Sunday, 17 February 2008

Making Elderflower Tea

Well, if you catch your cold during the peak cold season in January and February, its too late to go gather your own elderflowers and you have two options: you can buy loose dried herbs from a good supplier, such as Neal's Yard or Napiers (who do internet and mail order, see 'Interesting Links') or you can buy readymade organic elderflower tea bags.

To make the tea, use 1 heaped teaspoon of dried flowers or 1-2 teabags per cup. Leave your tea to brew for 5- 10 minutes, and drink it hot if you are taking it for a cold.

Note: The important thing about making a medicinal tea is to cover it while it brews. If you don't want to use a teapot, then placing a saucer on top of your mug is just as good .. you can get those little metal strainer-balls to place the herbs in. I use a lovely pottery cup which has its own lid and a little tray to hold the herbs. Its worth it if you make a lot of herbal tea.

As a regular drink, you can take 3-4 cups a day although the book I use suggests you can have 6-8 cups a day (for a FEW days only!) when you have a cold or flu.

If you are interested in collecting your own elderflowers, then the optimum time to do this is in May or June, just before they are in full blossom. Collect whole flowerheads and spread out to dry on trays in a warm place out of direct sunlight. When dry, the flowers can be easily rubbed from their stems. Store the dried elderflowers in airtight glass jars in a dark place. Dried herbs should be discarded after a year and replaced.


References:
'Natural Taste (Herbal Teas: A guide for home use)' Andrew Chevallier MNIMH (1994)
'Healing Plants' L. Opletal and J. Volak (1999)

11 comments:

Nutty Knitter said...

That sounds good!
I have collected elderflowers in the last couple of years for wine and cordial making.

I will try and remember to keep some flowerheads aside for tea this year ... :o)

Hedgewitch said...

I've always fancied trying to make some cordial ... never tried it, is it difficult?

Maybe this year should be the year!

Nutty Knitter said...

No, it's quite simple.
I can try and find a pattern if you like. :o)

I linked your blog to my Butlins story. We all got a nasty cold ... and I could have done with some Elderflower tea then.

Hedgewitch said...

that would be great, nutty, if its not too much hassle?

thanks for the link

lol, I always say 'recipe' for knitting patterns :-)

Nutty Knitter said...

LOL

You know, I never noticed that I had written 'pattern' ... I must have had knitting on my mind ... :D

I'll look for instructions/directions/pattern/recipe for cordial tomorrow. :o)

Alchemille said...

Nice blog hedgewitch...I agree with your educational approach and providing good herbal references.

Elder has been a powerful ally and medicine for so many years now...It's probably one of the first herbs I've tried medicinally.

In California, the timing for harvest is a little different, and I'm still trying to adjust to it...But the Old & Wise Lady still manages to bluff me, especially with her bluehish berries that never seem to get dark enough until they start drying out.

I have better luck with the blossoms though...I have spotted quite a few groves around here, yet sadly no hawthorn...Yet, I won't complain ;).

Bright Blessings,
Alchemille

Hedgewitch said...

Thanks, alchemille.. I really value your opinion

I love to collect the elderflowers because of their wonderful smell when they're drying

I grow most of what I use in my herb garden, but there's two things I always try to collect: young nettle tops in the spring and then the elderflowers

I wish you luck in your quest for hawthorn!
Many thanks for stopping by :-)

Nutty Knitter said...

Here is a good website for elderflower cordial:
http://www.selfsufficientish.com/elderflowercordial.htm

Elderflower champagne is very yummy too ... but it is important to not keep it for too long, and to use bottles which can handle pressure (such as bottles, which once contained fizzy drinks) - otherwise bottles have been known to explode under the building pressure!

Hedgewitch said...

oh, nutty, you are champion :-)

Thanks very much for this (including the note of caution, lol!)

This site looks great and I can't wait to have a go .. will post with the results when I do

Will said...

I was happy to find your site. Mine is not as developed but has the same intent: energeticherbalism.blogspot.com
I am going to try to subscribe to your blog...

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but I have just found it! I always take elderflower tea at the first sign of any cold, sore throat or cough. I can honestly say it never fails! My daughter refuses to take it and while she goes on to suffer all the nasty symptoms I either don't get it at all or get an incredibly mild version. Incidently I have just taken it for the last 2 days - I left it a bit late and already had a sore throat and sniffles. However, 3 cups later - I have between 2-3 cups a day over 5 days, I am feeling nearly 100% again - no sniffles and no sore throat. I was a little concerned as I didn't take immediately but it is still working its magic. I used to take echinacea for a cold - this is so much better. I use loose tea.I'm surprised it is not much better known and used - it's that good!