Both infusing or decocting herbs releases their healing properties. To make an infusion, add about a teaspoon of herb to a cup of boiling water. Put a saucer over the top of the cup and let sit for five minutes. You now have a mild infusion.

Infusions prevent the essential oil evaporation which occurs from a decoction (see below for details) and are a beneficial way of conserving vitamins, which are often concentrated in the leaves. Mint teas should always be infused for maximum flavor delight. My favorite infusion combines spearmint and wintergreen. Though the flavor is not everyone’s cup of tea,” for me it offers a serenely relaxing beverage to sip at the end of a long day.

Sun teas infusions are relatively fuss-free. To make a sun tea, place fresh or dried herbs in a clear glass gallon jar, fill with water and leave in the sun to brew for 3 to 4 hours. This slow process adds a gentle energetic component to the tea, bringing delicious flavor to the tongue and supplying the body with nutrients. My favorite freshly, picked combination of plants for sun tea includes red raspberry leaves and vine, a touch of mint, a bit of marshmallow and a handful of ground ivy. The tea is tasty and tonifying.

Keep in mind that infusions require a large amount of plant material. The infusion process is not an alchemic process, but tends to release easily accessible nutrients and volatile oils. On the other hand, less plant material is needed in a decoction because the intense and prolonged heating releases the deeper medicines within the plant.