Unlike decoctions, an herbal infusion is a simple process in which herbs are made to leach their vital elements into oil or boiling water. You can use both dried and fresh herbs to make infusions and you’ll need to use about 2 to 4 teaspoons of herbs depending on their moisture. Once these herbs are immersed in water or oil, leave it for about 15 minutes and later strain the mix to get a clear solution. The time that you provide for the infusion process is absolutely critical in determining the overall quality of the product.
Over-infusion results in bitter and sour tasting infusions. Once you leach the absolute components from the herb, make sure that the infusion is used in other herbal formula’s that need short term results.
Short term infusions are those preparations that need to be used within a specified time, while long tern infusions can be used for a longer duration of a week or two. When you infuse vital components in an oil, the constituents therein remain viable for more than a year. Long term infused oils are almost like essential oils except for their stability; all essential oils are highly volatile and unstable, while long term infused oils are quit stable and less volatile. Long term infused oils are valued for their excellent colors, concentration and compatibility factors.
It is still unclear when infusions were first made by humans, but the first recorded use of long term infused oils is during the late 10th century by Persians. Today, many people around the world make infusions in their own homes due to its simplicity. However the available research is still scanty as they can be patented by any authorities.
Most common home made infusions are very simple to make and very easy to understand. Though oil infusions are quite useful in their quality, they are difficult to make and one can’t achieve the desired qualities in them. However, water infusions are quite easy to prepare and you may use such preparations on an immediate-need basis.
Here are some simple steps that can help you create your own herbal infusions:
Infusion process can be typically used for very delicate herbs, leaves and fresh tender plants. Making a cup of infusion is just like making a cup of hot tea; boiling water is slowly poured over chosen herbs (including combination of herbs) and made to leach their components for about 15 minutes. You can make infusions in a tea cup directly by pouring water on the herbs or use a pot of boiling water in which herbs can be sprinkled.
You can also buy some empty tea bags that can be filled up with the herbs and sealed with stitching. It is always better to use a ceramic pot to prepare infusions as the quality of the infusion will always be better. Make sure that you stir the mixture with smooth movements. As you simmer the infusion, cover the pot with a lid to preserve all the unstable factors. You may wish to balance the ratio of herbs and water/oil based on the overall quality of the herb.
If you’re buying powdered herb from a store, make sure that you mix the powder in the water before bringing the mixture to full boiling point. If you are planning to use fresh cut herbs, strain the infusion with a fine sieve to separate out only the infusion part. It is better to prepare infusions only when you require them and throw away the extra water infusions after using the mixture. You can use two to three cups of infusion at a time after warming up the infusion under low heat. However, infusions made in oils can’t be consumed internally as they are quite strong and pungent.