Infusion vs Decoction

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Do you know the difference between Infusions & Decoctions?

If you are planning to use herbs to make your own teas and brews from home then you will likely encounter the process of both infusions and decoctions. Infusions and decoctions are time honoured methods for delivering herbs orally through teas.

Infusions are used for soft plants and herbs such as flowers, leaves and soft stems. In order to brew an herbal tea with these herbs you need to use one to two heaping teaspoons of dried herbs per cup of water. Boil the water for approximately two minutes and pour over the herb in a cup and allow steeping. It is important to cover the top of the cup or teapot to prevent the evaporation of important oils needed in any type of remedial teas. Allowing the tea to sit for 10-15 minutes is the best way to ensure you are getting the most flavour out of your herbs. Remember to strain before drinking as it is not necessary to drink the herbs, their flavours and nutrients have already been drained from them.

are used for harder herbs such as roots and barks. Decoction is a form of simmering opposed to boiling like infusions. This means that the materials used in the tea must be crushed before hand and cut into small pieces suitable for simmering temperatures. This method is just as simple as infusions as it consists of several important steps. First you need to take two heaping teaspoons of dried herb per one cup of cold water and add to a saucepan. Bring this water to a boil and let simmer for up to 15minutes. If you are using unusually hard roots than you may want to up the simmering time until the roots begin to soften. During this entire process you need to keep the saucepan covered to ensure the important oils and nutrients do not evaporate away during decoctions. This tea you also have to strain before drinking.

The differences between infusions and decoctions are simple to see when you lay out the two different processes. These two different processes are used for the different strengths and materials of herbs required. You can create a remedial herbal tea using absolutely any herb and by comparing it to the processes outlined above you can be sure you are creating it properly. Whether it is a hard or soft herb makes all the difference and this is something many people disregard during their remedial tea brews.

Although infusions and decoctions do differ from different cultures and societies, the basics of the processes remain the same. It is the heating temperatures which make all the difference when you are brewing herbs. Each herb has its own texture and material base and by not respecting this you are not going to experience a successful remedial tea. The heat becomes important for bringing the nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals out of the herb and into the water.

Anyone can create their own herbal and remedial teas from your own home using these age old processes which have always proven to be effective. Whether you are looking to maintain your health, prevent future disease or cure a current ailment you are suffering from, an herbal tea has the power to do just that. Getting into the habit of drinking an herbal tea per day is a great ritual to begin as it not only maintains your health but it promotes a healthier lifestyle as well. Herbal teas can be very soothing and relaxing and this is just the type of beverage everyone needs at the end of the day to allow their stresses to disappear.

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