Saturday, December 29, 2012

Drinking the Weeds - Plantain & Mullein

I've done several posts in the past about Eating The Weeds, so I figured my next series should be "Drinking" them.

Rhiannon had been sick over Thanksgiving week but still hasn't totally gotten over the the stuffy nose or occasional coughing at night.  Nothing horrible, but annoying for her and maddening for me (try getting a three year old to blow her nose).

I did some reading up on natural expectorants and found that I had two of the plants growing right outside my door; plantain and mullein.  It's really not the best time for gathering wild plants.  Even though we still do have greenery, most of the good bits have been nibbled away by the deer, wild birds or our chickens.  Even though I thought we had plenty of plantain, when I went out yesterday to gather some for tea I had a doozy of a time getting enough for just a pot of tea.  Mullein, on the other hand, we have plenty of.  Apparently nobody likes to eat mullein and the cold weather doesn't seem to bother them much.

Mullein on top, plantain below.
I brushed / washed off my small harvest and set a pot of water to boil.  Steeped the herbs in the pot, then strained the tea through a milk filter into a teapot.  Make sure you filter tea made with mullein as the tiny hairs can be an irritant to your throat.  

Paul, Rhiannon and I had the tea sweetened with honey. (And a cookie.  You can't have tea-time without a biscuit or cookie!)  As we've never had this tea before, of course I was a bit skeptical as to how well it would work, but within about fifteen minutes or less, my sinuses loosened up.  Then I asked Paul if he was feeling anything and he said that when he laid down for a moment, his nose was starting to run a bit.  So at least I know it wasn't just my imagination.

Rhiannon had two more half-cups of tea that afternoon / evening.  And last night she was definitely less stuffy and didn't wake up from coughing at all!  Part of me still wants to just say that she just eventually got over her stuffiness, but I can't help but thinking the tea had something to do with it.


  1. I think the tea definitely had something to do with it! There are soooo many natural remedies out there that we've lost knowledge of. A shame. On my hubby's bucket list has always been to learn more about wild food and plants. Sure hope he gets to it one of these days!

  2. My plan for this year is to learn more about natural cures. Its going to come to us taking care of ourselves anyway. :)

  3. I'm drinking a mix of organic tea for my lymph node. For me it's the marshmallow leaf that helps. I am becoming a true believer in natural remedies.

  4. Mullein is a really good herb to have around, it can also be used for earaches.
    Someone gave me a couple of plants several years ago and I foolishly let one go to seed, they are now EVERYWHERE!! I didn't think they would grow "wild" here! LOL!!
    My herbal book says you can also make a syrup out of a strong infusion for coughs, might be easier for Rhiannon

  5. Good for you for looking into something not commercially produced, that you have growing right on the property. My Step-son was on a survivalist kick for a while and we tried many teas from what he found on the farm. The pine tea was my least favorite. I do believe it was the tea that helped btw.