How to prepare a herbal infusion
How to prepare a herbal infusion
Herbs are the most interesting part of cosmetics. Herbs have mysterious powers that help our skin with minor problems and sometimes even bigger ones as well. Although herbs and other plants are commonly used in all cosmetics, their ultimate features are unknown. One plant can contain hundreds of different phytochemicals that work together on your skin. The different chemicals in the plant should never be separated. So always use only extracts made from genuine, pure, organic plants in your cosmetics. Now I will show you how to prepare a herbal infusion.
Another important thing I must mention to you is the strength of the extracts. Never use too strong herbal infusion. As a cosmetics manufacturer, you are responsible for product safety. Too strong blend of herbs does more harm than good.
The best way to use herbs in cosmetics is to add herbal extracts to creams, lotions and masks. There are many ways to extract herbs. This time I will teach you how to make a genuine herbal infusion. Infusion means making extracts from plants using either cold or hot water, practically tea.
Herbal infusions are quick to make. However, different plants have their own tricks and do require their own extracting methods.
Reclaim the secret powers of the plants
To get the most out of the herbs, you first need absolutely clean, strictly organic or wild plants. Mass produced plants contain considerable amounts of residues of pesticides and other harmful chemicals. Avoid skin contact with toxic chemicals as much as possible.
Get herbs and plants from a well-known organic producer
Many plants are available ready-dried and even organic. For example, Mountain Rose Herbs is a great place to buy dried herbs.
Naturally you can grow the herbs yourself. Then you can be sure of the quality of the herbs.
You can use both dried and fresh herbs for the plant and herbal infusion. However, do not mix dry and fresh plants. They require different treatment.
Here are some plants suitable for making the infusion – just to get the idea
- Dried or fresh peel of organic citrus fruits
- All dried or fresh organic herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram and mint
- Wild herbs, dried or fresh; plantain, antennaria dioica, common yarrow, burdock, alchemilla… there are countless alternatives
- Roses from your own garden, dried or fresh. Do not use roses bought from flower shop as they are full of chemicals. There are pre-dried organic quality rose buds also available.
- Some berries and fruits. For example, sea buckthorn berry is a good berry for skin care due to its high vitamin C content. Lingonberry is also widely used in skin care.
- Dried or fresh organic vegetables such as cabbage and carrots.
There are a huge number of other suitable plants. You can come up with more options yourself.
Here’s how to prepare a herbal infusion
Carefully clean the plants you have chosen. Even dried plants can be rinsed first by pouring boiling water over them.
- For cleaning, put the plants in a strainer, pour a cup of boiling water over the plants and immediately pour the water away.
If you want to make an infusion using cold water, rinse the plants only with cold water
How much plants do I need?
There are no rules about how much plants and water should be used. So, it’s up to you to decide the strength of the infusion. I personally recommend using mild extracts. The skin is a sensitive organ and may not tolerate very strong extracts, especially when used continuously. Even the mass produced so-called natural cosmetics contain only very little herbal extracts due to allergies and hypersensitivity.
I have personally prepared extracts using either 1 tablespoon of dried herbs or 2 tablespoons of fresh herbs, and 2.5 dl (8,45 fl oz) water. Such an extract is medium strength and should not irritate normal skin. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should use much milder extract.
Basic instructions for making a hot infusion
Most herbs are suitable for hot infusion. So, you can make an herbal infusion like tea
- Put the cleaned plants on a tea strainer and pour the hot water, boiling is ok.
- Let the herbs simmer covered with a lid, for about 20 minutes.Filter the infusion carefully.
- If you have used raspberry leaves, use a cloth or coffee filter. Raspberry leaves have tiny spikes that you really don’t want to your product.
How to make herbal infusion by boiling
You can boil plants that are very mineral-rich like nettle. Nettle can also be infused following the basic instructions in case you do not want minerals to be extracted. However, nettle minerals are very effective and helpful in skin and hair care. Nettle contains high amounts of silicon (pi), which do not dissolve without boiling.
Roots of wild herbs
Few minutes boiling of the roots of natural herbs is beneficial. All hard plant parts release their active ingredient only after 5-10 minutes of boiling. You can also make an alcohol extract from the hard parts of the plant. However, it takes several weeks for the alcohol extract to finish, so boiling saves time.
Instructions how to prepare a herbal infusion:
- Put the cleaned, shredded nettles in a saucepan.
- One litre (0,26 US gal) of fresh nettles is suitable quantity.
- You can also use ½ a litre (0,13 US gal) of dried nettle.
- Pour 2 litres (0,53 US gal) of water on top
- Boil nettles for 10 minutes and remove
- Let it cool down, keep the lid on. from the hot plate
- Strain the liquid and use the result, the herbal infusion for cosmetics and hair care.
How to make the cold infusion
Some plants suit particularly well for cold infusion. These include, for example, green tea, mallow, berries high in vitamin C such as sea buckthorn and lingonberry. Some plants contain ingredients that will be easily destroyed in the heat. In addition, some plants contain unwanted ingredients we do not want that will be infused by hot water. Green tea is very rich in vitamin C. However, vitamin C will be destroyed in the heat.
The Mallows are moisturizing
The idea using mallow in skin care is its excellent ability to moisturize the skin. Moisturizing elements of mallow dissolve in cold water, but many skin-irritating phytochemicals do not. By doing the cold infusion for mallow, you can get a skin moisturizing ingredient for your product, suitable for sensitive skin, but no irritating ingredients.
Some plants are not suitable for the cold infusion at all. Imagine you are preparing a nettle extract by using cold infusion. Nettles stinging hairs that burns the skin, are destroyed when boiling, but cold nettle is still a nettle and can burn your skin badly.
- For the cold process you need ½ a litre (0,13 US gal) of boiled, then chilled water.
- Put 1dl (3,38 fl oz) of suitable, cleaned plants in a container and pour the water on top
- Put the container in the refrigerator and let it stay for 1 day.
- Strain the extract
- Use in cosmetics
You can use these three ways to make herbal infusions. They are easy and quick ways to get the natural power of the plants into cosmetics. Feel free to try different herbs for cosmetics. There is not too much information available so it is up to us to test and find new combinations.
I would like to hear about your experience. What plants have you infused and what products have you made of them? You can comment on the comment section below this story or on my Facebook page: helenature cosmetics.
Thank you for reading!