Fermented Fireweed Tea
Fireweed is in full bloom which means we're in the heart of summer! Fireweed, also widely known as willow herb, is an easily identifiable native plant that stands up to 8 feet tall with prominent purple to deep pink flowers that bloom in July and August. It favors roadsides, wastelands, logged clearings and usually one of the first plants to grow after a forest fire, hence the name. It restores the soil and prepares the forest for regeneration. It is also an important food source for bears, moose, elk and deer as well as pollinating insects and hummingbirds.
This fermented Fireweed tea is not like a regular herbal tea infusion, the leaves will be fermented just like those in black tea, and as a result, you can make a tea very similar to black tea without the caffeine and addictive properties. The fermentation process works its magic to create a deeper, more fruity flavor.
Fireweed tea has a long history in Russia being used for medicinal purposes. Its also known as Ivan Tea. Fireweed became popular in the 17th century because it was an easily accessible wild plant growing abundantly in nature making it a cheaper alternative to "proper tea".
Fireweed is just as beautiful as it is powerful, Fireweed is rich in antioxidants that benefit the entire body. The digestive system, the urinary system, the circulatory system, the heart, the brain, the endocrine system, immune system, the lungs, and the skin. It is both a tonic and a nutritive. Fireweed is an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Fireweed is such a great herb to connect with. Eating and drinking wild foods align us with the season. Be sure to check out the Fireweed monograph in the herbarium section of the website. Coming soon!
This is a tasty tonic with a deep, fruity flavor and no caffeine! Drink after your morning coffee on cold days with a little honey and a splash of cream. It has become my bedtime drink.
The entire plant is edible. Try the fresh fragrant flowers! Harvest them as soon as they open. They contain sweet nectar that make a delicious cup of tea. They can also be dried for later use. Harvest the shoots in early spring (may) when they are just 6 to 12 inches high and plant as a potherb. The mature stalk can be used as cordage, during and after flowering. Harvest the roots in the fall.
Fireweed is known as Chamaenerion angustifolium in Europe and Epilobium angustifolium elsewhere.