Friday, August 9, 2013
How to Make Your Own Echinacea Tea
It's August already and that means fall is around the corner as well as the seasonal onslaught of colds and flu. However, if you have this plant growing in your garden, you can make your own arsenal of flu-fighting goodness for pennies a cup!
Echinacea Purpurea is the above mentioned flower that is used for this medicinal AND delicious tea. This North American native flower is wonderful to include in your garden for many reasons and you can read more about that here. When I first began learning about herbs 20 years ago, this was one of my go-to plants for my family.
I first began using it primarily in conjunction with ear infections. If our boys had an infection, I immediately put them on this tea to help fight it off and to boost their own immune system. I would use my Garlic Oil Ear Remedy to get rid of the infection and used this as a "chaser" to keep the infection away. Our boys began drinking this out of bottles and then sippy cups. They loved it and it is still one of their favorite herbal teas to drink.
How to make this? It's so simple if you have the plants. If you don't, you could always buy the plant parts from a reputable company. The roots of this plant have the strongest medicinal effect, but the leaves and flowers are medicinal too and mild enough for the little ones. I don't want to sacrifice my plants for the roots, plus the work in digging them up, cleaning, drying and cutting them up is a lot of work. I use raw garlic as the main antibiotic and anti-viral fighter and echinacea to build our immune system.
Locate your plants and find the topmost leaves that are free from brown spots, insect bites and anything else. I always use the uppermost leaves as they are newer and less bitter. Select flowers that are the newest blooms. Cut the stem completely away. Place in a dehydrator tray or even a cookie rack that has a grid pattern on it. Put the cookie rack on a cookie sheet to give some air circulation between it. I often just let the leaves air dry in a dark, fairly cool place.
You can use your dehydrator if you like or I've heard of using your car to dry your herbs as well because let's face it, if your car is outside, it gets to be an oven in there. It's so easy to dry your own herbs that it's well worth the effort.
I based my recipe off of the original "Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Tea" by Rosemary Gladstar. So, I also add spearmint and lemongrass to my echinacea. I just so happen to grow a delicious spearmint, so I'll add this to my tray of leaves and flowers to dry.
You can dry the plant parts separately and mix them or dry them together and put them in a nice tin or glass jar when dry. If the jar is clear, make sure to store in a dark place so the herbs don't lose their potency.
I buy lemongrass to add to the mix for flavor, however, I grow lemon balm so this would be a nice addition to the blend as well. The main idea is to have more echinacea than the other herbs in order to get the most benefit. I find the spearmint is just enough with a hint of lemongrass. I found some lemongrass at an Asian market and will dry my own for the blend.
Here's a basic recipe using dried plant parts:
1 part echinacea parts, leaves, flowers, roots
1/4 part lemon grass
1/4 part spearmint leaves (or to taste)
Stevia leaves to taste
Mix and brew at the first sign of cold or flu. Based on the Traditional Medicinal recipe.
There you have it. Your own stash of Echinacea Tea from your own backyard to brew at the first sign of a sniffle during the dark days of winter. I think you'll find yourself going back to this tea time and time again; even if you don't have a cold...blessings!
Do you grow and make your own teas? Do you use Echinacea Tea?
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