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Did you know that you can make a potent cup of medicinal tea without ever needing to touch your kettle?! While you’ve probably brewed most teas with hot water in the past, there’s something called a “cold infusion” that not only makes a delicious drink that’s light in flavor, but can be deeply nourishing and hydrating – especially when the temps get high. 

WHAT IS A COLD INFUSION?

A cold infusion involves simply infusing herbs in room temperature water (no boiling needed) to gently extract plant constituents over time – most commonly, overnight. It’s one of the easiest, quickest infusion methods that creates a flavor that is often softer than other herbal preparations. Cold infusions are great for mucilaginous rich herbs, those with delicate volatile oils, and mineral rich herbs, since their healing properties can be lost with heat.

HERBS THAT WORK BEST FOR COLD INFUSION

There are two types of herbs that are best-suited to the cold infusion method:

1) Delicate herbs that are heat-sensitive (such as flowers like hibiscus), and

2) Herbs that are high in gut-healing, mucous-membrane-soothing mucilage, polysaccharides and starches (such as slippery elm, comfrey, and marshmallow).

In these cases, a cold infusion is a perfect solution to uphold the integrity of the herb, extract the correct compounds, while still brewing a tea packed with loads of flavor and medicinal benefits. 

Interestingly, the herbs that lend themselves to cold infusions also happen to be quite cooling and soothing to ‘hot’ and ‘angry’, aggravated, inflamed tissues. For example, a 50/50 marshmallow root/hibiscus cold infusion is lovely for someone who runs hot, carries tension in their shoulders, and is quick tempered, especially by their pain. The method matches the herbs, and both the method and the plants match the needed medicine!

Our current favorite infusion to help us cool down during the scorching heat we’ve been having lately is just a plain and simple hibiscus flower tea. Hibiscus flowers are deeply nourishing and cooling, soothing the  inflammation and agitation brought on by intense temperatures and/or stress.

HOW TO MAKE A HYDRATING HIBISCUS INFUSION

When making a hibiscus flower cold infusion to cool you down in the summer heat, all you need is a large mason jar with lid, filtered room temperature water, and dried hibiscus flowers!

DIRECTIONS: 

1. Add dried hibiscus flowers to a mason jar; We like to add plant matter up to the 4-8oz line of a 32oz mason jar for overnight infusions, aka about ¼ of the jar.

2. Then add your filtered room water to the jar, no heating necessary

3. Make sure the flowers are fully covered by water; you can give it a good spin or flip the jar a couple times once the lid is on

4. Let it sit on your countertop overnight to extract the most nutrients and develop its sweet and sour flavor

5. The next morning, simply strain the flowers out and enjoy!

BENEFITS OF HIBISCUS

Hibiscus flowers are…

– High in antioxidant flavonoids, as well as phenolic compounds, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and bioflavonoids

– Rich in water-soluble mucilaginous polysaccharides, which are soothing and cooling to inflammation within the body, especially the mucous membranes of the gut

– Cooling and astringent, best suited to hot and damp conditions or weather

– An excellent cardiovascular supporter, especially aiding to normalize blood pressure

– Helpful for reducing inflammation in the body, partially by supporting liver pathways

– A loving nervine, supporting the central nervous system and burnout (perfect for the end of summer after you’ve been running around and burning the candle at both ends!)

I hope you’re staying cool as we enter the late summer heat and humidity – keep your herbal allies on hand to support you and keep you going as you enjoy the sun and time with those you cherish! x

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