I was first introduced to the idea of steeping a nettle infusion overnight to maximize the nutritional punch through the writings of herbalist Susun Weed. It’s a way to make a very concentrated infusion, and (in my experience) works really well for other nourishing herbs like oatstraw, chickweed, and red clover, too.
Other herbalists seem to prefer the term “Nourishing Herbal Infusion” to describe this type of preparation, but c’mon. That’s a mouthful, and for some reason strikes me as the sort of pseudo-pious “healthier than thou” nonsense that I prefer to avoid. I do, however like the phrase “Overnight Steep.” It’s more Plain English-y, and much more casual- but just as healthy.
I also prefer to make mine in smaller quantities, two tablespoons of herb to 8 oz of water vs an ounce of herb to a quart of water at a time. That way my brew stays fresh- otherwise I rarely manage to drink it all before it goes bad.
I have several different blends that I use to switch up my morning routine, and the recipes and directions for making three of my best are below. Without further ado, I give you the directions for making an overnight steep, and the recipes for my Hedgerow, Meadow, and Highland blends! Each recipe is given in "parts" so that you can easily change the size of the batch. For a small batch, try teaspoons or tablespoons. For a large batch, use cups.
Hedgerow Overnight Steep
Based on mineral rich nettle, this blend is full of herbs used traditionally to soothe and comfort during allergy season, but it makes a very nice blend any time of year.
Nettle leaf (4 parts)
Red Clover blossoms (3 parts)
Goldenrod (1 part)
Elderflower (1 part)
Elderberry (1 part)
Meadow Overnight Steep
Oatstraw is an herb with a reputation for nourishing the nervous system, and rose petals are another traditional nervine. Raspberry leaf is a lovely women’s tonic, and the rose hips add a little refreshing tartness to the blend.
Oatstraw (2 parts)
Red Raspberry Leaf (2 parts)
Red Rose Petals (1 part)
Rose Hips (1 part)
Plantain was held in very high regard in the traditional herbalism of the British Isles, and it’s also a wild edible that can be added to soups or steamed like a green. Heather flowers, another unique British Isles botanical, add their delicate flavor. Peppermint adds zip and nettles add even more nutritional zing.
Plantain leaf (3 parts)
Peppermint (1 part)
Heather flowers (1 part)
Nettle (1 part)
How To Make an Overnight Steeping Blend
Making an overnight steep starts the same as any tea: with the blend of dry ingredients! Place the ingredients for your overnight steep recipe into a large mixing bowl and use a wooden spoon or clean hands to mix the ingredients together.
Transfer the herbal blend to a clean, airtight container (I prefer glass canning jars). Attach a label with the date and the name of the blend, or write this information on the lid with a marker. Most blends will stay fresh for several months if kept out of direct sunlight, so be sure to store in a cool, dark pantry.
Brewing an Overnight Steep
To make a serving of your overnight steep, bring one cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in 2 tablespoons of your blend. Place the lid on the saucepan and allow it to cool. Transfer the saucepan to the refrigerator to steep overnight. Allowing the tea to steep overnight in the refrigerator once it has cooled helps to prevent any potential bacterial growth.
In the morning, strain the herbs from your overnight steep using a coffee filter or a mesh strainer. Pour the steep into your favorite mug and enjoy it cool, or return it to the saucepan over low heat until it is warm. Sweeten with honey if desired.
Enjoying Your Steep
Although I love my overnight steeps, they may or may not be right for you. Some of the herbs used in these blends may not be compatible with prescription medications, so be sure to check in with your doctor or an experienced herbalist about your specific situation if you are on a prescription. Also, kids and pregnancy aren't my forte, so I can't speak to the steeps' safety in those cases. Be sure check in with your doula, midwife and/or doctor if you are expecting.
Remember: it is only when we show care and respect for our herbal allies that they partner with us for our best health!
All the Best,