Herbal infusions are a convenient way to enjoy the oils and tastes of your favorite herbs.
An infusion is a drink made by brewing ingredients like spices, roots, or herbs in water to draw out its aromas and medicinal value.
For the health-conscious, infusions provide a more natural way to take in herbs in comparison with pills.
For many others, herbal infusions are a way to enjoy the flavor of various plants. Want to learn more about herbal infusions and how to make them?
Whether you want to nourish your body or simply want to make a delicious beverage, you’ll find some useful information below.
What Can Herbal Infusions Be Used for?
You probably know about herbal infusion tea which is commonly consumed for its health benefits.
But there are other wonderful ways you can use herbal infusions. They are excellent for making homemade cosmetics, fertilizers, and repellents.
A garlic and cayenne pepper infusion works well to prevent rabbits from going near your plants.
Medicinal Benefits of Herbal Infusions
As mentioned, herbal infusions are often consumed for their medicinal properties.
Aside from the minerals, vitamins, and other elements they release, there are several long and short-term benefits to the body.
Some of these herbs widely used to make infusions contain medicinal properties:
- Chamomile: Can help to alleviate anxiety and relieve mouth sores
- Mint: Can be used to ease an upset stomach and prevent nausea
- Lavender: Has the potential to clear acne and accelerate the healing of skin wounds
- Thyme: Known for its antiseptic properties and can be useful in clearing bad breath
- Nettle: Has the potential to alleviate joint pain
- Hibiscus: Known for its abilities to reduce high blood pressure and boost digestion
And the list goes on! It’s important to note that overconsuming certain herbs can harm your body instead.
The wrong combination of herbs is also dangerous. To avoid any health issues, consult your doctor before consuming any infusions.
Making Hot Herbal Infusions
There are several ways to make herbal infusions and the equipment required varies according to what you intend to make.
If you’re looking to make hot water-based herbal infusions, you’ll need the following:
- A cup of boiling water
- A glass container with a tight lid
- Dried herbs (1 tablespoon)
Making a herbal infusion is quite similar to the process of brewing tea. 1 cup of water is typically used for every 1-2 tablespoons of dry herbs.
If you want to create a larger infusion, increase the amounts of herbs and water proportionally.
However, it’s advisable to start with a modest amount of any herb on your first infusion to prevent wasting it if you don’t like it.
It’s also important to keep the jar covered during the entire process to contain the steam.
The heat contained inside is critical for releasing the plants’ medicinal properties. Follow these steps to make your infusion:
- Put the herbs inside the glass container.
- Pour boiling water over the herbs and ensure they are completely soaked.
- Use a tight-fitting lid to cover the jar to prevent steam from escaping.
- Let the infusion soak till the water reaches room temperature or the duration stated in your recipe.
- Strain the herbs.
- Use the glass jar to store your infusion but if you want to keep it for more than 3 days, you should preserve it with high-proof alcohol.
Depending on what you’re making, you might need to soak it for longer or shorter. Generally, leaves should be infused for at least 4 hours.
Barks and roots require a long time duration of around 8 hours.
Making Cold Herbal Infusions
Cold infusions are excellent if you want to enjoy the benefits of plants containing delicate essential oils as well as mucilaginous herbs.
Rosebuds, peppermint leaf, and marshmallow root are some herbs suitable for cold infusions.
Bacterial growth can occur more quickly in this preparation as no boiling is required.
Use clean instruments, keep your infusion refrigerated if you’re not intending to drink it straight away, and throw it away within a week or earlier if you notice changes in appearance, smell, or taste.
To prepare a cold infusion, follow these steps:
- Pour cold water into a quart jar.
- Bundle 1 ounce of herb in a muslin bag or cheesecloth.
- Moisten the herb slightly.
- Put the bundle slightly below the waterline
- Drape the knotted end of the bundle over the jar’s lip
- Screw on the cap loosely to secure it
- Let it infuse overnight
Making a Decoction
Decoctions are made by simmering herbs in water to extract properties from hard plants like barks, seeds, and roots.
They have a significantly stronger flavor and are more concentrated than herbal infusions.
To prepare a decoction, use the same quantity of water and herbs as you would use for an infusion.
Crush or grind the herbs to allow a larger surface area for the herbs’ properties to be released.
To make a decoction, add cold filtered water and dried herbs into a simmering pot large enough to hold the ingredients.
Simmer over medium heat. For about half an hour, maintain the water just below boiling and let the herbs simmer until roughly half the water has evaporated.
Cover the pot with a lid to prevent aromatic oils from escaping. Once completed, strain out the herbs with a filter and let them cool.
Making Oil-based Herbal Infusions, Tinctures, and Butter
If you’re looking to make oil-based herbal infusions and extracts instead, consider using a Botanical Infuser or Butter Maker at a low heat setting.
After placing all of the ingredients in your infuser, let the infusion cycle run for a minimum of 1 hour.
Then, strain the oil using a filter bag and squeeze out as much oil as you can.
These infusers are developed for making tinctures, butter, and infused oils in the comfort of your kitchen.
They are simple to use botanical extractors that enable you to make recipes with little effort.
The machine efficiently extracts your herbs as the main ingredient of handmade delicacies, tincture drops, or infused honey.
Most botanical infuser kits come with a range of accessories that contains all you need to start preparing your infusion.
Filter bags, recipes, mold trays, and silicone oven mitts are some things you can expect to find.
For an easier way to create delicious infusions, consider investing in a good-quality herbal infusion machine.