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How To Prepare a Herbal Infusion

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When we take herbs medicinally for their therapeutic effect in home remedies we need a way to 'extract' their medicinally active constituents. Eating the herbs as such will help, but you wont be able to consume large enough amounts to have a desirable therapeutic effect.

Infusions are a water-based extract of the active constituents of your herbs. It is the simplest and most common way of preparing a home remedy. Infusions are mostly taken internally, but they are also used in other herbal preparations such as herb baths.

Infusions can be made with fresh or dried herbs. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh herbs simply replace the dried herbs with three parts fresh herb as fresh herbs have a higher water content.

Infusions are mostly used for the upper plant parts such as flowers, leaves and green stems. Harder plant material such as bark, roots and seed are usually prepared by way of a decoction. If you do want to infuse these you will have to grind them with a pestle and mortar to break the cell walls. 'Soft' seeds such as fennel and dill, can be slightly crushed to release their aromatic volatile oils.

Infusions are usually prepared and drunk hot. The usual dosage is one cup three times daily for chronic conditions, and up to six times daily for acute ailments. 

To prepare an infusion take a china or glass teapot (do not use a metal container), which has been warmed and put one teaspoon of the herb or mixture into it for every cup of tea that you intend to make. Next pour a cup of boiling water in for every teaspoon of herb and put the lid on. Leave to steep for ten to fifteen minutes. Strain and drink hot.

If you need a stronger brew do not increase the steeping period. Rather increase the amount of herbs used.

When you want to make a combination of two or more herbs, first mix the herbs in the appropriate quantities and then use one teaspoon of the mixture per cup of boiling water.

Infusions should preferably be drunk without the addition of sweeteners. Do not add milk. If you can't stand the taste you may add just a little bit of honey.

 

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