Making Medicinal Tea - Infusions and Decoctions

A cup of tea changed my life. I was lost, confused, and searching for meaning and purpose. Then I found a cup of tea. The tea demanded that I slowwww down and be with myself. It required me to show up with full presence.

At first, I knew absolutely nothing about the medicinal properties of the herbs. The medicine was in the ritual itself of making and drinking tea. My new love for tea started with my dear home-mate and I enjoying cups of herbal tea in the evenings. It was perfect, magical, and exactly the slow down I needed.

Suddenly, I was feeling a sense of meaning and purpose. I would look into the tea pot, and the plants would speak to me. They reminded me that I am really good at seeing the magic in other people, and now it was time to see the magic in myself. They told me I am here to work with them. So many years later I am in relationship with plants and committed to sharing their magic with people. I wholeheartedly believe in the power of tea ritual to help us tune into our purpose and our medicine. In a world of computers, phones, and overload of external information, I find it valuable to create space to simply be and tune into our hearts.

I created this blog post to inspire you to incorporate medicinal herbal teas into your life. The medicine lies in the entire process, from boiling the water to washing your tea dishes. Are you ready to open up to the MAGIC?

How many herbs do I use per cup of water?

A general dosage is 1-3 teaspoons of dried herb or 1-2 tablespoons of fresh herb per 1 cup of water. In other words - use more plant material when using fresh plants and less plant material when using dried plants.

INFUSIONS

Infusions are made with lighter, delicate plant material - flowers, leaves, and fruits.

There are many vessels you can use for making infusions - mason jars, tea pots, french presses, or cooking pots. If you use a jar, make sure it is a mason jar used for canning that can handle the hot water. Do not reuse jars from the grocery store for hot tea making (unless you know they can handle high heat), as those may break when exposed to heat. Choose the method that is accessible to you. It is important to have a top/cover for your tea making device, especially if the herbs have aromatic oils. Essential oils will evaporate with the hot steam. Covering your tea will prevent the oils from escaping.

Now that you have your tea making vessel, lets make an herbal infusion!  

  1. Select your herbs and put them in your tea making vessel

  2. Bring water to a boil then turn off heat

  3. Pour hot water over the herbs 

  4. Cover with a lid

  5. Allow the herbs to infuse in the water for 15-30 minutes

  6. Strain out the herbs with a strainer (I use fine mesh)

  7. Enjoy!

Examples of infusion herbs I use: nettle leaf, rose petals, elderberries, elderflowers, oatstraw, red clover blossoms and leaf, raspberry leaf, passionflower, holy basil, rosemary, chamomile, lemon balm

DECOCTIONS  

Decoctions are made with denser, harder plant material - roots, barks, and medicinal mushrooms. You will need a cooking pot with a lid.

  1. Select your herbs.

  2. Combine water and herbs in a cooking pot on the stove. Cover with the lid.

  3. Bring water to a boil.

  4. Reduce heat to a simmer.

  5. Simmer for 30 minutes.

  6. Turn off heat

  7. Strain and enjoy!

Examples of decoction herbs I use: burdock root, dandelion root, cinnamon bark, reishi, astragalus root

COMBINING INFUSIONS AND DECOCTIONS

You may want to make tea with a combination of herbs that want to be decocted and infused. Well guess what?! Its possible. First decoct your denser herbs. Then turn off the heat, add the infusion herbs, cover, and steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain and enjoy!

MAKING MINERAL INFUSIONS

Many herbs are rich in vitamins and minerals. Some nutritive herbs you can use are nettle, oat straw, red clover, raspberry leaf, alfalfa, dandelion root, and burdock root. Minerals extract well in water, so I suggest making a water based infusion. The minerals need 4-8 hours (or overnight) to infuse into the water. Follow the same process for making infusions, but just let it infuse for 4-8 hours. My practice consists of using a quart sized mason jar, putting 3-4 tablespoons of the nutritive herb in it, filling it to the top with hot water, putting the lid on, and letting it sit overnight.  

HOW LONG DOES THE TEA LAST?

Tea will save for 2 days in the refrigerator. After that it will start growing stuff that we don't want to consume. I like to make a larger batch of tea and drink it for a couple days. I warm up the amount I am going to drink on the stove. This ensures that I am still drinking my tea when things get busy.

Hope this was helpful. Thank you for reading!

Love,
Nicole Rossi