Plant Medicine: Spruce Tip Tea

Come September I start boosting my immunue system with a swig of Elderberry syrup – Sambucol- every morning and every evening. That stuff works like magic! I am rarely sick and when I do fall ill it’s so mild I don’t even know I’m ailing.

Take last week for instance. I upped my dose of magic berry juice to 3x a day because I felt a cold coming on. After a week of slightly more snot, a slightly stuffy, itchy nose and a bit of a drier throat I realized THAT was the cold, ha! Thank you Mother Nature for the protection ❤

I was kind of glad to “sick” this year because it gave me an opportunity to try out my Spruce Tips! Do you remember when I harvested them last Spring? You can read that post HERE.

It was so easy, I popped 4 dried tips into a mug, poured some boiling water over top and let the whole thing steep for a bit.

After scooping out a few floaty things – spider eggs?- I took my first sip and got a very mild hint of lemon. I was worried that my brew wasn’t strong enough based on that but I was also worried that my throat wasn’t sore enough either. It turned out they were made for each other because even though the taste was subtle, it was effective. It was exactly the right dose for my throat. I went from having that hint of sore throat feeling to a lovely sort of cool, icy feeling. Almost like when you use an antiseptic numbing spray but not as strong (or annoying).

So that’s a win! Next time I’d use 6 tips instead of 4, just because I want a stronger taste – I like it!-. I might also pick extra tips and infuse them in raw honey over the summer to make a syrup that’s easier to take when I don’t feel like making tea. Raw honey has healing qualities too! Of course I’ll keep you all updated on the results 🙂

Do you have any plant medicine you use and swear by? Tell me all about it!

Plant Medicine – Spruce / Pine Tip Syrup & Tea ala Little Mountain Ranch.

Originally in this spot I was going to write about my experience trying my cannabis spray. Instead, I bring you today’s subject because the spruce trees are growing new tips RIGHT NOW and I wanted to get the information out there for anyone who wants to harvest their own! Cannabis is coming, I promise.

My friend Chelsea, has a YouTube channel where she vlogs about her homesteading lifestyle, amongst other awesome things.

She’s a truly great human being . The kind of person who inspires others and she shares some really awesome stuff.

She’s got a video up this week about making Spruce Tip/Pine Tip syrup. I had no idea a person could do such a thing!

Spruce and Pine tips are really high in vitamin C and while I’m not one for syrup, Chelsea mentions in her video that she also dries some tips for tea. Can you imagine the healing properties in that, right around cold and flu season? Now THAT is totally my jam, so today on my walk I brought along a bag and harvested my own spruce tips!

This is what they look like:

Like Chels says, you want the soft bits on the end and it’s pretty easy to tell the new tips from the old growth because the old growth is really ouchie to touch!

They pull off really easily too and it’s really pleasant to circle a giant tree, quietly picking off bits here and there. It would be wise to choose trees that are not near major roads and of course, it’s probably not a great idea to venture on to private property. I went to a local park that was well away from the road. Don’t take too much and if you’re witchy or so inclined, give the tree your thanks too.

But first, check out Chelsea’s video and channel here @ Little Mountain Ranch, for all the important information. She shares a lot of cool things and like I said, she’s an overall ginchy human you’ll want to get to know better.

I’ve got my tips drying in the sun right now:

And I’ll be back again, when I make my first cup of tea with them! Now get out there and get picking!

T is for *Tea. A-Z Challenge.

Tanzanian style tea!

I enjoyed many vibrantly spiced cups of tea whilst in Tanzania last year and of course I just had to go and fall in love! It’s like chai only so much more. A true cup of beauty! Rich and spicy. Warm and comforting. Like nothing I’d had before.

I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since to no avail, even though Grace, our lovely friend and guide so generously gave me detailed instructions. The spices I have aren’t as fresh, the water and milk are different, the tea is not even close to being as fragrant…boooo! I got the sugar down though, ha ha. That’s one thing! I’ve been driving myself nuts with the process but have still come up short. I guess it’s just one of those things.

ANYhoo, I do have a version that comes close and while not exactly “right” it was made per a Tanzanian’s instructions and it’s good!

Ready? This recipe serves one.

Smash up:

  1. 1 cinnamon stick
  2. 7 cardamom pods
  3. 5 cloves

Grate 5 slices of ginger.

Add one mug’s worth plus a touch more of water to pot. This mug holds 1.5 cups of water. You’re adding a touch more because some water is going to boil off in the process.

Add your spices to the water along with a good couple of grindings of black pepper.

Yeah,yeah. I didn’t grate the ginger. I am lazy. You should though!

Bring to a boil and boil gently for 5 min.

Turn heat to low and add your black tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Bring back to a simmer. If you’re not having milk, strain and serve. If you are having milk, you have to use canned milk. Seriously. It’s a must. Just trust me. Add your canned milk to the pot and heat through. Strain into mug.

Add sugar if you wish-I do- but the sugar must be the unprocessed kind:

Et voila, Tanzanian style tea.

I highly recommend you actually go to Tanzania and enjoy it authentically there! My version is good but there is nothing like the real thing. Report back here if you do!