How to Make Tea from Wild Plants
There are a number of great tasting teas (that don’t come in little bags), that you can make yourself from plants that you may come across. During this guide, we are going to be looking at making tea with the following 6 plants:
- Red Clover
- Ground Ivy
- Pine Needles and Spruce Tip
Before heading out to forage for supplies to make your next brew, I recommend that you invest in a good foraging guide to help make sure that you are only harvesting safe plants from your area.
Warning: Never collect plants from areas that have been sprayed with pesticides.
Different people respond to wild teas differently so only drink your teas in small quantities first to see how your body responds.
There are many teas that can be brewed from plants and lots of them have different medicinal qualities. To extract as much of this as possible, combine a handful of fresh herbs with 1-4 cups of boiled, filtered water. Depending on how strong you find the flavour of the finished result, you may choose to adjust these quantities. For a much more intense flavour, you want to be letting these steep for at least several hours (though you can drink sooner if you wish.)
Both the twigs and leaves of the birch tree make for a great wild tea. Birch is considered a good detoxifier and contains anti-inflammatory compounds helpful in treating pain from conditions like arthritis. For the best flavour, go for the young twigs and leaves.
Clover blossoms are great for adding natural sweetness to your tea. They have been used by herbalists to treat hormonal issues as well as benefitting cholesterol levels. Go for the brightly coloured flowers before they start turning brown.
Ground Ivy is a member of the mint family and has a strong flavour (some find it overpowering.) It is rich in vitamin C and anti-inflammatory compounds and is used for treating pain and respiratory illness. If you find the flavour to be too much, try just adding small amounts to your other wild teas.
Dandelions are known to be an effective detoxifier. Many people enjoy dandelion roots or leaves as an herbal substitute for coffee. Harvesting and drying the root for use in tea takes a bit of effort, but its rich flavour and health benefits are worth the work. Mix with the dried leaves for a rich and nourishing tea.
Don’t worry, this won’t hurt. Stinging nettles are an all-round tonic and immune system booster. It can also be used for treating pain, seasonal allergies, and anemia. Nettles dry well so you can put it up ready for the winter when it will come in really handy for much needed immune system boost.
Pine Needles and Spruce Tip
Most pine, spruce, and fir trees have many edible parts. They are high in vitamins C and A, and are available all throughout the year. The mature needles can be quite bitter so go for the young ones for a lighter flavour. The new growth of the spruce tree is usually used for making tea. Chop or crush needles to help release the flavor.
Once you start foraging, you will find that there are many plants out there that make great tasting teas. Purchase a local foraging guide, stay safe, and more importantly, have fun.