See the Forest for the Teas

With fall just around the corner, try out some teas made from plants native to our local forests!

For a little something different in your mug, try making tea out of one of the Northwest’s many native plants. Douglas fir, Grand fir, Stinging nettle, and Nootka rose are all great options, and the process is relatively simple.

To brew these teas: collect, wash, and chop your fir needles, Stinging nettle leaves, or Nootka rose hips (the seed pods on rose shrubs that are turning orange this time of year). Use gloves while foraging to protect your hands from getting pricked or stung. Add to boiling water and let it steep for 5-10 minutes before straining out the plants. Add sugar to taste and enjoy your tea hot or iced!

These teas are not only tasty, but a good source of vitamins, antioxidants and immune boosters, too. Read more below on the health benefits, tastes, and recipes of our native plant teas, and try brewing a batch of your own!

Fir Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of fresh Douglas or Grand fir needles
  • Cream
  • Honey

Health Benefits and Taste:

Douglas and Grand fir needles contain a decent amount of Vitamin C and A, and they can help with congestion and the flu. When thrown into a hot bath, fir needles can help treat muscle pain.

Citrus taste.

Stinging Nettle Tea

Ingredients:

  • Stinging nettle leaves (1 cup if pressed down)
  • Beets
  • Lemon juice
  • Ice

Health Benefits and Taste:

Though unpleasant against bare skin, Stinging nettles can in fact give our bodies a ton of nutrients. This green leafy plant is a superfood that contains antioxidants as well as Vitamin A and K. Because it is good for allergies, this plant is often made into pill form.

Spinach-like taste on its own, but more earthy when paired with lemon and beets.

Nootka Rose Tea

Ingredients:

  • Rose hips (preferably mature and red in color); roughly 6 rose hips for one cup of tea
  • Cream
  • Honey

Health Benefits and Taste:

Rose tea is a good source of Vitamin C, A, and E. It also smooths your cortisol levels (the anxiety hormone) so a cup at night can help calm you down before sleep. Many people use rose products, including lotions and toners, to hydrate and heal skin.

Bittersweet floral taste.

 

Please note – foraging in Seattle Parks is not permitted, and not all plants in our forested areas are safe to consume. Do not eat any plants unless you know it is safe to eat and you are confident you have identified it accurately. Here are some links you can use to identify the native plants listed above:

Article adapted courtesy of Green Seattle.

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