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Nettle - grab this at your peril! If stung one of the best remedies is to rub a dock leaf over your skin. A small sting is a small price to pay for having butterflies in your garden - the best butterfly food you have in your garden.
Photo by Wild Dispensary

Make a Backyard Herbal Tea

Wild Dispensary —

Our planned Wild Dispensary talk as part of the Wild Dunedin Festival was all about the medicine in your back yard. So luckily level 4 has just connected us all to our backyards even more than before all of this craziness.

Wildcrafting to our team has always been about more than just the wild herbs themselves but also about the chance to rewild, slow down, be present and connect with nature and its grounding effects. From the resilient dandelions to the potent medicinal herbs such as Thyme, Californian poppy and St Johns Wort growing throughout the hills in Central Otago medicinal and nutritious plants are everywhere. The abundance of many of the herbs and plants growing in our region is a resilience we can learn from.  

We encourage you to take a closer look at your own backyards and have a go at infusing your own herbal tea.

A quick tour of my mostly wild and weedy garden turned up:

Ruth's backyard garden used for the backyard tea project. — Image by: The Wild Dispensary

Apple, globe artichoke, nettle, nasturium, lemonbalm, sprearmint, mint, plantain, dandelion, cranberries, thyme, sage and some more!

Narrow-leaf Plantain — Image by: The Wild Dispensary

Globe Artichoke — Image by: The Wild Dispensary

Skye found- Blackberry leaves, borage, calendula, chamomile, chickweed, hawthorn, nettle, yarrow, nasturtium, as well as the usual suspects in the herb garden. Also bush that includes Kānuka, Mānuka and Horopito.

Calendula — Image by: The Wild Dispensary

Skye our Medical Herbalist has some tips about blending your own backyard tea-

  • Tea is an accessible and easy way to access your own herbal medicine
  • Herbal infusions or tea have long been the primary mode of herbal medicine
  • Tea is a way of extracting the bioactives from your herbs using hot water.
  • You can use both dry and fresh herbs
  • Cold teas can form a smoothie base as well for another way of getting herbs in
  • Think of the main function you are after for your tea- is it an immune building tea? Or a tea for digestion or nerves?
  • Your main desired function of your tea should match with 70% of your herb ingredients, the other 20% can be supporting herb function and the other 10% think about taste.
  • A nice example recipe for an Immune Boosting tea would be: Thyme and Manuka at 70%, Calendula and Nettle at 20% and for flavour you could try rosehips or hawthorn or blackberry leaves.
Lemon Balm — Image by: The Wild Dispensary

We’d love to see your backyard tea creations so tag us and Wild Dunedin! @wilddispensary @wilddunedin