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Wild Plants to Make Tea

Updated on May 8, 2012

wild tea

Have you ever wondered what you would eat and drink if your pantry was empty and the grocery store was closed? Could you forage for food and drink in the parks and green spaces or are you at home in the woods, wise enough to know what plants to eat and drink and which to avoid.

Many people know that dandelions can be eaten, the young leaves and flowers and some are aware of dandelion wine and tea, but what about the other plants that can help us survive when lost and far from the fridge or phone.

Nature provides and while the bounty may not be the most delicious you have ever had, although some is, it will sustain and maintain until back home.

Now the ability to make tea relies on the ability to make a fire, and have something handy to heat water in, should you find water, however, if you can manage this then New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus) is one shrub that can keep you alive until found or the emergency is over.

In addition to New Jersey tea, there is Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum) which is reportedly rich in Vitamin C.

Mint grows wild and if you happen upon a patch you will indeed be fortunate. Both the leaves and stems may be used to make a nourishing tea.

If you are indeed in the woods, there is likely a water source nearby, do not assume the water is drinkable, purify it before using. Boil the water for five minutes and remove any objects floating in it before making your tea.

Should you come across wild strawberries you will have the strawberries to eat and the leaves will make an acceptable tea. To make a wild tea from strawberry leaves or other acceptable plant material, place leaves in container, add boiling water, cover if possible and let sit for five minutes. This is a close approximation of an infusion and will produce a useable product.

Pine tree bark, the inner bark, can also make a tea that will keep you going, although from what I have been told you may want to find some wild honey to sweeten the taste. Pine needles which are easier to collect can alos be used.

The first rule is do not get lost, the second rule is that if you do, do not panic and the third is know what you are about to consume so if you hike in the woods be sure you can identify plant friends from plant does.


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  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick


  • Ben Zoltak profile image

    Ben Zoltak 8 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

    Hi Bob great words to LIVE by. I practice my foraging skills all the time. Recently I've taken an interest in wild carrot, but the resemblance to water hemlock kind of spooks me from eating it. Wish I had a 100% fool proof way to id. thanks for the refresher course on the others...


  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Identification is the key, thanks for dropping by.

  • William R. Wilson profile image

    William R. Wilson 8 years ago from Knoxville, TN

    I enjoyed reading this Bob. I've been interested in wild foods for a while now, although it's taken me years to learn to identify the ones I do know. I hope to see more hubs like this one!

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Let me know how that workds out B.T. Thank you all for dropping by.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 8 years ago from London, UK

    A great, wonderful and helpful hub. Thank you.

  • xunlei profile image

    xunlei 8 years ago


    I'll keep your post

  • B.T. Evilpants profile image

    B.T. Evilpants 8 years ago from Hell, MI

    Drinking the plants, eh? I do have some pitcher plants in my yard, but I haven't come across a beer plant yet! Maybe I can whip something up in my lab.