Several years ago, a friend of mine talked to me about the herb called red raspberry leaf. I had already known little about herbs and regularly drank herbal tea, but mainly the usual suspects like chamomile, peppermint, etc.
In addition to smelling and tasting great, herbs are a valuable tool to assist you in reaching optimal health. They can be helpful in boosting your immune system, easing digestion and promoting healing. However, it’s important to remember that some people should avoid certain herbs (e.g. if trying to conceive, during pregnancy or if certain medical conditions are present) and not all herbs should be infused.
Fast forward to today and I have a bunch of herbs filling up cupboards in my kitchen and bins in my storage room. My herbal heroine is Susun Weed and I’ve collected all of her books. She also introduced me to infusions:
“An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage.”
What is the difference between an herbal tea and infusion? An herbal tea is steeped for a short period of time and usually consumed for enjoyment or to provide some relief during a minor illness. On the other hand, an herbal infusion is steeped much longer, uses more of the herb, and provides your body with more vitamins and minerals. I drink teas for taste and infusions for nutrition.
I like to steep my infusions before I go to bed and consume them the next day. I put about a 1/4 cup of herb (depending on the herb) in a mason jar, fill with hot water and cover with the lid. Some of my favourite herbal infusions include: nettle, oatstraw, red clover and red raspberry leaf.
My goal is to one day know enough about herbs to harvest the locally available ones myself. I know we have stinging nettle around here… I’d love to gather some to make soup and dry some for infusions 🙂