As we explained earlier this week, fall is a perfect time to help yourself to Mother Nature’s medicine cupboard and harvest fresh medicinal plants. While the three medicinal plants we highlighted — dandelion root, stinging nettle, and mint — are delicious when enjoyed or cooked fresh, turning these medicinal plants into an herbal tea lets you sip them all winter long and enjoy their immunity- and wellness-enhancing effects. Here’s how!
Medicinal Plants: Dandelion Root Tea
This tea makes a great caffeine-free substitute for coffee and has a nutty, roasted flavor when prepared just right. It’s also high in immune-enhancing vitamins and minerals, plus lots of inulin fiber that helps power-up your gut bacteria, improve your digestion, and help to manage your blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
4½ tsp dried dandelion root
2 cups water
2 tbsp grass-fed butter
1/2 tsp dried ginger powder
In an empty pot, add the dandelion root. Set your stovetop’s heat to medium and toast the dandelion root until it’s golden brown and has a nutty fragrance. Pour in the water, butter and ginger and boil for half an hour. Enjoy hot. You can also add your favorite coffee additives, such as cream or a natural sweetener.
Medicinal Plants: Stinging Nettle Tea
Stinging nettle is very high in a diverse array of polyphenols. It’s well-established in the research community that polyphenols have wide-ranging health benefits, such as fighting inflammation, reducing cellular damage, and minimizing your risks of many common diseases and chronic ailments.
While you can buy pre-made nettle tea in teabags, simply pick some fresh leaves from your garden or from a wooded area free of pesticide and herbicide exposure. The following recipe is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. However, keep in mind that the flavor of nettle leaves will reflect your location and the specific soil conditions the medicinal plants grew in. You may find yourself craving more or less flavor, so simply increase or decrease the amount of leaves you choose to use.
2 cups of fresh stinging nettle leaves
4 cups of water
1 tsp of honey
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Fill a pot with four cups of water. Bring to a boil and add the stinging nettle leaves. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and let the stinging nettle steep for five to 10 minutes. Scoop out the stinging nettle leaves and discard or throw them in your compost (a strainer can make this easy). Add the honey and cinnamon and enjoy!
Medicinal Plants: Mint Tea
Fresh mint is bursting with flavor, and this recipe creates a far more robust tea than what you would normally get when grabbing a store-bought mint teabag. Like the other medicinal plants listed in today’s recipes, mint leaves – and specifically the nutrient-rich oil in the leaves – are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants. If you want to experiment with other flavors, consider picking and trying varieties like chocolate mint, lavender mint or even licorice mint.
2 cups filtered water
15-20 fresh mint leaves
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 lemon slice
Bring the water to a boil in a pot, then remove the pot from the heat and toss in the freshly harvested mint leaves. Let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain out the leaves. Add a dash of lemon juice and honey, garnish with a lemon slice, and enjoy!