Medical advice should be considered if pregnant
So I’ve been asked to put some ideas down on foraged teas , and to be honest I’m flattered that someone holds my writing in high enough regards to ask so I hope I do a decent job,
Firstly why bother with foraged tea ? Well actually I like to think of them as herb infusions and is a great way to take advantage of the nutrients and minerals found all around in our foraged plants , many of them not only having nutritional benefits but many medicinal attributes as well.
I’ve enjoyed infusions with a lot of people and many of them are quite surprised when they drink them , and most share the feeling of immediate lift which is felt upon drinking .
Many people will say that there is a difference between tea and infusions as infusions are generally left for much longer to seep ( over night normally ) which is technically true but it sounds better than ‘tea’ .
What I think I will share first is my method of making the teas which I will add is best off in a pot with a lid ,
I never allow the water to boil after I’ve added my chosen flora but it is essential that the water added is of boiling temperature to enable the nutritional value to be released I like to leave any mix for at least fifth-teen minutes but to get the best from the mix I make enough for a whole day ,
The most important thing to remember is that a foraged tea doesn’t have to be complicated it can be as simple as what’s found to hand within a accessible area ,
The other thing I am aware of is that when people think of foraged tea they quite understandably dismiss fungi as a tea which is bizarre as chaga tea is one of the most popular herbal teas available on the market today I’m thinking that it is because it is slightly more time consuming with its preparation ( I’m purposely not adding it as It deserve a write up itself ) .
I’m going to list some of the plants I regularly use including its health attributes and my perceived tastes I’m keeping it with the most common ones I feel are accessible to all of us this is not a definitive guide as there are many many more plants that can be utilised in the same way . Also some of the plants have other and indeed more medicinal qualities than I have listed as I’ve tried to keep it as a basic guide .
Common stinging nettle , (Urtica dioica)
Medical uses : a diuretic and astringent and is good to help with water infections , kidney trouble and water retention , in history was used as a diuretic and laxative .( use only young nettle tops as when in seed the nettle produces Cystolith which will actually irritate the urinary tract .
Taste : very rich green taste strong in flavour
Yarrow , ( Achillea millefolium )
Medical uses : yarrow has many medicinal uses and is somewhat of a good all round plant which is regarded in many medical circles but is one of the few plants that can ease the symptoms of colds and flu rather than a preventative ,
Taste : very bitter needs a sweet accompanying flavour ,
Rose hips ,
Medicinal uses: full of vit C used in cold and flu prevention ,immune system strengthener , digestion aiding , stimulates circulation which in turn helps keep your heart healthy .
Taste : sweet slightly sour very pleasant
Mint , any of our wild mints ,
Medicinal uses : mint has traditionally been used to treat fevers , head aches and sore throats , is also a digestive aid .
Taste : well minty ( laughs )
Meadow sweet , ( Filipendula ulmaria )
Medicinal uses , used to treat head aches and pains in generally due to its natural salicylic acid content which is the chemical found in willow trees used to make aspirin . Also is a good anti inflammatory .
Taste : I find other than a pleasant flowery smell it has a slight nutty taste .
Ground ivy , ( Glechoma hederacea )
Medicinal uses : is used to clean the lungs and treat coughs , so good for people sat around the camp fire , has been used to treat arthritis and joint pain
Taste : bitter and a slight heat ,
Elderflower / berries
( you need to harvest this to use continuously syrups or cordials are nice )
Medicinal uses : it is used to purify the blood and is a immune system strengthener also continuous use has been proven to reduce the effects of hay fever ( combined with yarrow is used to help with fevers )
Taste : sharper than a blackberries the flowers have a nice fresh taste
Fennel ( Foeniculum vulgare )
Medicinal uses : fennel tea is used to treat excess wind yes flatulence which I’m sure will come in handy for most , it also is a immune system enhancer and if the seeds are used they contain antioxidants ,
Taste : aniseed strong overpowering ,
Chamomile ( Matricaria chamomilla )
Medicinal uses : chamomile is probably one of the most commonly used alternative teas and has been used for it’s calming qualities in children throughout history but also helps with soothing stomach problems .
Taste : it to me is like a cross between fresh grass and deodorant
There is no limit on how many different plants that can be added to your tea or even which ones should be used we all have different tastes and needs and what is pleasing for one may not be for others ,
I also want to add that in nearly all of my teas I use honey to sweeten the taste and I feel it enhances the flavours and when I’m using some of the more bitter of tangy flavours I add ginger .
I also want to add that the normal care needs to be taken when foraging and ingesting any wild produce and that I am no expert and the medical attributes listed are not intended as medical treatments by myself and as for any health issues a medical qualified person should be consulted