How To Brew Herbal Tea

Herbal Teas,

Herbal tea making is just as much of an art as it is a science. Herbal infusions provide the best way to get acquainted with a new herb. You take note of the texture and color of the leaves and flowers as you measure and breathe in the aroma as the herb is unfurling in the hot water. As you relax with your cup of tea, color, taste, aroma all will signal when an herbal brew is “just right” for you.

How To Make Herbal Tea Or Infusion

An infusion is a tea made with the lighter, more delicate parts of herbs like the leaves and flowers, which release phyto-nutrients readily and quickly.

To create a wonderful cup of medicinal tea, place a heaping teaspoon of dried herb in a traditional teacup, or about 1 tablespoon of herb in a large teacup. A ‘traditional’ teacup holds about 1 cup; a ‘large’ teacup that holds about 2 cups.

Simply pour hot water (not boiling, as it can damage the phyto-nutrients) over the herbs in the cup. Stir the herbs so all herb pieces are submerged. Place a saucer over the cup to keep the steam, which holds much of the herbal essence, from escaping.

Let seep about 5 to 10 minutes, and then enjoy. If you like very hot tea, add a dash of hot water. If you don’t like the herb pieces floating in your cup, you can strain it into a fresh cup or use an infuser.

You can also make herbal tea from fresh herbs too. These teas usually have a sparkling lively essence, whereas the dry herbal teas, even made from the same herbs, have a more woodsy, nurturing, comforting flavor.

To make tea from fresh herbs, you’ll need more herb matter – try starting with 3 to 4 sprigs, ripped up or minced, and crushed in your hands (should come out to about 1-1/2 tablespoons for a ‘traditional’ teacup or 3 tablespoons for a ‘large.’) Place the herbs in the cup, pour water over, and seep. Fresh herbs take a bit longer to brew than dried herbs.

The amount of herb you use and the amount of seep time you allow are really a matter of personal preference. Your tea will develop stronger flavor and stronger medicinal value the more herb you use and the longer you seep. If you find your tea is too strong, you can easily dilute by adding more warm water.

Herbal teas are not always a hot tea. It makes a refreshing summer tea too. At our house we enjoy Hibiscus tea over ice. There is always a tea brewing or in the fridge. We make it by the half gallon in our tea maker. Check it out HERE.

Buy Herbal Teas Here

How To Make An Oil Infusion

What is herb-infused oil?

Herb-infused oil is a result of steeping dry or fresh herbs in carrier oil for several days to weeks. The plant matter is then discarded, leaving just the oil, which has been infused with the medicinal properties of the herb.

You can use easily accessible plant oil such as olive oil, sunflower seed oil, and coconut oil as your carrier oil. You can also use more expensive options such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, and argan oil for face application.

Since herbs contain a lot of medicinal properties, herbal oil can be really powerful for healing and beauty purpose.

Helpful Tips

I only use dried herbs in my oil infusions, because any water that is in the herb can grow bacterial and spoil the infusion. There’s no saving the batch, it will have to discarded.

Follow these guide lines for beautiful and useful infusion:

  1. Use good quality dried herbs for best result as they are less likely to spoil throughout the process.
  2. Always use clean and sterilized jars with tight fitting lids.
  3. Add a few drops of vitamin E to prolong the shelf life. If Vitamin E is not available, use a dark colored bottle to reduce oxidation due to sunlight.
  4. Olive oil is commonly used as it offers better resistance to oxidation and rancidity, but you can use any oil you like. But may be too heavy for face treatments.
  5. Label jars with the starting date, and the herb/oil ratio (example – 1:5 is 1 part dried herb to 5 parts oil). You can use other ratios too.
  6. Write down the dates and ingredient list right after bottling for storage. This practice is good for future reference.
Lemon Balm Oil Infusion

How To

I will be using the ration 1:5.

Fill a glass jar with dried herb to 1/5 (guessing is okay) of the jar. It will be same whatever size jar you use. If using roots or seeds, it is best to pound them first.

Pour oil to 1 inch of the top of the jar. Cap the jar. Label with date, ingredients, and ration.

You can place jar in a window out of direct sunlight, but some wish to store in a dark place. Shake every few days, but it not necessary.

Your infusion will be at its best if you let it infuse for 4-6 weeks.

Strain out herbs by pouring it through a coffee filter or muslin cloth. Pour it into a clean jar or bottle, cap, and label again with the above information. You might have the magic formula, and you’ll want to make it again.

It’s now ready to use as is as a face or body oil, hair or beard oil, bath oil, or rub for joints. But, you can use this oil to make a salve, balm, cream, etc. Check out our herbal recipes.

The Best Methods

Method 1 is above, but Methods 2 and 3 and also be used.

There are three ways to infuse your leaves.  They are:

  1. The long method – place the jar in a dark place, shake every day for 4-6 weeks (The best way, but it’s a long wait. This is the only way I infuse.)
  2. The short method – place your jar in a pot with 2 inches water, simmer water on low for an hour, replacing water as needed until properties are extracted (on low because you don’t want water droplets to form on the inside of the jar, not good). Only use this one if you’re in a hurry.
  3. Another short method – place the jar on an electric candle warmer for a few hours, stirring a few times, don’t let it get too hot. Only use this one if you’re in a hurry.

When the infusion is done, strain the warm (not hot) through cheese cloth, white cloth, or coffee filter. Your special oil is ready to use now or you can continue and make salve. If you’ve decided to use the oil, you any wish for a little scent. Sadly, very little of the lilac scent is retained in the infusion. You can add essential oil is you wish. Five drops of Lavender EO and one drop Frankincense is a great combo to each 1/4 cup of infused oil, but you can add whatever scent you choose.

How To Make Decoctions

Decoctions are preferred for harder herbs like roots, barks, and seeds, it takes longer to release the healing properties.  It’s best, but not necessary, to mash or grind the thick herb before use.

To make a decoction, you just need the following steps:

  • Use 1 tablespoon dried herb per 1 1/2 cup of cold, filtered water
  • Bring your water to a boil and add the herbs.
  • Reduce the heat as low as possible and cover
  • Simmer for 20 minutes if you’re using small pieces of the herb, but if you’re using bigger pieces, then you can simmer for up to an hour.
  • Remove from heat and strain off the herbs and serve. If you like, you can also leave them to steep even longer, up to overnight.

Teas from roots are going to be much stronger than infusions, so a typical serving size would be 1/4 cup to 1 cup, depending on what you’re using.