BY AHNA KENNEDY
Herbal teas have been the darling of the wellness world for thousands of years. However, they are not nearly as beneficial or therapeutic as herbal infusions — which have the power to impact your overall health and wellness significantly. A cup of nettle tea, for instance, contains only 5-10 mg of calcium — while a cup of nettle infusion contains up to 500 mg of calcium.
WHAT IS AN HERBAL INFUSION?
Herbs or plant materials that are infused for an extended period of time, at least 4-10 hours, are called an ‘infusion’ or ‘tonic’. It is basically a mineral-rich extract you can make in your kitchen simply by pouring hot water over your chosen herbs and letting it steep overnight. You then strain the herbs, and the result is delicious herbal medicine! Infusions are often made by the quart, so one can make a larger amount and enjoy several cups from one batch.
BENEFITS OF AN HERBAL INFUSION PRACTICE
- Hydration on a deep, cellular level
- Increased energy, focus, and stamina
- Improved digestion
- Improved hormonal balance
- Immune system regulation
- Improved skin texture
- Improved organ function
WHAT HERBS OR PLANT MATERIALS ARE SAFE TO USE?
Here is a list of some of the herbs that are generally safe to take as a daily herbal infusion. Always remember to consult your practitioner or herbalist before taking any herbal infusions.
- Red clover
- Lime flower
- Raspberry leaf
MY TOP 5 MOST USED HERBS
- NETTLE (Urtica dioica)
- Vitamins: A, B, C, D, E, K
- Minerals: iron, potassium, magnesium, selenium, cobalt, chromium
- Rich in chlorophyll
- Strengthens the adrenals, liver, & kidneys
- Antiviral and antibacterial
- Nourishes the immune system
- OATSTRAW (Avina sativa)
- Vitamins: A, B, C
- Minerals: calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, silicon, phosphorus
- Restores the nervous system
- Moderates cholesterol
- Calms cramps and muscle spasms
- Balances the adrenal glands
- RED CLOVER (Trifolium pratense)
- Vitamins: A, B, C, E
- Minerals: Zinc, calcium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium
- Cleanses toxic heavy metals
- Heals and boosts the lymphatic system
- Helpful cancer preventative
- Supports weight loss
- RED RASPBERRY LEAF (Rubus idaeus)
- Vitamins: A, B, C
- Minerals: Potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, iron
- Rich in antioxidants & bioflavonoids
- Repairs cell damage
- Supports reproductive health
- Soothes morning sickness & nausea
- BURDOCK (Arctium lappa)
- Anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial
- Herbal cancer remedy
- Detoxifying & purifying
- Natural pain killer
- Support healthy digestion
- Controls blood sugar
- Quart-sized glass mason jar with metal lid
- Recommended fresh or dried herbal blend (1 oz or enough to fill ⅓ of the jar)
- Fine mesh bag or stainer (I prefer a nut milk bag)
- Boiling water
- Fill ⅓ of the mason jar with your chosen dried or fresh herb. It is commonly recommended to use about 1-3 tablespoons of herbs per cup of water or 1 ounce of the herb by weight per quart of water. The longer the water has contact with the herb, the more minerals it can extract from the herb or plant.
- Pour boiling water into the mason jar, and fill to the very brim.
- Screw on the lid, give it a shake and let it rest on your counter for at least 6-8 hours (overnight is easiest!)
- When done seeping, strain the plant material from the liquid, squeezing well.
- For medicinal effects, drink one quart of infusion per day, served hot or cold — and you can even use it for a base of smoothies like I do!
- It is recommended to enjoy it within 24 hours to ensure optimal nutrient content!
For those of you who are new to home herbalism, herbal infusions are a perfect way to begin nourishing your body with gentle, loving care regularly.