Winter has arrived, and along with it, the cooler weather. One of the great things about the cold weather is that you can enjoy tea at any time of the day. Here we will look at tips on using tea and herbs to bring some warmth into your life.
There are different ways that you can make tea, depending on the plant matter that you have chosen to use. The most common way is to steep either fresh or dried plant matter in hot water. This is referred to as an infusion. Infusion is an excellent choice if your plant matter consists of leaves, flowers, or crushed fruit. Another option is actually boiling the matter in water for longer. This is called decoction and is beneficial if your plant matter is denser, such as the case with bark, roots, and needles.
A third option when you are creating teas is to create a tincture. A tincture is a longer-lasting liquid that is more intense than an infusion. To create a tincture, you will infuse your plant matter in alcohol, oil, or another stable base.
Here are the steps involved in making some common decoctions and infusions.
Herbal or Floral Infused Water
To create herbal or floral-infused water, begin by ensuring that you have about two handfuls of your plant matter, a sterilized bottle or jar that has a well-fitting lid, and boiling water. Place your plant matter into the jar and pour boiling water over it until it is just covered. Seal the jar, shake it, and allow it to cool.
Leave the jar to sit for about ten days, shaking it every three or so days. At the end of the ten days, strain the water and store it in a clean bottle. You can keep the water in the fridge for seven to fourteen days. (How Much Water Should I Drink a Day?)
If you want to make the scent of the water more intense, steep another batch of the same plants in the infusion. This water works well as a body splash, an addition to cleaning water, or a space purifier by misting it around a room.
Herbal vinegar is great to use instead of regular vinegar both in cooking and in cleaning. To make the herbal vinegar, begin by placing a handful or so of your plant of choice into a clean jar or bottle that has a lid. Fill the jar with vinegar until the plants are just covered. Place the vinegar into the refrigerator to steep for seven to twenty-one days, depending on the strength you want to achieve, the longer it is left the stronger it will be. When it is ready, strain the plant matter from the vinegar and store it in a clean bottle with a label.
Herbal oil is used for anointing doors, windows, and other objects. You can also use this oil in your cooking. Being by placing one cup of safflower or light olive oil into a small saucepan. Add one handful of your plant matter to the oil and heat it for fifteen minutes over low heat.
After the time has elapsed, pour both the oil and the plant matter into a clean jar. Using cheesecloth that has been folded into a double layer, with a rubber band, cover the oil and place it in a spot where it won’t get bumped and gets plenty of sunlight. After ten to fourteen days, strain the oil into a bottle with a lid and label it for use.
Using Infusions and Extracts
If you want to use your infusion as a spray, place a fresh infusion into a clean and dry spray bottle. You can now mist it around the room to lightly scent the air. If you don’t want to use an infusion, you can also place a few drops of any decoction or tincture into a spray bottle of clean water. Shake well before each time spraying as the water and the herbal drops can separate.
To use your herbal creations for washing floors, walls, window ledges, and more begin with a container of clean water. Add your infusion, some drops of decoction, or a few drops of a tincture to the water. You can use this with a mop or clean cloth.
If you want to scent your bath, you can add your infusion, decoction, tincture, or oil into your bathwater. You can add as much or as little as you would like to achieve the scent you want.
Some Other Applications
Some herbal blends are used in various applications. Different blends are used to accomplish different energies, and there are different ways you can use them. Some of the applications include:
- Simmering potpourri
- Sweeping or sprinkling powders
- Sealed bottles to be used as talismans
- Steeped and strained to be used as an anointing potion
Some of the blends you can try to include the following:
- Cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ginger for productivity
- Vervain, rose, and chamomile for healing
- Rose, chamomile, and lavender for relaxation
- Basil, carnation, lavender for communication
- Vervain, rosemary, a small pinch of salt, clove for protection
Remember, if you cannot tolerate the scent of one of these plants, or if you are aware that it doesn’t interact well with your personal energy, leave it out. Alternatively, you can find another plant that has similar energy.
Extracted from THE HOUSE WITCH by Arin Murphy-Hiscock.