The word "infusion" is used to describe an herbal tea or tisane that is made by pouring boiling water over a quantity of fresh or dried herbal material. Every time you make a cup of tea with a tea bag, you are, in fact, making an infusion.

An infusion is an effective preparation method for delicate or fine plant parts, such as petals, leaves and other aerial parts. It is ideally suited to extracting water-soluble components from the plant and is often used for aromatic herbs that contain essential oils (such as peppermint, fennel and chamomile).

1 Place the recommended quantity of loose dried herb (dried chamomile is used here) or finely chopped fresh herb into a pre-warmed glass or china teapot or coffee plunger.

2 Pour about 1 cup freshly boiled water over the herb and stir. Place the lid on the teapot to trap the steam and prevent the essential oil evaporating. Allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

3 Stir again before pouring through a strainer into your teacup.

Usage Drink one cup of tea three times a day over several weeks for chronic (longstanding) problems, or up to six cups a day in the shorter term for acute problems. Storage Infusions do not store well, so it's always best to prepare a fresh pot of tea for each cup.

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