An infusion is often described as a herbal tea, made using the herb(s) of choice and boiling water, although both tea and an infusion use the extraction method of water, there is a difference between a tea and an infusion.
Making tea from herbs first began to be ‘in vogue’ in China around 5000 years ago, with Emperor Shen Nung.
Being a stickler for hygiene, the great leader ordered that all water in the palace be boiled. When his servants were boiling water one day, leaves from a nearby bush fell into the water and is said to be the first cup of tea to be brewed.
I suspect that making tea from herbs was something ancient mankind has done for as long as mankind has walked the earth, but it’s a nice thought that the Chinese Emperor made drinking tea a ceremony rather than just a nice drink.
It is amazing what effects a warm herbal infusion can have on the systems of the body.
Calendula, dandelion and nettle have a diuretic effect, which helps the liver to flush out the body's toxins, reduces fluid retention and aids digestion.
Peppermint reduces bloating and flatulence and will help with indigestion. Fennel seeds are also beneficial as they increase the secretion of digestive enzymes and can help with digestion and the pain of cramping in the muscles around the bowel, which also be eased with a cup of lemon balm tea, which is also good for the nervous system.
Camomile and the lime flower are well known for easing nervous tension, as is lemon balm.
Lavender is an excellent option before bedtime; promoting calmness and sleep.
Peppermint is the most obvious infusion on a hot day, it cools and refreshes the body and can be drunk hot or cold.
Nettle is high in silica and other minerals and is indicated for detox and urinary infections.
A cup of tea, whether made from loose tea or a tea bag may be refreshing to drink, but it doesn’t necessarily have the correct qualities that a herbal infusion has. Bought tea labelled as peppermint, mint, chamomile, etc., etc., is usually at best, black tea with a small amount of herb leaf, and at worst cheap tea leaves with flavouring added to it. Even the most expensive ‘herbal teas’ are not a full measured amount of herb, but are what tastes nice without a great deal of effort, which sells the product, but don’t mistake these teas for infusions, they are very different.
A cup of tea is made by pouring boiling water onto tea leaves or a tea bag and when its strong enough for the drinker, the leaves or tea bag are removed, leaving a refreshing and to your own taste cup of tea.
An infusion takes a little longer and more care in the making, but the effort results in a proper herbal infusion with all the correct properties that a specific medication requires. It is made by first preparing the herb, or herbs, of choice.
Fresh or dried herbs can be used; the variation is 3 teaspoons of fresh herb to 1 teaspoon of dried herb.