Herbal Infusions and Preparations

good for flowers, stems and leaves…Dried herb ratio: ABOUT 3-4 teaspoons herb to 1 pint water
Fresh herbs: 3 teaspoons herb to 1 pint of water

Steep the herbs for 10-15 minutes in water that has just been boiled. Then strain the infusion.  If using for medicinal value, the infusion should be consumed in 8-ounce doses, three times a day.

For storage: cover mixture, store in a cool place, and use within 24 hours



cold infusions…some herbs infuse better in cold water (valerain, marshmallow root)Ratio is the same as above.  Allow to steep overnight.  Strain. 



STRONG infusion good for herbal roots, barks, seeds, berries, and stems, or just a really strong “tea” (works nicley for toners and rinses)Ratio: Use 3/4- 1 cup herb to 1 quart of water.

Method 1–“Instant” gratification…

Place the herbs in a saucepan with the water, and boil the decoction.  Simmer til liquid has been reduced by about a third. This will take at least 15 minutes.  Strain the mixture.

Method 2–overnight…

Boil water.  Pour water over herbs in jar or other lidded container.  Allow to steep overnight.  Strain.



woo-hoo vodka…or herbal infusions in alcohol… advantage—can be stored for long time

if using alcohol (drinkable sort) you need 50 proof (25% alcohol–or 1 part alcohol to every 3 of water)…herb goes in the alcohol, let it steep for a few weeks, strain and store…

since I have yet to use a tincture for anything, I have yet to make one—and really have never bothered to find a “recipe”…but I figured I’d at least include the concept…



Herbal Syrups:

1 mL infusion or decoction: 1 g unrefined sugar/honey
(1 fl oz or 1/8 c infusion or decoction: 1 oz unrefined sugar/honey)
Strain infusion/decoction into pan and add sugar at ratio. Continuously stir til disolved and simmer to desired consistency. Cool and bottle. Use cork stoppers…if substance ferments and pressure builds in bottle it is prone to explode if it had a fixed cap.



Floral Water: Long method…without alcohol

Materials: canning pot/crab steaming pot/etc with a rounded lid that can be inverted, ceramic bowl, brick

2-3 quarts fresh rose petals (or other fresh flowers), water, ice cubes or crushed ice

Take your pot and place the (CLEAN!) brick in the center of a large pot and place the bowl on top on the brick.  Put the petals around the brick in the pot and just barely cover the roses—or other flowers.  Place the lid upside down do that the rounded part points downwards and turn on stove.  Bring water to a boil, then toss ice in the top of the lid and turn stove down to simmer.  Every 10 minutes or so, stop and dump rose water from center bowl into a container to store and replace ice.  Continue until your rose petal “soup” will have lost its potency…

Floral Water:  With Alcohol, “sun tea method”…works with dried plant

1 cup distilled water:1 cup dried flower:1/3 cup vodka

Combine ingredients and place in sun, wait about two weeks. Strain.   

Floral Water: With Essential Oils, Easy method

10-20 drops essential oil
1 cup distilled water
Spray bottle

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake to blend. Spritz the air where needed, and yourself making sure to avoid your eyes…add a drop or two detergent product (baby shampoo is great) to make the oil/water stay mixed. Disadvantage…is not edible for recipes requiring floral waters…

Lotions and Cremes…

ingredieints for a creme:

1 ½ oz. Sweet Almond Oil
½ oz. Cocoa Butter
½ oz. Vegetable Glycerin
3 Tbsp. Emulsifying Wax
8 oz. Distilled Water or floral water (room temperature)
30 – 50 drops Essential Oils

ingredients for a lotion:

1 ½ oz. Sweet Almond Oil
½ oz. Cocoa Butter
½ oz. Vegetable Glycerin
1 ½ Tbsp. Emulsifying Wax
8 oz. Distilled Water (room temperature)
30 – 50 drops Essential Oils

directions for both:

In a heat-safe measuring cup combine the sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, vegetable glycerin, and emulsifying wax. Melt everything together iin a heat safe container either in the microwave, “double-boiler” method, or crockpot.  Put water into blender and ON LOW, SLOWLY pour in the melted oil mixture.  Add essential oils and pour into storing container before it thickens.  Store in fridge.

*emulsifying wax*

E wax…wonder of wonders…lets those two non-mixing substances, oil and water, get together so that you can enjoy their combined properties…e-wax lets you make an oil in water (o/w) emulsion (where water surrounds the oil)

Emulsifying wax is a cosmetic emulsifying ingredient. The ingredient name is often followed by the initials NF, indicating that it conforms to the specifications of the National Formulary.

Emulsifying wax is created when a wax material (either a vegetable wax of some kind or a petroleum-based wax) is treated with a detergent (typically sodium dodecyl sulfate or polysorbates) to cause it to make oil and water bind together into a smooth emulsion.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulsifying_wax

a beeswax-borax combination can be used to make a water in oil solution (where oil surrounds the water)

some basics on emulsions…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emulsion


Try these:

  • Hair Wash—1 part liquid castile soap per 2 parts infusion…for blondes use chamomile, for brunettes try sage infusion, for oily hair use yarrow, lemon balm, thyme or lemongrass infusion, and for dry hair use chamomile, red clover, comfrey or chamomile—all hair types can use rosemary…
  • Facial toner—infuse rosemary, lavender and mint for a refreshing facial toner
  • the ever eternal rose water… 2 cups packed rose petals, 2 1/2 cups distilled water; simmer on LOW (crockopt is good for this) until water is reduced by half…strain into jar or bottle…  turn this into a facial toner by adding 3/4 c witch hazel and 5-6 drops of glycerine for oily skin or 8-9 drops for dry…


not going to use it all?  try freezing your infusions in ice cube trays…stays good for up to 3 months, place ice cubes in a labled ziplock and take out what you need…
infuse herbs into other things such as vinegars, wines, even witch hazel (good for facial toners)…


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