|Garden with Veggies|
For an infusion you will gather enough leaves and other herbal material, such as stems, flowers and buds. After cleaning your herbs you will crush or bruise them to release the volatile oils, and you will simply pour boiling water over the herbs to steep, or infuse. For a medicinal infusion it is best to allow the herbs to infuse or "steep" for at least 30 to 60 minutes, but when you are just looking for a tasty beverage you can let it infuse for 15 to 30 minutes. Herbal infusions usually taste great both warm and iced.
Some of my favorite herbal infusions are Catnip, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Basil, Sage, Lavender and Red Clover. I often pick herbs from this garden for tasty and medicinal beverages. Below is Sage in flower with Basil growing beside it. Rosemary looms in the background. Peppermint lines the back garden wall but doesn't show in this picture. It is fun to mix them up for different tastes and medicinal effects.
|A bee in the Sage|
Many people aren't aware that our culinary herbs are also medicinal. Sage infusion makes a great tea for sore throat, laryngitis and is an effective throat gargle for performers or someone giving a speech. Basil is a delightful tasting tea that fights headache as well as high blood pressure and combines very well with sweeter herbs such as Lemon Balm and Catnip. California Poppy is a mild sedative that is safe for children and goes well with Catnip, Lemon Balm and Lavender. Rosemary and Lavender infused together make a great headache relieving tea and when you need a burst of energy infuse some Peppermint for 60 minutes for a great tasting kick that will refresh and energize you.
Great herbs for decoctions are Dandelion root and Wild Cherry Bark. Your barks and roots need to be decocted to get the full medicinal dose from the tough herbal material. A decoction of Dandelion root will help to lower blood pressure, purify the blood and liver and is a great diuretic that will not leech Potassium from your system as pharmaceutical diuretics do. This is because Dandelion contains large amounts of Potassium. Wild Cherry Bark is a well known cough remedy and combines well with Licorice and Echinacea roots for a cold fighting decoction that tastes delicious.
Now that you know the difference between herbal infusions and decoctions and how to make each, which infusion or decoction will you try first?