Whenever we think about herbs, one of our primary concerns is extracting the active constituents in the best manner. Meaning we want to get the right constituents out, we want the delivery method to be the most effective, and hopefully have the extraction last. We also like to make the extraction practice as accessible as possible. This is where water comes in.
Water extraction, also called infusion or decoction, has been used for centuries. It is a universal delivery method that almost every person and culture has access to. The one drawback is its short shelf life which can make it less desirable if you are someone who wants to prepare and forget it.
However, it does draw out many constituents that we as herbalists are looking for and, as long as you have handy tools, making a water infusion can be very convenient.
Some simple tools
French press – This allows you to make more than 1 cup at a time and avoid having to use any other type of strainer. Simply put the herbs in the pot, cover with hot water and put the lid on. Once it has steeped the right amount of time simply press the plunger down and drink. You can even use it for a nourishing herbal infusion by following the same directions but putting it in the refrigerator overnight to extract all the nutrients
Tea Bags – I make sure to purchase ones that are not bleached, I have a large array of sizes from very small to large. Some of my tea bags are cloth while others are disposable one-off bags for traveling.
Mason Jars of all sizes – Jars make it easy to create a sun tea, a cold infusion, or you can use it as a replacement for a mug. The benefit here is the ability to put the lid on and pop it into the refrigerator to consume later.
Fine Mesh Tea Infuser – I tend to stay away from most tea infusers because they leave a lot of finer tea pieces in the cup. This doesn’t really bother me, but most of my friends are not herbalists and they don’t like “floaties”.
This particular tea infuser is amazing.
I love it because it opens on both the top and the bottom making cleaning super easy, it has very fine mesh screen meaning everything stays inside, and it is large enough to put a meaningful amount of herb in the infuser and give it room for expansion.