Herbs and Their Uses: Making an Infusion

The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and the cause and prevention of disease.
Thomas Edison

Herbs; you can drink them, inhale them, or even use them topically in a compress.

Here at NC, we love to harness the healing potential from botanicals.

Creating an infusion is simple and easy to do – much like making a cup of tea.

Simply pour boiling water over the herbs and leave them to be steep, so you can begin to unlock their valuable properties.

Making a medicinal infusion

When considering types of herbs and their uses, chopped, crushed, powdered, or bruised herbs will float to the top and infuse unevenly.

Therefore, we recommend crumbling the herbs to ordinary tea leaves’ size will help you achieve the perfect brew.

Herbs in infusions

It goes without saying that some herbs are powerful. Dilute your infusion by simply adding more water or juice, and add an infusion of honey.

Certain leaves do contain volatile oils such as Mentha Piperita; we recommend that if you are using these herbs, infuse them for less time, whilst with tougher materials like gingko leaves, you can infuse these for up to 4 hours for maximum benefit.

Getting the quantities right

The British Pharmacopeia (1914), gives a measurement of one oz. to one pint of water, for a hot medicinal infusion

  • if you are considering making a large compress, for instance, try adding 60g fresh herbs to 600ml boiling water; or one part water to ten parts water. This is a large amount, yielding more than three 250 ml cups, but it’s a great way to prepare infusions for external use
  • as a rule of thumb, the longer you allow your herbs to be steep, the stronger the infusion will be
  • work with three hours as a maximum time, to extract the herb’s potent properties fully, and fifteen minutes as a minimum

It is important to note that you should keep your herbs really well covered – this will help preserve any volatile oils within the plant. Once infused, strain off the water and you are ready to use.

Cold infusions

For best results, follow the instructions below:

  • chop the herbs, then place them into a glass preserving jar
  • next, crush them with a wooden spoon before adding water
  • cover the jar and give it a good shake
  • leave to soak for anywhere between 6 to 12 hours; ideally, the longer, the better

Cold water herbal infusions obviously take longer than hot water infusions; however, it is a beneficial way of getting the most out of your delicate herbs.

Only use glass or stainless steel pots – avoid using aluminium or Teflon, which can leak into the infusion and potentially poison it.

As you can see, herbal infusions are fun and really versatile; if you want to make a brew, check out our article on herbal tea recipes.

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