Herbs for Pets

Herbal Infusions

How to Make Medicinal Herbal Tea for Pets

Herbs can be administered to veterinary patients in a variety of ways. Tea (water infusions) are popular amongst pet owners because they are easy to make and most active constituents of herbal medicines are water soluble, making this a valuable method of internal application for its healing tonic effect. Herbal infusions can also be used externally as a compress for wounds, an eyewash for infected eyes, mouth wash for painful, sore gums, a foot soak for yeasty, itchy feet, to dry up hot spots and as an insect repellent.

From the very beginning of herbal pharmacy, herbalists throughout the world have favored the simple water infusion of herbs as their predominate form of extracting the medicinal properties of the plants. Only within this last 100 years has there been an emphasis on making stronger alcohol and or glycerin solvent tinctures and other highly concentrated botanical extracts.

A properly prepared herbal infusion is not merely a cup of tea, it is a quick method for preparing and administering an easily assimilated herbal tonic, medicine, food which also helps supply water for keeping the body properly hydrated, as well as providing appropriate materials for pro-biotic proliferation in the intestinal tract.

How to Make an Herbal Infusion

Equipment

French Press

French Press or Infusion-Pot

The most suitable vessels for making infusions would be a glass infusion-pot or French Press. What ever you choose to use should allow the herbs to float or be contained within the top section of the water, similar to the image shown. The advantage of this kind of design is that it allows for the herbs to be efficiently exhausted by circulator displacement. This occurs as the molecules of the water become charged with the soluble ingredients of the plant. While steeping, the herb is constantly subjected to gravity and impregnates the water during circulation. This goes on until all of the soluble plant matter is completely extracted and the water becomes fully saturated. You could also use a tea bag or a tea ball. Just make sure the herb-filled bag or ball is held in the upper part of the water in order to accomplish the full benefits of the principles of circulatory displacement. Note: Never stir the herb in the water. This is especially important when making a cold water infusion.
Tea Strainer

Stainless Steel Strainer

You won’t need one of these if you use a French Press (the strainer and press are built in). Otherwise, at the end of the process you will need to strain the infusion and press any remaining water out of the marc (herbs). You can accomplish this by using the back of a spoon to press the herbs left in the strainer. Any bulky herbs and flowers will retain a considerable proportion of the medicinal extract, and this will be lost if the herb is not pressed.
Storage Jar

Storage Jar

A 1 quart or pint size covered glass jar for storage (a Mason or Ball canning jar with a lid works very well).

Methods of Preparation

Hot Infusion

Hot infusions are made of 1 part (1 ounce) dried. coarsely ground herb or 2 parts (50 grams) fresh bruised herb added to 20 parts (1 pint) of boiling water.

1. Put the herb into a suitable glass container (with a lid).

2. Pour boiling water over the herb.

3. Cover the container tightly, and let it stand for 15 to 30 minutes in a warm place.

4. Strain and press out the pulp pouring the liquid back into the infusion. Bulky herbs and flowers like Red Clover blossoms, Mullein leaves or Chamomile will retain a considerable proportion of the herbs medicinal extract and this would be lost if the herbs are not pressed.

5. Add enough hot water (pouring it through the pressed herb) to bring the infusion back up to 1 pint.

Herbs That Prepare Well in a Hot Infusion

Cayenne (use only a pinch), Chamomile, Cleavers, Comfrey leaf, Dandelion leaf, Elder flower & berry, Fennel, crushed seed, Ginger, dry, Ginkgo, Goldenseal ‘leaf’, dry (Goldenseal root is not soluble enough in water to be prepared as a tea), Hawthorn leaf, flower, and berry, Mugwort, Mullein leaf, Nettle herb, Oat straw, Peppermint, Plantain, St. John’s Wort, Saw Palmetto berries, Scullcap recently dried, Valerian, Yarrow.

Cold Infusion

Cold infusions are made of 1 part (1 ounce) dried. coarsely ground herb or 2 parts (50 grams) fresh bruised herb added to 20 parts (1 pint) of cold water.

1. Put the herb into the water and let it stand covered overnight at room temperature. When making a cold infusion we recommend that the herb be contained in a small cotton pouch, suspended in the water overnight, and squeezed out when the infusion process is finished.

2. Strain, and press the herb.

4. If necessary, add enough cold water to the infusion to bring it back up to measure 1 pint.

Herbs That Prepare Well in a Cold Infusion

Burdock root, Chamomile, Cleavers, Comfrey root, Marshmallow root, Nettle root or whole herb, Peppermint, Uva Ursi, Slippery elm.

Check It Out

For a complete guide in learning how to give an herbal remedy, repeat the dose and how long to administer the medicines view the Herbs to the Rescue Treatment Charts for Dogs, Cats, Horses, Birds, Pet Rats and Urban Chickens.



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