Herbal Infusions 101: A Guide to Tea Preparation
By Angela Willard, Cl.H
Angela Willard is a Clinical Herbalist and Co-Founder at Harmonic Arts. She’s passionate about growing herbs, herbal consulting, and sharing her love and knowledge of plants. Angela finds balance between nurturing Harmonic Arts' vision and raising a young family. Follow Angela on Instagram @wild_angelica and @seaweed_gardens
The ritual of tea goes beyond the act of sipping a tasty brew. The simplicity of letting go and indulging in a warm cup can be a much deeper experience.
Tea preparation is an important start to this grounding ritual. Setting out your kettle and favourite tea blend signals a moment of peace and retreat from the fullness of the day.
Passed through ancient history as a key to good health, herbal tea infusions are an excellent way to reap the benefits of medicinal herbs. Infusions can be prepared in a variety of ways depending on your mood and choice of herbs.
A Guide to Basic Herbal Infusion Methods
Not sure where to begin? When preparing an herbal infusion, ask yourself what your body needs in the moment. Are you needing deep nutritional value, an immune boost, or simply a mindful moment? This will help you choose the best infusion method, based on personal preference, nutritional goals, or what herbs you are using.
There are three basic tea preparation methods we recommend to make water-based herbal infusions: Simple, Medicinal and Solar.
This is a quick, classic way to infuse delicate herbs such as leaves and flowers in boiled water. Steep for 5 minutes, or to your preferred taste. Less time will yield a milder brew and steeping over 5 minutes can strengthen the flavour and draw out more water-soluble minerals and nutrients. Once steeped, strain and serve in your favourite teacup and enjoy a moment of peace.
Ideal Herbs for Simple Infusions:
Delicate, light-tasting leaves and flowers are best for this method, such as Chamomile, Rose, or Passionflower. Both floral and uplifting, our Dream and Moontime Artisan Teas are best suited for this type of herbal infusion.
How to Make:
- Scoop 1-2 tablespoons of your tea blend, dried leaves or flowers of choice into a tea strainer, and place into a teapot or mug.
- Heat water and bring to a boil.
- Once boiled, pour water over the herbs and cover to contain any volatile oils. Steep for 3-10 minutes, depending on preference.
Strain and pour into your favourite tea cup!
Robust plant parts like berries and roots require cooking down, or a decoction, to free up the flavour and therapeutic compounds of these herbs. In this case, it is best to gently simmer the herbs at a light boil for 15-20 minutes. This method of preparation softens the plant parts enough to release their beneficial vitamins, enzymes and aromatic oils.
Ideal Herbs for Medicinal Infusions:
Use this herbal tea preparation method for hardier plant parts, including berries, barks, roots, and medicinal mushrooms. Schisandra berry, Ashwagandha root, and Reishi mushroom fall into this category. These herbs require extra patience and simmering to unlock their healing potential. Try this tea preparation method with our Adapt and Defense Artisan Teas.
How to Make:
- Place 3 tablespoons of dried tea or herbs in a small saucepan.
- Cover the herbs with one litre of cold water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Cover your pot with a lid and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Allow it to cool while covered for 10 minutes.
- To sip right away, strain into a teacup and enjoy!
- To save for sipping over the next few days, strain into a large mason jar and seal tightly. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The slow, seasonal process of solar infusion subtly imprints the chemistry and energetic properties of herbs into your tea. By harnessing the sun’s gentle warming effect, the herbs are invited to open and release their medicinal compounds, making for a cup of liquid sunshine! Solar infusions are one of the most delicious ways to enjoy an herbal brew in the warm summer months. Drink chilled with ice or top with sparkling water for the ultimate summer refreshment!
Ideal Herbs for Solar Infusions:
Like simple infusions, solar infusions are best suited for delicate dried herbs and flowers. This gentle steeping method is a wonderful way to enjoy fresh medicinal herbs from the garden, like Lemon Balm or St. John’s Wort. Try this method with vibrant foraged or freshly picked herbs, or with our Sea Breeze and Clear Flow Artisan Teas for a cooling summer infusion.
How to Make:
- Place 2-3 tablespoons of tea or dried herbs in a 1 litre mason jar.
- Using filtered water, fill your mason jar to the brim to submerge herbs.
- Seal tightly and place your jar on its side in a sunny spot.
- Allow the herbs to infuse for 3-5 hours, or all day.
- Once your herbal tea is rich in colour, strain over ice, sip and enjoy!
Each of these 3 methods can be practiced mindfully, with intention. Enjoying tea as medicine for the body, heart, and mind is a worthwhile way to support your health.
Our thoughtfully crafted Artisan Teas are delicious, formulated by herbalists, and versatile for a variety of infusion methods. From forest and field all the way to your teacup, we take pride in providing you with top-quality herbs to infuse your day with ritual.
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