By: Natasha Eziquiel-Shriro
Birds are chirping, trees green, flowers are everywhere, and stale winter energies smudged away. Spring is that that time of year we make space for what is light and fresh.
When it comes to wellness practices, hot tea is often the first thing we move away from when the weather warms up. We enjoy tea through the cold months for the health benefits and self-care vibes, then the next thing you know, its six months of rosé and frosé (unfortunately, no major health benefits there).
Enter, herbal infusions. Herbal infusions are like tea 2.0: rather than steeping a spoonful of herbs in hot water for a few minutes, an herbal infusion is a rich herbal brew, left to steep for hours if not overnight, and best enjoyed cold. Infusions are very simple to make (scroll down to learn how) and easy to fit into any routine.
Reasons to Love Herbal Infusions
- A Nutrition Knock Out: By letting herbs sit longer to infuse, key nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, are released into the water, that would otherwise stay locked away.
- Keeping your Cool: If you don’t enjoy hot drinks, an herbal infusion is perfect for you anytime of year. And it takes less effort. Rather than worry over a kettle, you simply add herbs to water, wait, filter, then sip.
- That Special Something: Being more potent than tea, infusions are vibrant and high in flavor. Freeze into ice cubes with an edible flower for an impressively healthful element at your next gathering, or add to a smoothie for a lighter alternative to juice or milk.
Explore the Benefits of Nourishing Infusions
Some call it “bush medicine.” Others call it smart science. Plants are packed with vitamins, minerals (especially calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus), fibers, antioxidants, proteins fatty acids, and other active plant compounds called phytonutrients that provide numerous health benefits. Infusions are excellent for healing, balancing, and sustaining.
Drink up all those benefits by enjoying a glass of a cold herbal infusion each day. There are many delicious options for herbal infusions. Here are three ideas:
- For Grade A nutrition, try nettle. An infusion made with nettle is full of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and much more. It can be taken to help improve blood pressure, fight anemia, and encourage growth of healthy hair. It’s a top ingredient in herbal blends for women’s health, and excellent for a gentle cleanse.
- To achieve balance, try red clover. Red clover may help maintain bone strength, soothe sensitive skin, and assist with hormone balance. Red clover also contains phytonutrients that are shown to reduce risks of certain cancers. The taste is very grassy, so add a single bag of mint tea to your pitcher to enhance the flavor of this infusion.
- To find your Zen, try lemon balm. This herb offers antioxidants that may lower internal inflammation (think, high cholesterol and high blood sugars) which can stress both the body and the mind. Easy to grow in a garden or on a fire escape, and included in many calming teas, lemon balm is easily within reach. Enjoy this infusion as a delicious cold beverage for the end of the day.
How to Make an Infusion
- Use a 2-3 tablespoons (2-3 tea bags) per cup, or about 1 ounce of dried herbs for 4-8 cups of water (that’s like filling a 64-ounce mason jar about ¼ of the way).
- If you’re using roots, barks, or berries, you need to use hot water. For soft plant parts, like leaves and flowers, cold filtered water works just fine.
- Fill a glass pitcher or jar with your chosen herbs and water. Cover. Let sit for at least four hours, if not overnight.
- Strain your infusion and refrigerate. This will keep about 48 hours before the taste starts to change, but it will still be tasty for a couple days after that.
Enjoy iced. Add natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, to taste.
Have you ever made an herbal infusion? Let us know what you’ve tried, and if you’ve seen any benefits in the comments below.