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"Teas From Plants Around You And Their Benefits"

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"Teas From Plants Around You And Their Benefits"

This is an excellent resource in preparedness. I have harvested herbs for teas but not nearly as much wild items found in this article.


Teas From Plants Around You And Their Benefits


All teas unless specified are brewed with 1 teaspoon dry material or 2 teaspoons fresh material to 1 cup of water.

Always steep. This means pouring hot water over material and letting set for 5 - 15 minutes. Always dry leaves and roots out of the sun, in dark airy places. Then store in airtight containers.

Persimmon Tea: The leaves when dried and crushed make a fine strong tea. Can be used all year round. Rich in vitamin C. Used as a healthful tonic.

Sassafras Tea: Boil fresh roots after washing, until water turns reddish brown. Can be sliced and dried for later use. Claimed by some to be a blood thinner, a blood purifier, to help bronchitis, a stimulating spring tonic. Mostly it is used for pure enjoyment.

Birch Tea (Wintergreen): Black, yellow and white birch. Dried leaves can be used year round. A large handful of fresh leaves steeped in hot water was drunk 1 to 2 cups a day for rheumatism and headaches. Said to reduce pain of passing kidney stones, and a fever reducer. Cold it was used as a mouthwash.

Blackberry/Raspberry Tea: The dried mature leaves of these brambles make a good tea. Used to help control diarrhea, as a blood purifier and tonic. Use all year round.

Blueberry Tea: The dried mature leaves are steeped until cool and drunk 1 to 2 cups per day as a blood purifier and tonic. Also used to help inflamed kidneys and increase the flow of urine. Somewhat bitter. Use all year round.

Alfalfa Tea: The dried and powdered leaves and flower heads make a very nutritious tea, but it is somewhat bland. We suggest mixing them with normal teas to stretch them and add nutrition. Its vitamin content was the reason it was used. Used all year round.

Wild Strawberry Tea: Use dried leaves normally. Pour several cups boiling water over a handful of fresh leaves in the evening. Cover and let steep overnight. Strain water and reheat in the morning. Believed to help with a multitude of things, from stomach troubles, eczema, diarrhea, etc. According to experts, it is much more healthful than purchased coffee or teas. Use all year round.

Wild Rose-Hip Tea: A handful of these steeped for 10 minutes, then strained, make a healthful tea. Can be used dried or fresh in season. Instead of boiling, place a handful in cool water overnight, then stain and reheat in the morning. Use all year round. Strong Vitamin C content. Helps with Colds and the flu.

Also for sore throat.

Sweet Goldenrod Tea (Anise): Can use dried or fresh leaves or flowers. Makes a very flavorful tea. Pure enjoyment only!! Used all year round.

The original page can be found on-line at http://www.pioneerthinking.com/teas.html



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There is a caution here:

Fresh stawberry leaves can be poisonous. ALWAYS use dried leaves!!!!



Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when

our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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No, Shepherd, I wish I had a book with this valuable knowledge smile.gif I have herb books but it doesn't list many of these common items found naturally.

I found this article on the pioneer thinking website.

The original page can be found on-line at http://www.pioneerthinking.com/teas.html


Thanks ((((Lois))))) for the safety information on using fresh strawberry leaves for tea. Dried is a must...do you know if it is the same with rasberry leaves??....I know rasberry leaves is beneficial for menstrual and hormonal health for women.



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Not to ask a stupid question......but.....you mean the leaves as in the green things that stick out of the plants.......you can use the leaves.....that's pretty cool! (i assume as long as there are no pesticides used on em)......And how does drying the leaves kill the poison??????

This is interesting!

ps.....i'm ashamed to sign my name...but you all know i'm not the brightest bulb in the box!




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Debbielee, I'm not exactly sure how some tea leaves lose their poison tendencies when dried...I'll have to study more and get back to you. smile.gif

Good question, Deblyn!!


Rose Hips...like its cousin, the apple, a rose produces a fruit we call a "hip" or the ripened ovary. The hip is that portion of the rose in which the seeds of future generations are produced. And like the apple or most any fruit, the hip can be used in several ways by the successful gardener.



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Strawberry is the only fresh leaf that I know of that is poisonous. When dried it loses it's toxicity along with the moisture.



Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when

our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

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So, is the "hip" that orange ball that is on the rose bush? Or? confused.gif How do you make tea out of it? Do you dry it...boil it...cut it open...???? I am sorry if I sound dumb...but I am! shocked.gif

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I have always hated looking stupid! I remember in school I wouldn't ask questions because I thought I was supposed to know it and something was wrong with me. So, I guess I have decided to make up for lost time! Ha! Ha!

And no, I am not blond......

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  • 1 month later...

Ginger there are some lovely recipes there - thanks for posting it.

I use rose hips a lot - we have climbing roses all over the back of the house so we get a good crop of hips every year. I mainly use them to make and bottle (can) rosehip syrup as the hips contain 20 times as much vit C as oranges and then give it to the children during the winter as they love the taste. It's really yummy on ice cream too. I have made rosehip wine and rosehip soup as well in the past but I've never tried tea - I'm all out of hips now but I will definately do so next year.

As far as the leaves go, I was taught at college that the reason dried strawberry leaves are usually suggested is because they are fine when they are TOTALLY fresh but the minute they start to age at all they produce toxins as part of the aging/decaying process. As it's difficult to be sure when a leaf is completely fresh, dried leaves are usually recommended as once you've dried them they're not 'decaying' any more so don't produce the harmful toxins.

I hope that makes a bit of sense - having re-read it I'm not sure it does??


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Thanks for explaining about the strawberry leaves toxins increasing when dried. Makes better sense to me smile.gif

Your rose gardens sound lovely! I dream of being able to grow roses like that someday. I have never harvested rose hips....and your bounty and varied uses makes me want to all the more, but I need to start the roses first smile.gif We are in the process of selling our home so I am not adding anything else to the existing gardens...with our poor soil here, I am only able to grow minature roses successfully.



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  • 2 weeks later...

I wish I could take credit for the roses Ginger but they were already beautiful when we moved in. I do love making things out of items I find in the garden or forage when I'm out. It's so rewarding isn't it to make something with your own hands.

Good luck with the house sale and I apologise for being so slow to answer but I've hurt my back and can't manage at the computer very well at the moment.

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  • 3 years later...

Hi Ginger, Great link.


Just thought I'd mention that domestic strawberry leaves are great dried for a tea also. Has the same medicinal properties. And rose hips, off all roses are tasty but the rosa rugosa has the largest hips on them. The larger hips make a great syrup or jelly too. For those of you who buy organic lemons and oranges (well technically you can use inorganic ones too but be sure to wash wash wash them) the peel,minus some of the white pithy parts as they are sort of bitter, can be dried in small squares and used to flavor teas. I love to put a whole clove through each piece before I dry it and then pop some into a cup of hot tea. It gives it a wonderful spicy citrus taste.


While I'm on a roll....you can dry apple peels for tea also. Dry the peels in either a dehydrator or just in a warm spot on a cookie sheet until they are sort of leathery but not crisp. They will store quite well in an air tight container that way. For a unique taste, I like to take some of them and put them on a cookie sheet in a single layer in a 300 degree oven and let them 'roast' until dark brown. Watch them so they don't burn. When you cool them these will be crisp. Use about a quarter cup of peel per cup of hot water, add a bit of honey and some cinnamon if you want or stir it with a cinnamon stick. Mother



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  • 2 weeks later...







(Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2001)




The first time Martha Wida made a cup of herbal tea from her garden, she was pleasantly surprised.




"That was by far the best cup of tea I'd ever had," said Wida, a University of California master gardener. "Like home-grown tomatoes, herbal tea from your garden can't compare to what you find in the market. It's delicious."




Besides being tasty, fresh herbal teas also have medicinal value, said Tess Calhoun, a member of the Orange County Herb Society.




"Mint and chamomile tea, for instance, are known for calming the stomach and aiding in digestion, and they're both really easy to grow in the garden," said Calhoun.




"Herbal teas are very helpful for those people trying to live a healthier lifestyle," agreed registered dietitian Susan Weiner of Merrick, N.Y., a nutritionist for the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. "Teas made from the garden are calming, soothing, taste great and are calorie-free. Iced herbal tea is the perfect alternative to preservative-laden soda."




Growing and brewing your own herbal tea is easy. Many good tea herbs such as mint, chamomile, basil, lemon balm and anise hyssop grow quickly if planted at this time of year.




Mixing your own blends is also a treat, said Renee Shepherd, owner of Felton-based Renee's Garden seeds, which carries a variety of herb seeds.




"Creating herbal tea blends is considered an art, and those professionals who create tea mixes are highly paid," said Shepherd. "Dream up your own fabulous blends fresh from the garden."




To create your own herbal tea, keep the following tips in mind.




Figure on 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs for each cup of tea, or 1 to 2 tablespoons of dry herbs per cup. To make a four-cup pot of tea, you'll need 8 to 12 tablespoons of fresh herbs or 4 to 8 tablespoons of dried. Iced tea requires more herbs because you'll be diluting it with ice. Try 4 tablespoons fresh or 2 tablespoons dried per cup.




To make the best pot of herbal tea possible, start with cool water and bring just to an audible rolling boil. Rinse a china or glass tea pot with a small amount of hot water to warm the pot. Add the herbs and fill the pot with hot water. Steep three to five minutes. Use a tea strainer when pouring.




Add any desired sweeteners such as sugar or honey after pouring the tea. Or for an all-herbal approach, put some sweet leaf (stevia) in your herbal tea mix and you won't need any other sweeteners.




Try various additions to your tea, such as lemon or orange slices, juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves and fresh ginger.




Dry excess herbs. Drying herbs allows you to enjoy them when they're not growing in the garden. Most herbs dry easily indoors in a shady area with good air circulation. Hang them upside-down, or dry them on screens. Once dry, strip the herbs from branches and store in tightly sealed glass jars away from strong light. Replace the herbs each season.




GOOD TEA HERBS: You can use just about any herb to create your own tea. The following tend to be widely available and make especially tasty herbal tea.




Anise Hyssop: This herb has a licorice or anise flavor that is especially tasty when combined with mint. Its lavender flowers are attractive to butterflies. Grow from plants or seed in spring and summer in full sun or partial shade.




Basil: Cinnamon and lemon basil are particularly good for making herbal tea. This aromatic annual thrives in hot weather. Grow from seed or plants. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and full-sun or partial shade.




Chamomile: Plant in a bright sunny spot with rich soil and good drainage. The small, daisylike flowers of this low-growing, decorative perennial are used for tea and impart an applelike flavor. Harvest when the blooms are just beginning to open by pinching the flower blossoms off with your fingers.




Fennel: This perennial herb can grow 4 to 6 feet high. It comes in green and bronze varieties. Leaves and seeds lend a sweet licorice flavor to tea. Plant in full sun in rich, well-drained soil.




Lemon Balm: Also known as bee balm, this perennial herb adds a lemon tang to tea. Fresh leaves have the best flavor. It likes rich roil and good drainage. It's best grown from plants, as it is slow to germinate.




Lemon verbena: This 3- to 6--foot deciduous shrub has leaves that impart a strong lemon flavor to tea. Lemon verbena is the main ingredient in the popular Verveine tea sold commercially. The plant likes full sun or bright filtered light and good drainage.




Lemon grass: All parts of this tender perennial are strongly lemon-scented and make an especially tasty lemon tea. Provide full sun and good drainage.




Lemon thyme: This herb creates a tea with warm, lemony undertones. It's a small, shrubby perennial that is easy to grow and prefers dry soil and full sun.




Mint: The cool, refreshing perennial herb comes in a wide variety of flavors, including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, apple, pineapple and orange. It grows almost anywhere, but prefers moist, partially shaded areas. The plant is invasive, so grow it in containers or bordered areas.





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Hey Westbrook.. Great article. Just a couple of suggestions though. First, the amounts she uses to make a cup of tea are pretty heavy, especially if you are not used to herb teas. You might want to start out with some less. I rarely use more than a teaspoon or two of dried product per cup. Second, Lemon balm and Bee balm are two separate herbs. Lemon Balm, Melissa officinalis L. is indeed lemony flavored. But Bee Balm, Monarda didyma is a strong almost minty flavor. They are both good but both different from each other and have different medicinal values. Didn't want anyone to get a surprise in their tea!


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  • 15 years later...

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