Fireweed – what is in the name…
I love when I start seeing beautiful pinkish-purple flower tops of blooming fireweed in August.
Fireweed is a narrow alternate leaf plant from Evening primrose family, Epilobium Angustifolium. It loves to grow in burnt or logged areas in slightly acidic soil in full sun. Sometimes you see it close to streams and rivers.
This plant has its name because it “takes off like wildfire” on lands that have been scorched by fire. It is one of the first plants to grow in a damaged area, bringing healing and renewal to the Earth.
History of Russian tea
The history of fireweed tea goes back to XII century Russia. People called it Russian tea and exported it to England, Denmark, Germany and France. It is said that it used to be more valuable then gold or fur. It was greatly consumed in Russia itself.
People used the fresh young leaves in salads, and dried leaves were part of bread dough.
It got a lot of recent recognition after World War I, and II when it grew rapidly all over heavily bombed areas, bringing renewal and restoration.
Fermentation – is a great process of unlocking the nutrients
Russians came up with the idea of fermenting the plant. We crush the leaves until they juice, and leave them overnight to ferment. Then it undergoes a quick drying in the oven or sun. The fermentation helps to intensify all the biologically active ingredients.
Europe used thousands of pounds of fireweed tea, also called Ivan-chai or Koporye tea. There was a fireweed tea lab in famous Koporye village by St.Petersburg, Russia. That place produced numerous fireweed extracts and formulas.
Native Americans used fireweed in a similar way. In Alaska people make fireweed jellies, syrups, candies and ice-cream, along with fireweed honey. This beautiful plant is even a floral emblem of Yukon.
Fireweed tea goodness
The leaf contains flavonoids, mucilage, sugars, starches, quercetine, pectin, tannins, vitamin C and calcium salts. The vitamin C content is several times higher then in lemons.
The modern research shows fireweed suppressing inflammation more effectively then cortisone. It calms diarrhea and colic, it is antimicrobial and astringent. In the 20th century is was introduced as help for swollen prostate with thousands of wonderful results. Therefore, it also is great as supporting bladder, kidney, urinary tract health in both men and women.
The tea is high in iron, copper, potassium and calcium. It supports the lungs, immune system, lowers blood pressure and is great during fevers. It supports your hair, teeth and blood. Antioxidants are very high in this plant as well, they help burn fat, restore metabolism, and clean out toxins and heavy metals. Ivan chai also helps to quit smoking and alcohol addiction.
In Russia we also call it a warrior tea, as it provides stamina and energy, physical strength and renewal. It works as balancer of will power and anger, helps to master the the will. Wild and overactive kids calm down, and the shy children become stronger. It balances our moods, if our bodies need rest, it will relax us. And if we need a little pick me up, then we feel energized due to a little protein and minerals in the leaves.
Give this wonderful great tasting tea a try, it will delight your senses. Naturally caffeine free. Click below to purchase and watch the video.