Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions, Tea, and Decoctions

Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions

Herbal Infusions and Decoctions

Tea is a water extract of herbs called an infusion.


Hot Infusions

Hot infusions draw out vitamins, enzymes, and aromatic volatile oils.
A few good herbs for hot infusions include Chamomile, Holy Basil, Ginger, Nettle, Peppermint, and Skullcap.

Basic Method

~ Scoop 1-3 tablespoons of dried herb into a strainer.
~ Heat 1 cup of water until it just comes to a boil.
~ Place strainer in your cup.
~ Pour hot water over herbs and cover to keep the essential oils from escaping.
~ Steep for 15 minutes to 1 hour and strain.

Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions

Cold Infusions

Cold Infusions are ideal for slimy herbs and herbs with delicate essential oils.
A few good herbs for cold infusions include Marshmallow root, Chia seed, and fresh Lemon Balm.

Basic Method

~ Fill a quart jar with cold water.
~ Bundle 1oz of herb in cheesecloth.
~ Slightly moisten the bundled herb.
~ Submerge the bundle just below the water in the jar.
~ Drape the tied end of the bundle over the lip of the jar.
~ Secure by loosely screwing on the cap.
~ Allow to infuse overnight.


~ Place herbs in a quart jar, fill with cold water, and cap.
~ Allow to infuse overnight.

Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions


Decoctions are simmered teas that are perfect for the extraction of hard roots, dried berries, barks, and seeds.

Basic Method

~ Place 3 tablespoons of dried herb into a small sauce pan.
~ Cover the herbs with a quart of cold water.
~ Slowly heat the water to a simmer and cover.
~ Allow to gently simmer for 20 to 45 minutes.
~ Strain the herb and reserve the tea in a quart jar.
~ Pour additional hot water back through the herb in the strainer to fill your jar.

Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions

Fun Tip!

Add a bit of honey, fruit juice, licorice root powder, or powdered Stevia leaf to sweeten your tea.
Freeze in ice cube trays or popsicle molds. Kids love these herbal ice pops!

Herbal Syrups

Making herbal syrup is a great way to preserve your medicinal teas. They are also soothing, good for sore throats, the flu, stomach upset, relaxation, and more depending on the herbs you use. Plus, they are super tasty!

Basic Method

~ Decoct roots, barks, and berries for 20 mins.
~ Add leafy herbs and steep for 10 mins.
~ Strain the herb and measure the liquid.
~ Add equal amount of raw local honey.
~ Simmer gently (below 110 degrees) until dissolved.

~ Pour into dry, sterilized amber bottles.
~ Optional: Add 1 part tincture to 3 part syrup for a medicinal boost and longer shelf life.
~ Label your syrup!
~ Store in refrigerator for 6 months.
~ Take 1 teaspoon as needed.

Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions

Enjoy your herbal infusions!


19 Responses to “Medicine Making Basics: Herbal Infusions, Tea, and Decoctions”

  1. avatar BjB says:

    Nice, Erin! Thanks :)
    Anyone have a favorite herb combo recipe to share?
    I often make a nettle infusion, but looking for new ideas…

  2. I’m just starting to learn about the medicinal side of herbs and oils. Are there any essential oils in particular that are not good for using in a hot infusion?

    • avatar Erin says:

      Just to clarify a bit…the essential oils I’m referring to are bound up in the fresh plant material, not processed and bottled steam distilled essential oils.

      Essential oils can be quite fragile in some plants, so cold infusion is the best way to go to keep the oils from escaping. Other herbs with high aromatic content like peppermint, ginger, or cinnamon work well in a hot infusion, just be sure to use a lid!

      Thanks for the great question! ~Erin

  3. avatar says:

    When making infused oils, for example- a comfrey root (dried) olive oil infusion- Is it ok to mix herbs during the infusion process (for example, throw in some clary sage into the comfrey jar) OR is it best to mix after each herb is infused separately??

  4. avatar says:

    To clarify my question above…Is it ok to mix herbs together to be infused at the same time in the same jar?? Comfrey root, clary sage and lavender for instance.

  5. [...] keep the essential oils from escaping. ~ Steep for 15 minutes to 1 hour and strain.Continued here: Medicine Making Basics ~ Herbal Infusions Free PDF Health Ebook…! bkLib.onDomLoaded(nicEditors.allTextAreas);Leave your [...]

  6. [...] root, preparing a cold infusion with the herb to use for the liquid part of this recipe. (Learn how to make a cold infusion here.) Marshmallow root or bulk Marshmallow root powder can usually be found at your local health food [...]

  7. avatar pat clark says:

    I make these using horsetail, use the tea to pour on my hair, makes it soft and has been helping to darken the gray. make infusions with lemon balm also.

  8. [...] Click Here for basic instruction from Mountain Rose Herbs on making decoctions – it’s super easy! [...]

  9. […] the herbs below, I like to make tinctures and teas, along with the occasional syrup. These herbs can be combined into a customized formula, or used […]

  10. […] other roots and barks, it is best prepared as a decoction, steeping the bark for 20 minutes to a half hour to extract the properties of the herb. Since I […]

  11. avatar james says:

    my question is when making an infusion can i mix herbs together so for example woody betony with chamomile, vervain and lavender

    • avatar Kori says:

      Hi James~Thanks so much for checking in with us. You can make an infusion with a mix of herbs. It is generally best to infuse roots and leaves separately (the roots and barks tend to need a longer infusion time.) I like to infuse separately and then combine, but you can combine herbs, if you’d like to give it a try. Good luck! ~Kori

  12. […] I drink a daily herbal infusion that is nourishing for pregnancy which […]

  13. […] a simple decoction is one of my favorite ways to consume roots. While leaves and flowers lend themselves well to a […]

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    Erin is the Marketing Director at Mountain Rose and studied herbalism, botany, and ethical wildcrafting at the Columbines School of Botanical Studies. She spends her days making botanical illustrations, playing in the garden, creating culinary gems, and formulating medicine in the magnificent Oregon Cascades.
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