How to Make an Infusion
One of the most common methods for herb use you’ll see today is infusions. They are similar to tea, and many herbalists use the term interchangeably, but they are not the same. They are the same in that they both use water and steeping the herb for a set amount of time to extract the active chemicals out of a plant. The difference lies in the strength of the end product. Teas are much weaker and can be easily sipped on as a beverage. Infusions are a much more concentrated medicine.
Infusions can be made with both hot and cold water.
A standard recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 rounded teaspoon (1/2 to 1 ounce) of dried herb. Pour boiling water (one cup water per teaspoon of herb) over the herb and steep for fifteen to twenty minutes. Strain the mixture, saving the water. Can be drunk warm or when cooled if desired. This method is usually used for leaves and flower to make instant medicine for drinking. The parts of the plant that are harder like bark, root, seeds, resin, bruised nuts, seeds, and buds can be used in infusions if they are powdered so they are then receptive to steeping in boiling water.
Steep the herb in cold water or cold milk for several hours. Wet, mashed herbs can be used internally as a drink or as poultices on the body.
Infusions do not have a long shelf life. They should be made as soon as they are needed. Making the infusion can be a healing process as well. While the infusion is steeping, inhale the steamy warm vapors. If you desire, tent a towel over your head to trap more steam to get a more concentrated steam treatment. This can act as a decongestant and prepare your body to receive the medicine you are creating. As you inhale the vapors, visualize your body receiving the medicine and your body healing. Studies show that such meditative visualization stimulate the immune system to fight many diseases more effectively.
The main problem with infusions is their taste. Most healing herbs do not taste very good and are quite bitter. This is nature’s way of discouraging overdose, but if you can’t swallow your medicine, it does not good. To help make your medicine a bit more palatable, mix in sugar, honey, stevia, milk, lemon, herbal drinks, whatever tastes you think will help you get it down. If you still can’t manage, try another method instead. Practice with infusions does make it easier as you become more accustomed.