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6 Wild Teas to Forage in Summer

The photo depicts harvested fireweed. The blooms are vivid pink with white stamens. The leaves are willow shaped and alternative up the long stalk of the plant. There is a cup of tea in the photo with a willowbay flower floating in it.
Fireweed - Herb willow

Rosebay Willowherb (see photo above)

Also known as Ivan's tea. This is a caffeine-free tea and has been harvested, fermented and used as a cheaper alternative to Chinese tea in Russia for centuries!

When? Jul-August

Where? Hedgerows, wasteground, wildflower meadows.


The leaves of the plant can be harvested after flowering. Gather and ferment in a cloth bag for a day or two - allowing fermentation to take place. Remove and place in a glass jar with sealed lid for another 2-3 days. Remove some at this stage and test it out by making tea. If you're happy with the flavour, it's time to dry it out. Further fermentation in the jar will give the tea a stronger and more bitter flavour but it may also deepen and mature other flavours so it's a case of experimentation to find out what suits you!

You can dry out the leaves on a simple wire tray (like what you would use to cool your scones or bread), in a low heat oven (100-120 for 10-15mins) or using a dehydrator. Store in a clean dry container and enjoy well into the winter. It will keep for 6-10 months. You can enjoy this tea at any time of the day due to it's caffeine-free qualities!

What does it look like?

The flowers are also known as fireweed. Firstly due their shape and appearance. They can grow up to 2 metres high so the flowerheads stand well above most other grasses and plants in a meadow or hedgerow. They are narrow spikey in appearance. The vivid splash of bright pink from the flowers is very eye-catching and could be compared to a spark of flame in the field. Also, they are fast growing and tend to be one of the first plants to colonize an area that has been burned by wildfire.

What is it good for?

It is linked with longevity and general good health in Russia. It is high in vitamin C so it is immune system enhancing. It has also been attributed with the following benefits:

Caffeine-free so non-addictive and non-stimulant

Balances digestive system

Detoxifies the body

Promotes relaxation

What does it taste like?

Smooth but slightly acidic with floral notes.

2. Pineapple Weed
Pineapple weed is a wild plant that is very like camomile. It has feathery, green leaves and petal-less flowers. The middle disc of the flower is yellow in colour and looks like a pineapple, hence the name.
Pineapple weed

As discussed in my post on plants to forage in July, this is a wild relative of Camomile!

When? June-July

Where? Waste ground, kerbsides, areas of low fertility.

How? This is so easy, you're going to love it...Pick it, dry it until all the moisture is gone and then boil your kettle and enjoy! You need no sophistocated equipment for the drying process other than a dry place tand perhaps a drying rack. Equally, tying in bunches and hanging is another effective method.

Store in a dry container. As with all your herbal teas, the longer you infuse the herb in hot water, the deeper the herbal extraction is and therefore the stronger the taste becomes.

What is it good for?

It is antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Here are some of the great benefits:

Reduces menstrual cramping

Aids digestion and digestive ailments

Helps to relieve anxiety and stress

Mildly sedative so can assist natural sleep.

What does it taste like?

Tastes like chamomile tea - flowery, fruity notes.

The photo shows a cluster of raspberry leaves with small white flower buds but no flower. The leaves are clustered in threes on the stem. They have a middle rib and are deeply lined with radiating lines from the mid-stem. The leaves are serrated at the edge.
Wild raspberry leaves

3. Wild Raspberry Leaf

When? April/May and Sept/Oct. Can be harvested in between but the leaves at are their most potent in the Spring before flowering and will return again in the Autumn after flowering/fruiting.

Where? Hedgerows, deciduous woodland

How? You can straight forward wash and dry these leaves for use or you can ferment them like in the above instructions for Rosebay Willowherb. Fermentation strengthens the flavour - this is how your everyday black tea brew is prepared and the fermentation process is precisely what separates it from being Green Tea. They both come from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush.

How to identify? They are a member of the Rubus family therefore look very like their cousin the Bramble or blackberry. No harm if you confuse them as they have similar properties. However, the raspberry leaf is a brighter colour green and the stalks tend to be thinner much less thornythan the bramble. They are not as vigourous or invasive as their bramble cousin. They will often be found growing side-by-side. It takes a good eye to spot the raspberry but once you do, you will see them more often!

What is it good for?

Boosts immune system, reduces inflammation.

Feminine health

Balances hormones

Causes very mild womb cramping so it: Tones the womb, reduces heavy menstrual bleeding, can bring on labour.

**NB not to be used at early stage pregnancy for the same reasons as may bring on miscarriage.**

What does it taste like?

It is similar to black tea but with a fruitier after-tone.

Red clover flower is mid-pink in colour. Mutiple blossoms on one head. covered in in dew with leaves attached.
Red Clover flower and leaf

5. Red Clover

When? June, July

Where? Unmown lawns, meadows

How? Harvest and dry - store in a dry, airtight container.

What is it good for?

It contains a phytosterols that is similar to oestrogen therefore should not be taken in early pregnancy or during lactation. However this particular constituent makes it effective for menopause as it mimics oestrogen. Studies have shown it to reduce hot flushes by 73% over three months.

It has been used for many centuries as a blood purifier due to it's diuretic qualities so can be good for the kidneys and for skin.

It contains flavonoids and antioxidants so has potential to prevent cancerous cells forming.

What does it taste like?

Sweet and earthy - not strong tasting.

6. Tilia/Lime/Linden Tree Blossom

Tilia or Linden blossom hanging down from branch. Surrounded by tree leaves.
Tilia Blossom on tree branch

When? Early to mid-July - it goes quickly!

Where? Lime trees are very popular as parkland trees and in estates as well as on the streets in our cities. Do not gather next to a busy road as the plants there will have absorbed fumes from passing traffic.

How? Harvest, dry and store to enjoy the summer taste throughout the Autumn and Winter!

Why? Linden is full of antioxidants like flavonoids. These can potentially aid the nervous system. Linden tea has been long associated with it's benefits for sleep and studies have shown that extracts of Linden tea can have a sedating effect.

Linden tea is known for it's Vit C element - giving you that added boost particularly over the winter months when nutrients are harder to come by.

What does it taste like?

Light floral tones with a slight earthiness.

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