Let’s talk about infusions. You may see infusions while shopping at your local grocery store next to all of your favorite teas. But, what exactly is an infusion? And what is the difference between tea and infusion? In simple terms, tea is the drink obtained by steeping camellia sinensis (tea leaves) in water. An infusion is the generic name of the method, which involves soaking any leaves or herbs in hot water. You may be saying, well isn’t that the same thing? Well, sort of. The main difference is that infusions are not limited to just the camellia sinensis plant. Infusions can be any herbal substance that go into hot water to create the drink. For example, you can mix black tea, black licorice root, dried elder flower and peppermint leaf to create a cold busting drink during cold season. Infusions are also steeped for longer periods of time and use larger quantities of herb. Then main purpose of this is to create a drink that is higher in vitamins and minerals. For example, a cup of nettle tea has 5-10 mg. of calcium, while a cup of nettle infusion can contain up to 500 mg. of calcium!
How To Brew Your Infusion
What should you brew your infusion in? Is a tea ball good to use? Can I use my everyday tea mug? While you are able to use those, the best vessels to make your infusion in are a French press or a quart-sized mason jar. Both of these work great and give your herb blend space to move around and release all their healing compounds! Just fill your jar or French press with an adequate amount of herbs (about 1/4 cup of herbs and/or tea blend) and then cover with boiling water. Make sure to cover your container tightly.
There is an endless amount of infusion recipes you can make. For example, you can mix chamomile, lavender and lemon bomb leaves for a good nights rest, ginger and licorice for an upset stomach, and so many more! Here are a few tea infusion recipes courtesy of Mother Earth News:
High-C Tonic Tea Recipe
Who couldn’t use more vitamin C this time of year? This is a wonderfully refreshing blend filled with vitamin-C (and great for children, too!)
4 parts rose hips
3 parts hibiscus
2 parts lemongrass
1 part cinnamon chips
Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. To make a tea, prepare as an infusion.
Berry Good Tea Recipe
When you are in need of a boost during the cold and flu season, this is the perfect drink to do so!
2 parts elderberries
2 parts dried hawthorn berries
2 parts lycium berries
1 part huckleberries or bilberries
1 part raspberry leaf
Mix together all of the ingredients. Brew as an infusion, using 1 tablespoon of the herb mixture per cup of water, and steeping for 30 to 60 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired. Drink 1 cup daily.
Pick-Me-Up Tea Recipe
Has the clock struck 3:00 pm on a Monday and you are looking for a pick me up that isn’t a coffee? Try this recipe!
2 parts hawthorn berry, leaf and/or flower
2 parts nettle
1 part ginkgo
1 part licorice
1/4 part cinnamon
1/4 part ginger
Prepare as an infusion, using 1 ounce of herb mixture per quart of water, and allowing it to steep for 45 minutes or longer.
Herbal infusions pack a powerful punch, and offer many medicinal benefits for your overall health. They are definitely worth adding to your tea drinking routine. Let us know if you try any of these or if you come up with one on your own!
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