An infusion is the simplest way to prepare the more delicate aerial parts of plants, especially leaves and flowers, for use as a medicine or as a revitalizing or relaxing drink. It is made in a similar way to tea, using either a single herb or a combination of herbs, and may be drunk hot or cold.
The medicinal value of many herbs lies chiefly in their volatile oils, which will disperse into the air if a lid is not used. This is especially important in the case of German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita). Use a teapot, or place a lid or saucer over a cup if making a small quantity. Use water that has just boiled.
Popular herbal teas, such as German chamomile, are often taken as much for their refreshing taste as for their medicinal value and can be safely consumed in quantities of up to 5 or 6 cups a day. Some herbs, however, such as yarrow (Achillea millefolium), are significantly stronger and must be taken in less frequent doses.
Other herbs, such as feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), are so strong that they are not suitable for use in infusions. Always check the recommended dosage and quantity of herb to use, as infusions have medicinal actions and can produce unwanted effects at the wrong dosage.
1 tsp (2–3 g) dried or 2 tsp (4–6 g) fresh herb (or mixture of herbs) to a cup of water (this makes 1 dose)
20 g dried herb or 30 g fresh herb (or a mixture of different herbs) to 2 cups (500 ml) of water
Take 3–4 doses (2 cups/500 ml) each day.
Store in a covered jug in a refrigerator or cool place for up to 24 hours. Warm the pot, then add the herb. Pour in water that has just boiled, replace the lid, and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain some of the infusion into a cup. A teaspoon of honey may be added if desired.
Warm the pot, then add the herb. Pour in water that has just boiled, replace the lid, and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain some of the infusion into a cup. A teaspoon of honey may be added if desired.
How to prepare
- Place the herb in the strainer of the teacup and place a strainer in the cup. Fill the cup with freshly boiled water.
- Cover the cup with the lid and infuse for 5–10 minutes before removing the tea strainer. Add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten, if desired.