Making A Herbal Infusion or Decoction

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herbal infusion

A herbal infusion is a very easy and simple way to use herbs. Infusions are made pretty much like making tea. An amount of herbs or flowers are placed into a teapot or in a heat proof jug with a close-fitting lid, and boiling water is poured over it.

The total amount in any herbal infusion should not exceed the standard quantity given, if a homemade recipe asks for more than one herb to be infused still only use the total quantity given.

For example if a remedy asks for an infusion or decoction of yarrow and elderflower, use 1 teaspoon of each to make the required proportion of 2 teaspoon dried herbs to each pint (500ml) of water.


Leave to infuse for 10 minutes and then strain the liquid through a nylon sieve into a teacup.

The infusion can be drunk hot or cold so store any leftovers in a clean glass container and in a cool place until needed.

Standard dose is one tea cup or wine glass three times a day unless otherwise stated.

And herbal teas need to be made fresh each day.

For external use;

leave the infusion to cool completely before straining through a nylon sieve into a clean jar or container with a tight-fitting lid, then use as instructed in the recipe. This infusion may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. If a homemade recipe only requires a small amount of infusion just half all the quantities bellow.

Standard Quantities

  • 2 teaspoon = 1 oz (30g) dried herb to each 1 pint (500ml) of boiling water
  • 2 tablespoon = 2 oz (60g) chopped fresh herb to each 1 pint (500ml) of boiling water

Making Herbal Decoctions

A herbal decoction gives a more vigorous extraction of the herbs active ingredients than an infusion and is particularly good when working with roots, twigs or seeds.

Standard Quantities:

  • 2 teaspoon = 1 oz (30g) dried herb to each 1 pint (500ml) of cold water
  • 2 tablespoon = 2 oz (60g) chopped fresh herb to each 1 pint (500ml) of cold water


  1. Place the fresh or dried herbs into a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with cold water.
  2. Bring the mixture to the boil, cover with a lid, and then gently simmer for about 20 minutes unless otherwise stated in the recipe or remedy you are making.
  3. Strain the decoction though a nylon sieve into a jug and make back up to 1 pint (500ml) with fresh water.

The decoction can be taken hot or cold, the above quantities gives enough for 3 glasses and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days if kept in a bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid.

Standard dose is one tea cup or wine glass three times a day unless otherwise stated.

Herbal Decoction

Preserving a Herbal Infusion or Decoction

You can preserve a herbal infusion or decoction by adding honey or unrefined sugar to make syrup.

The honey its self is very soothing especially if you are using it for a cold or sore throat and the sweetness of the sugar or honey will help to disguise the flavour of some of the more unpleasant tasting plants.

Simply heat up the standard 1 pint (500ml) infusion or decoction in a saucepan and add 18 oz (500g) of honey or unrefined sugar.

Once you add the sugar you will need to stir the mixture continuously until all the honey or sugar has dissolved.

Leave the syrup to cool then transfer it to a small glass mason jar or a bottle with a cork stopper, the cork is important as the syrup sometimes fragments and a screw top can often explode.

If you store the syrup in a cool dark place it should last for about 1 year.

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Angela Wills

About Angela

SavvyHomemade is a true passion for me and my family, its where we've been busy sharing inspirational DIY craft ideas since 2008! With over 30 years of handcrafting and creative experience, the dream is that this information will make life a little easier for others whilst also doing a little towards protecting our planet. More About Angela Wills »

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