In Ayurveda, infusions are an important part of the treatment of any imbalance. Within Ayurvedic medicine, the herbal and/or mineral preparations for restoring the balance are many and very diverse; most of them are part of the great Ayurvedic treaties and their procedures are complex. Both in the prevention and in the recovery of many pathologies, the infusions are a simple and very useful part that we can prepare in our home, far from complex procedures. In spite of this, many people get confused at the time of preparing it, and do not know the ways or times.
In this article we will explain step by step how to prepare an infusion, and in others posts that will come we will tell you about the herbs and roots that you can use for different pathologies and their properties.
Parts of the plants
In nature we can find woody plants, that is to say that they have the woody trunk, these would be the bushes and the trees, and herbaceous plants, which do not have woody trunk.
We must also take into account that to make infusions we can use different parts of a plant, depending on the properties we want and also on which part they are concentrated.
We can use:
- dry and fresh leaves
Each part has a different hardness and therefore must be taken into account when preparing the infusion. In addition, there are parts of the plant that do not resist continuous heat and its active principles are destroyed.
When making an infusion, we need to know which part of the plant we are going to use in order to determine when we are going to introduce it into the water. For example, as a general rule (there are always exceptions that depend on the plant properties):
- Flowers and some leaves will not be boiled
- Roots, bark and seeds will boiled about thirty or sixty seconds over a gentle fire to soften them and allow the extraction of their active ingredients, if it is necessary they can be crushed before putting them in the water.
- Stems and fruits, depending on their hardness and taking into account their active ingredients, will be boiled or not.
when we introduce the herbs we have to separate them by groups, if they are seeds, flowers or leaves. When the water starts to boil, we will lower the fire and we will introduce the seeds or roots if there are any, and we will let them boil for a minute over a gentle fire. Once has passed the minute we will stop the fire and introduce the leaves and flowers if there are any, and we will cover hermetically, so that the essential oils do not come out by evaporation. Leave the mixture to stand for 6-8 minutes. After this time we will strain the herbs and drink the liquid. If we want to add honey we will have to wait for it to cool down a little.
Dosage and consumption
The infusions should be consumed throughout the day, and never 12 hours later, or when a night has passed, so it is better to prepare them in the morning and consume them during the day.
The doses for adults are about 120ml per one or two dessert spoons of herbs.
The doses for children are:
- From 6 to 12 months: 1/10 of the adult dose of herbs
- From 1 year to 6 years: ⅓ of the adult dose of herbs
- From 7 to 12 years old: ½ of the adult dose of herbs
The daily dose is 3 – 4 infusions per day.
When do we use an infusion?
We have to take into account that as a home remedy, infusions are used to extract the active principles from delicate parts of the plant. With the infusion, a great amount of active ingredients are extracted, with very little alteration of its chemical structure, thus preserving its properties to the maximum.
When we want to extract the properties of the hard parts of a plant, i.e., parts that need to be boiled to release their active ingredients, we use decoction. One disadvantage of this is that some active principles can be degraded by the prolonged use of heat. We will talk about them in another article. In general it is preferable to infuse than to decoction the aromatic plants, since their essential oils are very volatile.
And if we want some active ingredient that is destroyed by heat, then we use maceration, which is to “soak” the crushed parts of the plant we want to use. Ayurveda tells us about cold infusions, especially to balance Pitta, in this case we would be talking about a one night maceration, we will talk about in which cases they are recommended in another article.