Teas have long been a staple of the human diet, and, in some cultures, teas have been used for medicinal benefits, too. Unfortunately, in our society that relies more on pharmaceuticals for maintaining health, natural remedies have become less commonly used, and knowledge of them can be harder to come by.
Fortunately, we’re here to help with some of that, and, in that spirit, Steve Nubie gives us six teas that you can make from backyard plants:
1. Hyssop or wild mint. This is an anti-viral decoction that is more of a preventative measure, but it can help if you have a cold or flu. Once again, this is not a cure, but it can help with symptoms and offset the advance of an illness.
2. Wild sage (purple sage). This plant covers the prairies across North America. It is a proven anti-inflammatory when infused into a tea. Dry the leaves and crush and soak in the infusion.
3. Willow bark. All willow trees contain a chemical element called “salicin.” It’s the active ingredient in aspirin. The white willow has the highest concentrations in the inner bark. When infused into a tea, this makes for a potent pain reliever. Use in moderation as you learn about the proper dosages.
4. Red clover. This one is easy to spot, and its signature three-leaves and the clover flowers are quite common. As an infused tea, this is a great treatment for coughs and colds. A little honey, maple syrup or sugar tops it off as a natural cough medicine.
5. Sweet violet. They come in colors ranging from white to purple, and the flowers are not only edible but make a great tea when dried in the sun or a food dehydrator. The tea has a natural sweetness and often was used by Native Americans as a treatment for headaches and muscle pain. A little bit of honey helps, but the sweetness of the flowers can suffice.
6. Burdock. The roots of the burdock plant are used to make an infusion when dried. The leaves and stems also can be used, but the roots have the highest concentration of elements that function as a diuretic and blood cleanser.
Fortunately, making teas is a relatively straight-forward process. You simply allow the back or leaf or root to steep in hot water for a prolonged period of time. This allows the warmth of the water to open up pores in the plant to release the beneficial compounds from the plant into the water. Then, depending on your preference, you can drink the tea straight or you can add sugar, honey, salt, and/or milk to taste.
Note, that it’s not uncommon, just like any other supplement that you would take, to have to ingest the tea regularly over a period of time to receive benefits. It’s not uncommon for the body to adjust to using the beneficial compounds in the teas or to build up enough of the compound in the body to begin making use of it on a level that you can consciously notice.
What other herbal teas do you tend to use? Tell us below.