Teas, Infusions, and Decoctions
As many of you know, teas are one of my favorite ways to nourish myself with herbs on a daily basis, and they are any excellent choice for children, even babies under one year old. They are also a good choice for those who are newcomers to using herbs and would like to avoid making a tincture or glycerite.
Why Tea Is a Good Choice
- Herbal teas are very diluted which means there’s less risk of giving your little one too much of an herb.
- Herbal teas can be made to taste good and they can be used in various ways to get kids to take them.
- Teas can be made in different strengths. You can choose teas or infusions, depending upon how and why you are using it.
True Teas are steeped anywhere from 3-5 minutes and some herbal teas are steeped around 10-15 minutes. Longer steep times for teas tend to make them bitter which can be less palatable, especially for children.
How to Make a Tea
- Bring 8 oz. of pure water to boil in a kettle, hot shot, or on the stovetop.
- Place 1-3 tsp. of loose leaf herbs in a tea strainer.
- Pour water over herbs. Cover your tea cup with a saucer. Wait 3-5 minutes.
- Remove tea strainer. Compost herbs. Sweeten tea with raw honey. Drink and enjoy!
Infusions are steeped for various times based on how strong you want the preparation, commonly 30 minutes to 1 hour to 4 hours and sometimes even 12 hours. It is thought that the longer an infusion steeps the more properties that are pulled out of the herb. I question how true that is considering water can only draw out a certain amount of constituents, but a longer steep time can be tried and you can decide what you think.
How to Make an Infusion
- Bring 4 cups of pure water to boil in a kettle or on the stovetop.
- Place 1/4 cup of herbs (or 1 oz. by weight) in a quart mason jar.
- Pour water over herbs, place lid on jar, and shake once to mix herbs and water well.
- Let sit anywhere from 4 hours to overnight.
- Strain and compost herbs. Sweeten infusion with raw honey, if desired, and enjoy hot or cold. Drink recommended dosage throughout the day.
Decoctions are simmered for various times, commonly 1-2 hours.
How to Make a Decoction
- Bring 4 cups of pure water to boil on the stovetop. Once water comes to a boil, turn the heat to low. You want the water to steam or lightly roll, not boil.
- Place 1/4 cup of herbs (or 1 oz. by weight) in saucepan with water. Mix well with spoon.
- Let this simmer for desired length of time or until water is reduced by half (2 cups).
- Strain and compost herbs. Sweeten decoction with raw honey if desired. Drink recommended dosage throughout the day.
When needed, I want my family to receive herbs throughout the day, so I break dosage in at least 4 parts, after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and before bed.
For an Infusion - An adult would usually drink around 4 cups of an infusion per day. An older child often drinks 1 and 1/2 cups per day. A baby may drink 1/2 a cup per day depending on what the herb was. THESE ARE GENERAL GUIDELINES.
For Tea - Triple the above dosage above for a weaker tea. Keep in mind that this all really depends on the type of herbs being used.