I remember an old meeting. In the middle of summer, I was cycling along a country path and passed two elderly women. They walked, talking, and each carried, pressing to her body, large bouquets-brooms of blossoming willow tea.
"Well, and bouquets!" - I could not restrain myself and commented. " “And these are not bouquets, but future medicinal and healthy tea,” the women retorted my remark. Interested, he stopped and got off the bike.
And the women willingly said that every year they go to the fields or to the edges of the forest - away from the city and dusty, dirty roads, in order to stock up on the flowering plants of Ivan-tea for the whole year.
"At home we make real tea from it - tasty and healthy." It turned out that this process is not easy, it requires certain knowledge and efforts. It includes wilting willow tea leaves, rolling them with palms, fermentation and drying. They told in detail about all the tricks of making folk tea. I thanked the women and drove on.
At home, I opened a guide to medicinal plants and read everything that was written there about Ivan-tea. It turned out that he is not just a beautiful plant that delights our eyes almost all summer - from the second half of June to mid-August, but also a valuable healer, a tasty and healthy drink.
So, Ivan-tea, or narrow-leaved fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium) - perennial plant of the family Cypress... It is widespread and used in our country everywhere, and therefore received more than fifty names in different localities. The most famous of them are ivan-tea, fireweed, koporsky tea (or koporka), ivanovskaya grass, squeak, pozhaka (one of the first inhabits the fires), down jacket (beans form on the lower leaves by the end of summer, which release a kind of down - sometimes used for stuffing pillows) and others.
Perhaps the history of the name Koporye tea is interesting, it is associated with the name of the village of Koporye, which is in the Lomonosov region. This settlement was once founded by Alexander Nevsky near the ruined fortress. It was an outpost of Novgorod. Then the village entered the St. Petersburg province. In its vicinity there were huge thickets of narrow-leaved fireweed. And the monks learned how to make tea from its leaves, which was eagerly drunk not only by locals, but also by visiting merchants from England. They appreciated the tea and bought it in large quantities.
I have been to Koporye several times. And although all the fields there were occupied with planting potatoes, grain crops, pastures, but on the wastelands and inconveniences, along the roadsides in summer, tall willow-tea stalks proudly flaunted, the upper parts of which were strewn with pale pink inflorescences.
In Russia, narrow-leaved fireweed was used not only as a remedy, a healthy drink. One of its popular names is wild flax or wild hemp. The fact is that from the stems of this plant, more precisely, from their bast cover, like hemp or flax, the peasants received fiber, which was used to make ropes and coarse fabrics. And dried and powdered ivan tea rhizomes were added to bread. Blooming fireweed thickets are a favorite place for collecting nectar from bees. Sometimes at exhibitions and fairs they even sell medicinal fireweed honey.
In folk medicine, this plant, more precisely, its leaves and flowers have long been used in our country for medicinal purposes. The Russians noticed that Ivan tea has a positive effect on the entire body. It increases the level of hemoglobin in the blood during anemia, normalizes metabolic processes when they are disturbed, for example, with obesity, and strengthens the immune system.
Its preparations reduce inflammation, are detrimental to many strains of viruses and bacteria, and are used to prevent and treat infectious diseases.
Fireweed normalizes blood pressure, it is recommended for diseases of the gallbladder and spleen. Being a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, it helps with infections of the genitourinary system.
Ivan tea contains a lot of protein, which is easily absorbed by the body and provides energy. Therefore, hunters, fishermen, lumberjacks love to brew it in nature, who spend a lot of energy on walking and various movements.
Its anti-inflammatory and enveloping properties can bring relief from gastritis, colitis, stomach ulcers. The people have long known the calming and even hypnotic properties of this plant. Ivan tea reduces anxiety and depression.
It is believed that the entire aerial part of the plant is useful in Ivan tea, but most often people collect leaves and flowers. The leaves of the narrow-leaved fireweed, justifying the name, are elongated - up to 12 cm, and the width is much less - 1-2 cm.They sit directly on the stem, therefore, when harvesting, they can be lowered from the plant with just one movement of the hand from top to bottom. Light pink flowers from the apical conical brush have to be pinched off with your fingers.
It is not difficult to harvest raw fireweed, because this plant is tall, often reaching one and a half to two meters, a person can easily hide in its thickets, and standing at full height. You just need to remember that it is advisable to collect raw materials in dry weather, and away from roads and city enterprises. Experts recommend harvesting leaves after flowering begins, and flowers during flowering.
Harvested leaves will only be useful if you prepare them correctly. Of course, you can, as many do, simply dry the collected leaves and flowers in a ventilated room, and then store in a closed glass container.
But real Ivan tea, which was appreciated by Russians and foreigners, is obtained by performing the fermentation process, as is done with Indian, Chinese and other types of tea. Therefore, the collected leaves of narrow-leaved fireweed need to be washed after harvesting (when harvesting, choose bright, juicy leaves without spots and lesions) and put in the shade on a clean dry cloth with a layer of 3-4 cm.During the day they must be regularly agitated so that they dry out and wither a little , but did not dry out and did not crumble during further processing.
After that, you can proceed to the most important stage of making tea from fireweed - fermentation.
To do this, rub the leaves tightly with two palms until the juice comes out. Then one portion of the rolled leaves is placed in a basket and the next portion of the leaves is taken. When all the leaves are prepared in this way, they are covered with a damp towel and left in a dark place for 10-12 hours. By this time, the raw materials should already emit a fruity aroma, similar to a pear.
And the last process is drying of raw materials. It is laid out in a thin layer on a baking sheet, placed in an oven heated to 100 ° C and kept there until the tea acquires a characteristic color - from light to dark brown. The oven should be ajar at all times. During drying, the raw materials must be stirred regularly so that the process goes evenly. Tea is usually ready in 30-40 minutes. The resulting tea is kept in a sealed glass container.
Brew it by pouring boiling water over it, but do not boil it. For example, 2 teaspoons of such tea are poured into 500-600 ml of boiling water, the cup is closed with a lid and insisted for a quarter of an hour. It relieves fatigue, gives strength.
But most often they simply store up medicinal raw materials - the collected leaves and flowers of fireweed are dried in the usual way in a ventilated room in the shade. The ivan tea herb is kept in a sealed glass container and is used to prepare medicinal decoctions and infusions.
To obtain it, 1 tbsp. Pour 1 cup (200 ml) boiling water over a spoonful of dry willow herb. Insist for 12-15 minutes, strain before use. Take 0.5 cups 2 times a day - in the morning before breakfast and half an hour before dinner. Take it for headaches, migraines, insomnia, and stomach diseases.
To obtain it, crushed leaves of willow-tea 2 tablespoons (15 g) must be poured with a glass of water (200 ml) and brought to a boil. Boil for another 15 minutes and then strain. The broth is taken 1 tablespoon 3-4 times a day for gastritis, colitis.
This broth can also be used to wash body ulcers, wounds and pressure sores.
Experts recommend taking infusions and teas of fireweed for no longer than a month, then you need to take a break for up to two months. With a longer use of them, disturbances in the functioning of the stomach, liver and intestines are possible.
With caution, it is necessary to use decoctions and infusions of ivan-tea with increased blood clotting, thrombosis and thrombophlebitis. In general, it will not be superfluous if you consult a doctor before using drugs according to folk recipes.
Photo by Olga Rubtsova
When the fireweed blooms, a pink fog swirls on forest glades, meadows, sunny edges for more than two months... This savage is very handsome! And for their amazing properties, fireweed was nicknamed Ivan-tea. Thanks to him, the village of Kaporye became famous in Europe. Local peasants procured leaves and flowers of fireweed and prepared amazing Russian tea. It did not differ in color and taste from Ceylon and Indian, but did not contain puric acids and caffeine. But the set of useful vitamins and minerals is the richest. Correctly dried and brewed willow tea will be to the taste of the most inveterate tea-grower.
My grandmother prepared a young Ivan-tea leaf in the morning, washed and dried on a sieve... Then she withers for about five hours and rolls the leaves into dense tubes on the palm or a wooden board until the juice appears. These tubes were laid on a wooden baking sheet in a thin layer, covered with a damp canvas and left in the sun for a couple of days. Only after that, the dried tubes were cut with a knife and placed in a hot oven or oven for final drying.
This tea was stored in wooden boxes in a dry, cool place.... By the way, they began to consume Kaporsky tea only in the fall, they say, it should ripen. It was brewed at the rate of 1 teaspoon on top of a glass of boiling water. It was golden in color and delicious in aroma. But an even more aromatic, sweetish taste was obtained with the addition of dried flowers of fireweed. The flowers were dried separately on a sieve, covered with a canvas, in a ventilated room. A pinch was added to tea. And on a winter day, pictures of a sultry summer filled with a pink mist of fireweed immediately appeared before my eyes.
Not only tea was prepared by peasants from fireweed. In early spring, when tender leaves just appeared, they were collected and made salads... By the way, they used to know that fireweed leaves can be eaten only in the first weeks of spring. In times of famine, roots were dug, ground and added to flour. The cakes made from such flour had a sweetish taste. Household peasant women even collected the fluff of fireweed and stuffed pillows with it, and made fiber from the stems and spun threads for canvas.
And what does this most useful plant look like? It has straight, slightly branched stems up to 1.5 meters high, with narrow dark green leaves... Pink flowers, collected in long clusters, are located at the end of a long light green ovary. Seeds are small, with a bunch of white, from prolonged lying yellow hairs.
The rhizome of the fireweed is powerful, the roots go to a depth of 2 m and form a dense network of thick pinkish horizontal roots... The plant produces a large number of buds from which shoots are formed. That is why such an ornamental plant is rarely used in garden design. Only in large parks can you find meadows planted with fireweed.
And yet this plant can be tamed, and then it will become a decoration of the garden.... Firstly, it can be planted in moist soils, where there is no shade in the morning. Secondly, it is very unpretentious.
The main thing is that when planting, you need to immediately dig a cut-off wide metal barrel into the ground. with drainage holes made in the bottom. It is advisable to dig it to a depth of at least 1 m. It is in this container that fireweed will grow without harming other plants. Once every 2-3 years, it will be necessary to dig up the plants, remove the excess ones and plant them again. In addition, there is a form with white flowers - Alba, which does not spread so aggressively over the site. Fireweed is not only beautiful, but also fills the garden with a delicate honey aroma.
Doctors do not recommend drinking fireweed-based products for more than 1 month, as the risk of developing gastrointestinal dysfunction increases.
But even a healthy person should not drink fireweed broths, infusions or tea in large quantities due to the appearance of signs of diarrhea.
You can buy ready-made tea here.
That's all for today. I'll go and I'll have some tea with fireweed. It's winter, you need more vitamins.
In natural nature, willow tea grows in areas warmed by the sun, preferring sand soil. When tall shrubs grow near it, the plant is in the shade and may die, despite its endurance and powerful root.
Consider the biological characteristics of narrow-leaved fireweed to see how strong and unusual this plant is:
Ivan tea can be found in all parts of the Northern Hemisphere in all light forests, in the valleys of rivers and lakes, on the edges of the forest.
If we consider the chemical composition of willow tea, then all substances useful for our body are found in the leaves, flowers and in the rhizome. Since the plant has been used in non-traditional medical practice for a very long time, scientists have also studied the plant. This is how the active substances in the tissues of the fireweed were isolated:
The high content of vitamin C is especially highlighted, which makes ivan tea, even in official medicine, a plant rejuvenating, anti-inflammatory and a powerful immunomodulator.
And also narrow-leaved fireweed is a melliferous herb.Often whole plantations are planted with it to get incredibly valuable and rare fireweed honey.
In total, only two types of grass are used: broadleaf and narrow-leaved fireweed. The wide-leaved fireweed is less common, since the plant contains much less active elements. Therefore, representatives of herbal medicine and traditional medicine give preference to narrow-leaved fireweed. Here it is cultivated, planted in gardens in order to make winter preparations during the collection of leaves and flowers.
And the raw material of Ivan tea is harvested by fermentation.
But, this culture was not limited to only two species and varieties. This genus includes 220 varieties of willow tea. The names of the most common species indicate the place of growth or the appearance of the plant: alpine fireweed, marsh willow tea, pink fireweed.
To make a tasty and healthy drink, you need to have good source material. To buy a ready-made collection, you should go to a pharmacy or a specialty store selling teas and herbal preparations. Consider the mixture carefully. It should consist of evenly dried leaves. The bag should be free of mold, foreign fillers.
The packaging must have an expiration date and contain instructions for brewing and using the drink.
This collection will be most beneficial. Since you can be sure that it is collected in an environmentally friendly place.
The best time to harvest Ivan tea is on a dry morning from July to September. Only healthy plants should be selected. The simplest technique for preparing a herbal collection is to dry the leaves for three days in a well-ventilated place. After that, they must be crushed and dried to the end in the oven.
To get a more aromatic and valuable tea, it is recommended to harvest the tea by fermentation. This technology requires more time and effort, but the result is worth it. The collected plants should be left in the shade for 12 hours. After that, you need to twist the leaves into rolls with your hands, the juice should come out. A load is placed on the raw material, covered with wet wipes and infused for 10 hours. After that, the twisted leaves need to be chopped, put on a baking sheet and placed in the oven (t = 110 - 120C) with the door open for drying. The finished tea leaves should be stored in a glass jar.
For the treatment of diseases, Koporye tea is drunk 30 minutes before a meal or an hour and a half after a meal for a course of two weeks to 1 month. The exception is getting rid of insomnia, when the remedy is taken an hour before bedtime.
They take a warm herbal infusion in a volume of 50 ml for problems with the genitourinary system, weakly brewed Ivan tea for pancreatitis.
Drink half a glass of hot drink in milk for treatment, prevention of seasonal colds. In the same dose of tea, brewed with water, relieve symptoms of gastritis, colitis, peptic ulcer disease.
To normalize a night's sleep or get rid of a headache, 200 mg of the agent is required.
In case of chronic bronchitis, 1 tsp is added to a glass of Koporye tea. honey.
For preschool children, to strengthen immunity, improve digestion, it is recommended to take 1 tbsp. l brewed fireweed.
Narrow-leaved fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium), better known as Blooming Sally - a herbaceous perennial plant, 70-200 cm high. The stem is straight, juicy, green. The leaves are narrow, oblong-elongated, with a pointed apex, with a regular arrangement on the stem, almost sessile. Flowers of ivan-tea of a pink-crimson hue are collected in a brush on a high peduncle of the central stem. Narrow-leaved fireweed blooms from the second half of June to the third decade of August.
The fruit is an elongated capsule with small seeds adapted to be carried by the wind over long distances. Ivan tea seeds ripen in July-August. The underground part is represented by the rhizome, which can reach up to 100 cm in length. Ivan tea forms numerous shoots that occupy significant areas. Narrow-leaved fireweed is distributed almost throughout the territory of the Russian Federation.