Making: Infusions & Decoctions

Infusions

Infusions are basically a tea! Use 1 tsp of dried herb or 1 -2tsp of bruised fresh herb to one cup, pour boiling water over, cover and leave to stand for 5 to 15 minutes and then drink.

This is suitable for aerial parts of herbs.  The time depends on the herb, some herbs need a bit longer to steep, some will become bitter if kept too long.

Chamomile (L) & Nettle (R) infusion

Chamomile (L) & Nettle (R) infusion

Covering with a saucer is needed to contain the volatile oils and prevent the ‘goodness’ from evaporating.

 As it is such a convenient way to take herbs and get to know your plants, experiment for each one.

A stronger infusion can be made to create a Gargle.

Cold Infusion – a traditional preparation to utilise herbal benefits.  Steep herbs in a pint of cold water overnight , strain and drink.  This is how a spring tonic of newly sprouted dandelion leaves, nettle and cleavers would have helped ‘spring clean’ the system in a very nutritive way after a winter with few greens and veg.

Decoctions

This is more suited to the woody parts of herbs, i.e. roots and barks, where infusions would not be sufficient to extract all the therapeutic properties of the plant. 

For this you need 1tsp dried or fresh herb and a 3/4 of a pint of water placed in a pan. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, after which approx a cup of liquid should be left.  Strain and drink.

Dosages:

Traditionally, one cup of tea 3-4 times a day is taken. One cup of decoction 2-3 times per day and 1tsp tincture or vinegar in a little water 2-3 times a day. 

Children: under 1year: 1/10th adult dose,  1-6years 1/3rd dose, 6-12years ½ dose.