For herbalists who are starting out on their medicinal journey, echinacea tea is typically one of the first tea-based cures they are exposed to. This beautiful native wildflower is endemic across North America and can be used in herbal tea blends for treating multiple disorders.
Echinacea tea is an antibacterial tea made from the flowers, leaves, and roots of the wildflowers Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia, and Echinacea pallida. Echinacea tea can enhance mood, boost immunity, and treat respiratory diseases.
If you’re trying to explore herbal teas as part of improving your health and growing your own tea, echinacea is a great place to start. Keep reading to learn more about these brightly colored wildflowers and how you can make tea from them.
What Is Echinacea Tea?
Echinacea is a species of wildflower closely related to ragweed and sunflowers. In fact, these wildflowers bear a strong resemblance to the appearance of sunflowers, except that they’re generally smaller and more colorful. Echinacea is more commonly known as coneflower.
For hundreds of years, echinacea has been used in herbal medicine to help cure a wide variety of illnesses. Dried echinacea is often added into herbal blends along with other herbs, such as mint or chamomile, and flavor additives such as dried citrus.
What Does Echinacea Tea Taste Like?
Echinacea has a strong floral flavor with notes of pine needles and meadowsweet. Since it has a relatively strong flavor compared to some other herbal teas, it is often mixed with other ingredients to mellow its taste.
Can You Grow Echinacea Tea?
Echinacea tea blends can be purchased easily online or from health stores, but for people in many parts of the world it’s just as easy (and cheaper) to grow your own echinacea flowers.
Along with processing echinacea into tea, these flowers are a colorful addition to flower beds and borders. A major advantage of echinacea is that this flower is a perennial, which means it will grow back in your herbal tea garden on its own year after year.
According to Miracle Gro, these are the best conditions for growing echinacea:
- 6-8 hours of sun per day (afternoon shade is preferred to prevent the flowers from fading in direct sunlight)
- Sow in spring or early fall
- Native soil amended with compost or garden soil (echinacea can grow well even in poor soil conditions)
- Drought tolerant (once echinacea is established, it doesn’t need to be watered unless there have been two months without rain)
- Thrives in growing zones 5-8
Compared to many tea flowers, echinacea is one of the simplest to grow. Even if you don’t have much experience gardening, you can easily grow enough echinacea for your personal tea stash.
How To Brew Echinacea Tea
Brewing echinacea tea is even easier than growing it. Technically since it doesn’t contain tea, the drink brewed from echinacea is called a tisane. Brewing a tisane is as simple as filling a teacup with your echinacea, then pouring boiling water over it to steep. The longer you allow the plant matter to steep in the water, the stronger the tea becomes.
Echinacea takes longer to steep than some types of tea to get its full benefits. Leave echinacea to steep for at least fifteen minutes to create a potent enough brew for drinking. It’s generally recommended to use one tablespoon of dried echinacea for every 10 ounces of water. (Source: VeryWellFit) If you’re using fresh echinacea, increase this amount to two tablespoons.
Once the echinacea tea is steeped, use a strainer to remove the used plant matter. You can also brew echinacea in a tea infuser to prevent plant matter from entering the water and getting stuck in your teeth when you drink it.
Is Drinking Echinacea Tea Good for You?
The main reason many people drink echinacea tea is that it is known for improving several medical conditions. Here are some of the health benefits of echinacea:
- Immunity boost: One of the most popular reasons for drinking echinacea tea is to stave off the common cold. Echinacea tea can help prevent someone from getting sick due to common illnesses such as cold, flu, and infections. Echinacea has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Pain relief: Scientific studies have shown that people with arthritis pain who take echinacea extra experience less chronic pain and inflammation than those who don’t take it. This makes echinacea a safe supplement for chronic pain prevention, especially for those looking to avoid the addictive side effects of prescription pain medication.
- Respiratory treatment: Echinacea has been proven in studies to have positive effects when used early to treat upper respiratory infections. This makes it a good tea to drink for people who suffer from bronchitis or sinus infections.
Since echinacea also has positive effects on mood and physical health, it is a good addition to relaxation-based herbal teas that feature other mildly sedative herbs like mint, chamomile, lavender, and valerian root.
Who Should Not Drink Echinacea Tea?
Even though echinacea is safe for most people to drink, people who are susceptible to grass, ragweed, and flower allergies should be cautious about drinking echinacea tea.
In some cases, echinacea tea can cause an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to flowers in the same family. If you experience any allergic reactions to echinacea tea, such as shortness of breath, hives, or itching, cease drinking the tea immediately and consult a physician.
Echinacea Tea Can Soothe the Common Cold
While many supplements claim to help lessen the symptoms of a cold or prevent you from catching one, echinacea is one of the few herbal remedies with the science to back it up. Try brewing up some echinacea tea this cold and flu season for the best chance to stay healthy all year.
Echinacea tea with honey can be a soothing drink that can help you feel better faster.
Why not add some echinacea to your garden along with other easily brewed plants, like mint, chamomile and lemongrass?
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