The Earth is mostly water.
And our profound connection with and dependence on Mother Earth is mirrored in our body which is also mostly water.
Water is the field of nourishment, receptivity, love and delight.
And through water, we can easily benefit from the magical healing and nourishing qualities of herbal medicine with the practice of simple infusions.
Infusions are incredibly easy to make, cost-effective and very profound in their effects. They also have the benefit of intimately connecting you to the sight, smell, taste and touch of the herbal through your own personal preparations. Effective herbal medicine dramatically increases through your strong and trusting relationship with the herbal!
To make a simple herbal infusion you steep an herbal in a boiled liquid (usually water) for a certain length of time.
Generally, a cup of tea is a short term infusion (usually 3-7 minutes).
But longer infusions (at least 4 hours – usually over night) also exist to draw more of the minerals, vitamins and concentrated qualities from the herbals.
- An infusion is a more gentle way to draw the healing or detoxifying qualities from the plant than a decoction (in which you boil the herbals within the liquid).
- Infusions are especially ideal for the more delicate parts of the plant, especially fresh leaves, stems, flowers, seeds and fruit.
Allowing hibiscus, fresh mint leaves and orange slices to steep for a few hours makes an excellent summer beverage and is a good example of a longer infusion.
Steeping herbals for an extended amount of time is a gentle way of releasing the therapeutic properties from the herbals.
Infusions can be made from all parts of the plant, and a general rule is that the more delicate the herb, the less time required to steep the infusion.
- Roots and Barks – steep for a minimum of 8 hrs (or overnight)
- Leaves – steep for a minimum of 4 hours (or overnight)
- Flowers – steep for a minimum of 2 hours
- Seeds and Berries – steep for a minimum of 30 minutes
Making a Simple Herbal Infusion
Directions (one cup serving)
- Add 1⁄4 cup of the dried herbal to a 250 ml glass jar.
- Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the dried herbal, filling the jar.
- Stir the ingredients and place the lid on jar to close tightly.
- Set aside the infusion and steep as per above timing instructions. (generally 4 hours to overnight for leaves).
- Strain and squeeze the liquid from the herb. You can discard the used herb or add it to your compost.
- If you suffer with cold, we recommend gently warming the infusion before drinking.
4 cup serving / use 1 cup of dried herbal and 4 cups (1 litre) of boiling water.
Leftover infusion will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 days though we prefer to make fresh daily.
TIP ➤ You can use extra herbal infusion in the Making of Your Own Herbal Oils ➤ to nourish, cleanse and tone your skin and hair.
What About that Taste?
The magic of herbal medicine begins with a subtle communication to your body through taste. But often due to years of a diet of overly processed, packaged, sweet or salty foods our refinement of taste may be compromised.
Think of it this way, sometimes you meet someone and on first impression they “don’t meet your taste”, but once you get to know them and deepen your understanding of their positive qualities, you may find them more “palatable”.
It is the same with herbs. As we work towards cultivating herbal friendships, simply observe your reactions to an herbs unique taste and try not to judge a book by it’s cover ;).
Understanding the Symptoms of Healing
The therapeutic actions of herbals can take time to slowly work their magic. And as the particular energies of each herbal work to cleanse, detox, nourish, stimulate, cool or calm, etc., it is likely you may notice changes in your temperature, digestion, elimination, sleep and skin as healing occurs.
Toxins must be given time and space to be released. If you are unsure, reduce your infusion dosage and reach out to an experienced herbal guide for support and reassurance.
How Long to Take an Infusion?
There is no standard dose as the potency of each herbal can vary based on quality, when and how it was harvested, and the effects on each individual will vary based on factors such as patient faith and receptivity, current state of imbalance, time of year and time of life stages.
Herbal medicine is personalized treatment.
Start with one cup of infusion a day and be conscious and patient. See what unfolds and trust your inner intuition and the subtle wisdom of the herbal to guide you. A trusted and experienced herbal guide in your corner is also a valuable resource of inspiration and clarity if you are new to herbal medicine or when you begin cultivating a new herbal relationship.
TIP ➤ strength of taste is usually an indication of the intensity of therapeutic action. For example, nettles have a milder earthy taste, indicating a nourishing energy which for most in good health can be taken regularly. Dandelion has a stronger bitter taste, indicating a more detoxifying energy which is better in smaller quantities or for shorter lengths of time.
Cultivating Meaningful Relationships Takes Time!
There is no right answer for how much to take and how long to take an herbal for. But as you build your sincere and conscious relationship with one herbal at a time, you’ll experience a blossoming of subtle guidance and confidence from within!
Herbal medicine is more of an intuitive art than a science of rules and regulations.
➤ Practice, observe and delight. Enjoy the exploration of herbal infusions as a meaningful aspect of cultivating herbal relationships ➤ with a curious and steadfast attitude.