Overnight Infusions: Herbal Beverages for Spring and Summer
During the warmer seasons, few people enjoy a nice hot cup of herbal tea, but they still desire the medicinal benefits that tea can offer. One of the most underused ways to make an herbal infusion is to steep a tea overnight, in just room temperature water to create a delicious, highly medicinal overnight infusion.
I’ve started making a few this spring and I am loving the refreshing, cool, midday herbal cocktails that I’m experimenting with. Here are some of my favorite overnight infusions so far:
- Hibiscus + Lavender – steeped overnight. Strain in the morning and add a squeeze of lemon and sparkling water for a refreshing, bright red “lemonade”.
- Hawthorn + Nettles + Astragalus – steeped overnight. Strain in the morning and add 1tsp honey and a squeeze of lemon for great immune supporting tea!
- Calendula + Alfalfa + Dandelion leaf – steeped overnight. Strain in the morning and mix with sparkling water and 1 tsp honey for a gentle, nutrient rich cleanse.
Overnight infusions are best done with the above ground parts of the herbs (like leaves, flowers, stems and seeds). The below ground portions (roots and rhizomes) do not extract very well without a longer steeping time or a concentrated decoction.
Overnight infusions are simply the longer version of making a hot tea. When herbs are placed in warm/hot water, the extraction process is speeded up, allowing most of the water soluble medicinal constituents to be extracted quickly. When allowed to steep for 6-8 hours in just room temperature water, the same water soluble constituents are extracted, just over a longer amount of time resulting the same medicinal benefits with a cooler, more refreshing beverage. You can use the same ratios or amount of tea you would normally use (I tend towards stronger infusions so I use heavier hand) but you can experiment and see what amount is perfect for you.
In the summer, try solar infusions where you set the herbs and water outdoors and let the sun warm the water. This also works for infusing oils if you like a homemade calendula infused apricot oil or a nettle infused olive oil for topical use!
Lindsay Kluge M.Sc, CNS, LDN HealthCoach@EllwoodThompsons.com