea to take a couple of days’ break every two weeks.
The Difference Between an Infusion and Decoction
An herbal infusion is made by pouring hot water over herbs and leaving the herbs to steep for some time. This method is usually used for leaves and flowers. When making a decoction, the herb is placed in water, the mixture is brought to boil, and the herb is boiled in the water for some time and then steeped. This method is often used for tougher plant material, such as roots or bark.
If you don’t have a specific health complaint and just want to make an herbal infusion to boost general well-being, these common garden herbs are packed with health benefits. You can also try wild herbs, such as nettle.
Photo: Bjørn Fritsche