Nourishing Herbal Infusions.
“Food as Medicine”
Infusions are extremely nourishing. My clients who take the time to make these for themselves have the best results. I hope you’ll try them and continue them for the rest of your life!
Infusions are different than tea. Teas are typically steeped for 5-10 min. Infusions are steeped for 4-8 hours. This draws out the minerals & phytochemicals in nourishing herbs. Drinking nourishing Herbal Infusions can take the place of many supplements which need digesting, where in an infusion the nourishment is absorbed directly.
A HOW TO INFUSE
What you need.
- Quart Size Jar with cap or French Press
- 1oz Dried Herb
- 4 cups boiling water
- Strainer or cloth.
- If you don’t have a scale, then it’s typically about 1/3rd of your Quart sz jar. (But can vary dramatically per herb, I suggest a scale)
- Pinch of salt (optional).
Boil 4 cups of water. While waiting for it to boil clean mason jar in hot water.
Weigh out 1oz of dried herb in jar. Pour Boiling water over dried herbs stir, add more water till full.
Tightly cap the jar.
After 4-8 hours or overnight you’ll want to strain it (see below for specific times). You can use a linen cloth.
Drink over ice and refrigerate what is left. Some will last longer than others but 2 days in the fridge is about it.
Nettle, Oatstraw, Violet or Horsetail can be used as a hair rinse if you don’t finish it in 2 days. The rest can be poured into your compost pile. And the strained herb can also be thrown in compost pile.
Video on how to make for those who like videos.
Leaves- 1oz herb to 1quart jar of water 4-10 hours min/max infusion time.
Roots/Barks- 1oz root/bark to 1 pint jar of water 8-10 hours minimum/maximum infusion time.
Flowers- 1oz flowers to 1 quart jar of water 1 hour minimum/maximum infusion time.
Seeds/Berries- 1oz seeds/berries to 1 pint jar of water 30 minutes minimum/maximum infusion time.
2nd infusion for Linden, or Marshmallow (or any other mucilaginous herbs): Take the already used herb from the 1st infusion after straining it. Add it to a pot and pour 2 cups VERY cold water over it. Let it sit for about ½ hr. Bring it to a slow boil over med. heat. Once it’s boiling turn it off and put a lid on the pan and remove from heat. Let sit for 4 hrs then strain and enjoy. This will result in a thicker, viscous liquid. They are moistening and have different health benefits. Depending on herb.
CAUTION: Aromatic herbs. These contain volatile oils. Or plants with resins, alkaloids, and other constituents not good for the liver in large qty. They can be ok in small amounts.
HOW MUCH TO TAKE: General guidelines
- Two cups, sixteen fluid ounces of an infusion per day is the standard dose for a person weighing 125-150 pounds.
- Use one cup if you weigh 65-75 pounds.
- Half a cup for 30-40 pounds.
- A quarter cup (4 tablespoons) for 15-20 pounds.
ABOUT THE HERBS:
The 1st 4 being the most widely used/suggested by herbalists as a starting point.
NETTLE: Urtica dioica
- One of the most nourishing herbs.
- Strengthens kidneys, helps with kidney stones & can even eliminate them. Has been known to take people off dialysis.
- Tones the lungs, intestines & arteries.
- Stabilizes blood sugar, resets metabolic circuits to normalize weight.
- Lessen allergies. Can help eliminate chronic headaches.
- Eases leg cramps & other spasms.
- Strengthens the adrenals: by relieving anxiety & building focused energy. Depleted adrenals often over-react, giving rise to sudden sensations of anxiety, fear & nervousness. Gives you energy.
- Also, can help increase the quantity & quality of breast milk & increase fertility in women & men.
- NUTRIENTS: Very high in calcium, Chromium & magnesium, easily absorbed by the body. Nearly everyone necessary for human health & growth. Also high in Cobalt, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Riboflavin, Selenium, Thiamine, Vit. A, & C, Zinc.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling & Drying, nutritive, kidney/adrenal trophorestorative, adaptogen, diuretic, astringent, hemostatic, tonic.
- CAUTION: If this dries you too much, then you can add a pinch of marshmallow root or slippery elm bark. But for some it can be cooling so you add a slice or two of fresh ginger OR Fennel to the mix. Or I mix ½ and ½ with Chickweed, Violet or Cleavers.
LINDEN: Tilia cordata
- Especially great for a hot dry day because of its cooling & mucilaginous qualities.
- Great for sore throats & coughs.
- Diaphoretic so great for colds & flu. Known for shorting infectious viral conditions.
- Relaxing nervine for nervous tension, stress & panic conditions.
- Nourishing to heart especially for those with High Blood Pressure associated with arteriosclerosis & nervous tension.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling & Moistening, relaxing nervine, anti-spasmodic, relaxing diaphoretic, hypotensive, demulcent, diuretic, & mild astringent.
- NUTRIENTS: Flavonoids, glycosides. Very High in Chromium, Magnesium & Silicon. Also High in Calcium, Niacin, & Vit a.
- For reducing Cholesterol: Inflammation. After making the Linden Infusion of ½ ounce of fresh linden flowers In a quart jar. *Take strained leaves put them in a pot. Take 2 cups of cold water and cover linden and bring to a boil, turn off stove and let steep for 4 hours.
- Linden contains a mucilage. It doesn’t dissolve in hot water. It will draw the mucilage out with 2nd infusion. You can then mix it together or drink it separately. The mucilage is the anti-inflammatory.
OATSTRAW: Avena sativa
- Nourishes your nervous system. Acts as a restorative nerve tonic which is great for those who are stressed exhausted or have nervous breakdowns.
- Decreases inflammation with regular use, especially helpful for those with Crohn’s disease, lupus or other autoimmune diseases.
- Can help reduce high cholesterol.
- Increases libido.
- Strengthens bones, teeth & nails because of the calcium & silicon.
- PROPERTIES: Moist, nutritive, nervous system trophorestorative, relaxing nervine.
- CAUTIONS: In theory this doesn’t have gluten in it. Those who have Celiac’s may wish to approach with caution though.
BURDOCK ROOT: Arctium lappa
- Alterative & called a blood purifier as its high in iron & strengthens the kidneys & liver, which helps clean up the circulatory system. And gently works on the Lymphatic system.
- Helps regulate bloods sugar with its high chromium, magnesium & inulin.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling & oily demulcent. nutritive, alterative, lymphatic, anti-tumor, diuretic
- CAUTIONS: Not great for those with low blood pressure or excessive urination.
- NUTRIENTS: Very High in Chromium, Iron, Magnesium, Silicon, Thiamine. Also high in Cobalt, Phosphorus, Potassium, Vit A & Zinc.
RED CLOVER: Trifolium pratense
- Known as the anti-cancer herb in 33 different cultures. Strong alterative which promotes overall good health. Great for balancing hormones, so great for women going through Menopause as well as though wanting to increase their fertility.
- Treats whooping cough & other dry irritable coughs even tuberculosis.
- Can improve memory.
- Nourishes the skin helping to eliminate eczema & psoriasis.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling & Drying, astringent, alterative, blood thinning, antispasmodic, expectorant & anti-tumor.
- NUTRIENTS: Very High in Chromium, also high in Calcium, Magnesium, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium, Thiamine & Vit C.
- CAUTIONS: for those on blood thinners & stopped before surgery. Not recommended for Pregnant Women.
DANDELION Root: Leaf: Taraxacum off.
- Typically, I use the leaf in the spring and the Root in the fall. Combining the 2 is also great to support both elimination pathways!
- The leaf has more of an affinity for the kidneys and the root has more of an affinity for the liver.
- Roots contain inulin a prebiotic, which is very helpful for gut health.
- Leaf is one of my favorite gentle diuretics.
- The milky substance is Latex.
- CAUTIONS: those with latex sensitivities and those with gallstones.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling and drying. Nutritive, bitter liver tonic, cholagogue, diuretic
- NUTRITION: Vitamins A and B. Leaf: calcium, potassium, iron, carotenoids, coumarins. Root: potassium, calcium, phenolic acids, taraxocoside, inulin
MULLEIN leaf: Verbascum thapsus
*Great to add to the rotation in the Wintertime, for cold season.
- (Best warm with milk). ***Always strain with a cloth as to get the hairs off***
- Infusions are more for lung issues then nutrition. Great for chronic & acute respiratory conditions. Strengthens the lungs that are prone to infections. Also brings relief in acute problems like bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma & hay fever. Can also relieve lymphatic congestion & aid in musculoskeletal pain.
- PROPERTIES: Expectorant, astringent, alterative, pectoral tonic, lymphatic
- NUTRITION: Very High in Aluminum, & Iron. Also High in Calcium, Chromium, Cobalt, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Phosphorus, Silicon, Vit A&C
OTHER HERBS BASED ON YOUR NEEDS:
ALFALFA Medicago sativa:
- Promotes digestion & also contains the digestive enzyme betaine.
- Helpful for inflammation.
- Affinity for the heart. It has been shown to cause the regression of atherosclerosis.
- PROPERTIES: Cool, moist, bitter, diuretic, nutritive, alterative, anti-inflammatory
- CAUTIONS: Not to be used by people with fertility problems, those on blood thinners or during pregnancy.
- NUTRITION: High in Cobalt, Niacin, Riboflavin, Vit A&C
ASTRAGALUS ROOT Astragalus membranaceus: can be used for viruses.
CHICKWEED Stelaria media:
- Chickweed contains soapy substances, called saponins. Saponins, like soap, emulsify and increase the permeability of cellular membranes. When we consume chickweed those saponins increase our ability to absorb nutrients, especially minerals. They also dissolve and break down unwanted matter, including disease-causing bacteria, cysts, benign tumors, thickened mucus in the respiratory and digestive systems, and excess fat cells.
- Chickweed is loaded with nutrition, being high in chlorophyll, minerals — especially calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, vitamins — especially C, A (from carotenes), and B factors such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine.
COMFREY: Symphytum uplandica (knitbone or bruisewort)
- Heals scratches, cuts, bruises, broken or fractured bones, torn tendons & ligaments. That’s for external use & internally also.
- Great ally against osteoporosis because of its high calcium content that is easily absorbed into our systems.
- Great also for healing bronchial conditions & lung congestion & its demulcent & wound healing qualities are useful for gastric ulcers & colitis.
- PROPERTIES: Relaxing expectorant, demulcent, alterative, astringent, vulnerary, cell proliferant, nutritive.
- CAUTION: has pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PLAs) which can cause silent liver disease
- If you’d like to read more on the debate of this topic This is a great. Note… Herbalist’s have been using this for years with no ill effect. Most recorded ill effects were from those eating “massive” quantities of it. Nothing in a large amount is good for you. article. https://1drv.ms/b/s!AltXsMG_xPLmmnX1W7kuODfk9cQ8
- NUTRIENTS: High in, Calcium, Chromium, Manganese, Niacin, Potassium, Riboflavin, Selenium, Silicon, Vit A&C.
RED RASPBERRY: Rubus spp.
- Often used during pregnancy as it eases nausea & morning sickness. These actions help ease labor pains & facilitate births. There is also evidence that regular infusions taken during the third trimester reduce the incidence of false labor.
- Also toning for the male reproductive system as well for enuresis, spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, impotence & sterility.
- Scientifically proven to ease uterine & intestinal spasms & strengthen the uterine wall. & helpful for frequent urination.
- Strong astringent & helpful in cases of prolonged diarrhea.
- Properties: Cooling, drying, astringent, tonic, uterine tonic, hemostatic, mild alterative.
- CAUTIONS: Can be initially too drying because of its astringent affects
HAWTHORN: Crataegus spp. (leaf, berries or flowers)
- Great for congestive heart or any heart issues or just strengthening the aging heart. Good for heart palpitations also. Effective for both high & low blood pressure. Good for the emotional heart also.
- Good for kids & adults that are restless, irritable & have difficulty in focusing and autistic children.
- Chinese use the leaves & flowers for stagnant digestion associated w/ poor lipid metabolism & heartburn & indigestion.
- PROPERTIES: Slightly cooling & drying, cardiac trophorestorative, relaxing nervine, digestant, astringent, diuretic, antioxidant.
- NUTRIENTS: known to be high in antioxidants, chromium, selenium, choline & vitamin C
HIBISCUS: High in Vit C.
KAVA KAVA ROOT: Sleep inducing sedative. Or can be energizing. It works both ways.
MARSHMALLOW Althaea officinalis:
- Promotes a systemic moistening of tissues throughout the body. Shows an affinity for the Kidneysfor problems such as cystitis, kidney stones, & UTI’s.
- Moistens dry irritated lungs.
- Moistening to the digestive tract
ROSE HIPS: Rosa spp
- Cooling & slightly moistening & can be added quite abundantly to nourishing herbal infusions.
- NUTRITION: Known for their high Vit C content. Also includes Niacin, Vit A. Riboflavin, & Selenium.
VIOLET leaf: Viola spp (heart-ease)
- Eases pain externally & internally for pain associated with arthritis & headaches.
- Used for the physical & emotional heart for thousands of years.
- Rutin: High in it which strengthens capillaries, prevents platelet aggregation & is anti-inflammatory.
- Aids lungs in times of infections especially with signs of heat such as thick yellow mucous & congestions. It can also sooth the irritated throat. Potent lymphatic mover & supports overloaded lymph glands that have become swollen.
- PROPERTIES: Cooling & moistening, expectorant, nutritive, alterative, pectoral tonic, lymphatic, demulcent, anodyne antineoplastic.
- NUTIRENTS: High amounts of vitamin C & A
SUPPORTING HERBS *To use in smaller quantities.
- To aid in the flavor of the infusions.
- To better formulate the herbs to your individual needs or constitution
- To increase nourishment.
GINGER Zingiber officinalis:
- Spicy & Warming: Can improve the flavor & give warmth to a cold person.
- Add a couple slices to the infusion *after done infusing.
HORSETAIL Equisetum arvense:
- Just a pinch or so to infusions because it is so high in silicon.
- CAUTION: Don’t take during pregnancy.
- NUTRITION: High in silicon, calcium & magnesium.
KELP: Nereocystis luetkeana
- High in iodine & trace minerals. Nice to add a slice to an infusion. Too much Kelp can cause an iodine overdose
PEPPERMINT Mentha piperita)
- PINCH of peppermint is a good regular addition for flavor.
- Can also help digestive complaints including nausea, flatulence, heartburn & abdominal cramping.
SLIPPERY ELM Ulmus fulva. U. rubra:
- High in mucilage. For drying herbs (of which most of these are, especially for the Nettle, Red raspberry, or Red Clover) You can add a pinch to moisten your infusions or if you have a very dry constitution.
TIPS FOR YOUR HERBAL INFUSIONS:
- Mix dried with moistening herbs to balance them out.
- These can be kept for 2 days in the fridge. If you don’t drink you can water your plants with them. The flavor will get a lot stronger the longer it sits.
- I find that if you mix the herbs people enjoy the flavors better. So, if you like the flavor of 1 herb and dislike the flavor of another herb combine them and it will taste much better.
- I like to add dried berries to my infusions for their nutritional content also. The berries I use are Goji, Bilberry, Aronia berries, and the Hawthorn berries. I usually add ½ oz of berries to my 1oz infusion.
- I prefer my infusions cold! Most people do. Some prefer warm so try them both ways.
- Start your family out with 1oz shots and give them more as you go along. This is how I got my family drinking them. 😊 I’m a bit of a pusher though so I don’t give my family much choice…. I just bug them till they drink it. Now it’s a daily part of life. Take your herbal shots. 😊 My family is up to 10 oz a day (2 – 5 oz shots a day) that they can just quickly knock back. I can’t get them to just drink the teas for pleasure, but I can get them to do this. They might whine but the do feel better when they take them and have noticed so don’t whine too much. 😊 Babies love the flavor so start them young and they will never know any different. If they see you drinking, they just might want some anyway!
VIEW THE GOOGLE LINK HERE FOR NUTRIENT INFORMATION ON A LOT OF THESE HERBS
RESOURCES: Herbmentor.com, learningherbs.com, Rosalee de la Foret, Susun Weed., & Kim Gallagher.