Hope you enjoy reading about what's happening at Garden Fairy's Cafe: foraging, organic gardening, making herbal infusions and tinctures, wholesome cooking, and more.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Echinacea infusion

Echinacea infusion
This summer I tried echinacea infusion for sore throat and ear ache. According to botanists/herbalists, the medicinal properties of echinacea are concentrated on its roots, but I did not want to cut a piece of roots from blooming echinacea, so I harvested some flower tops, leaves, and stems. Also, experts suggest that echinacea should be taken as tincture (of fresh root) or tea (of dried flower tops, leaves, and stems) for herbal remedy, but I had neither form of echinacea handy, so I made infusion of fresh flower tops, leaves, and stems. The below is my notes for the experiment and the results. 

1. Rinsed harvested herb with water. Put 3 flower tops and 2 cups of chopped leaves and stems in a quart mason jar, poured boiling water over the herb until it filled up to the top of the jar, and closed the jar with a lid. 

2. Waited for 2 hours or so until the infusion turned golden brown. Sipped a teacupful, warm. It's hard to describe the flavor. Reminded me of Japanese twig tea. It's not bitter. 

3. Let the rest of the infusion sit for another 2 hours or so. Sipped another teacupful, lukewarm. Began feeling some positive effects on me. Took out the herb from the jar and stored the rest in fridge. 

4. Sipped 2 more cups, chilled, over several hours. 

After drinking the quart of echinacea infusion, I noticed some positive effects on me, so I made another quart and sipped a teacupful at a time throughout a day. Within 2 days, my sore throat and ear ache were totally gone. I never expected herbal infusion to be noticeably effective because no commercial herbal/medicinal tea bags have ever worked well on me. As a back-story, I gave echinacea in my yard extra attention and care this spring because the young shoots were chewed up by flee beetles and the growth was stunted. I felt as if the echinacea shared her loving and healing energy with me in return when I needed it this summer.