Making Herbal Infusions
I recommend making infusions, not herbal teas. Herbal teas are when you steep the herbs for 3-5 minutes to enjoy the flavors of wonderful herbal plants. Infusions are when you steep the herbs for at least 3-4 hours, covered in a quart canning jar. I recommend steeping them overnight in the canning jar or the pot you boiled the water in, covered. You can strain the herbs in the AM and reheat the infusion, oh so very gently to preserve the nutrients, or enjoy at room temperature.
Making Infusions: Boil water. Measure leaf and flower herbs while water is heating. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of dried herbs per cup of water. To make a stronger medicinal infusion, use more herbs. When water is boiling shut off and add dried herbs. Cover and let steep for at least 15 minutes. I make medicinal infusions at night, let steep – covered – overnight, and strain to use in AM.
If making infusions with seeds, roots, or barks (this is actually called a decoction): chop pieces as small as you can (roots & bark, seeds stay whole or you can gently crush). When water is boiling, reduce heat to very gentle simmer. Add herb pieces, cover, and simmer very gently for 15-20 minutes. Again, I let them sit, covered, overnight and strain in the AM. Do not let this boil as it ruins the medicinal properties and nutrients in the herbal infusions medicine.
When using these hard parts of herbs it is a minimum of 1 tsp. per cup of water.
If making mixed infusions with parts that need to simmer and the leaves & flowers that do not, simmer parts first then turn off heat and add leaves / flowers and let steep, covered, overnight.
I recommend making a quart each night and sipping 1 cup, 4 times throughout the day, each day. I usually make ½ gallon to 1 gallon at a time so I do not have to make medicinal infusions every night. You can drink it cold (keep in the refrigerator) or you can gently warm. Do not over heat tea , do not boil tea, do not every make tea or re-heat tea in a microwave. Microwaves are toxic.
High Mineral tea: restores minerals to the body cells (Think bone health) that have been depleted from refined foods, toxins, stress, and life as we know it! Stinging nettles, oat straw, alfalfa leaf, red raspberry leaf, mullein leaf, and comfrey* leaf are all good for helping with restoring the body's minerals and as a bonus the tea will help with constipation (the extra fluid, from drinking the warm infusion, is dandy as well!)
Vary the herbs you use to make the tea. Use 3-4 different herbs for each batch you make. Always use nettles and either mullein or comfrey. Vary the other 2 herbs every batch.
If using mineral supportive prepared tea formulas: IF tea bags are glued shut, do not use them in bag form. To avoid steeping the glue into your tea, I suggest you open the tea bags and steep the loose herbs in a jar for 3-4 hours or overnight. Follow the infusion instructions above.
To learn more about using herbs to enhance your return to vibrant health, join my eCourse: Herbs For Natural Health: making your own herbal medicines & herbs for specific body system nourishment.
Note: When making tea out of tea leaves, black-green-white teas, you do not want to steep them for long times and certainly not over night. Generally 3-5 minutes steeping them in a closed pot or covered tea cup is enough. Longer steeping can create bitter teas. If you wish to blend your tea leaf teas with herbal infusions, it is best to make the infusions separately. After straining your tea from tea leaves, add gently re-heated herb infusions to the tea leaf teas. Mix them to the proportion you like for the taste you are looking for: 1/3 tea to 2/3 herbal infusion, 1/2 to 1/2, etc. Figure out what works for you flavorwise and perhaps caffeine wise.
Check out Shelby Connelly (Five Elements Living Acupuncture & Retreat Center in Northern NY) and I as we chat about tea and having girly fun! Making Tea in the New Kitchen at Five Elements Living
*Comfrey is a very safe herb for human consumption. Susun Weed, a internationally known herbal educator and Wise Woman Healer, wrote this post on the safety of Comfrey.