I make a lot of tinctures and infused oils. They store a long time and don’t require a lot of fresh plant material. I am lazy and often forget the aesthetic and medicinal values of teas, tisanes, decoctions and water infusions. Some chemical constituents are better released by heating/simmering them in water. Many tea formulas are based in herbs that release their volatile oils such as mint, chamomile, or lemon balm. These plants provide all the benefits of aromatherapy as they release their soothing scents. Holding a cup of hot tea in your hands is also a warming and nurturing experience. It is takes more time to make and consume tea, but there are benefits to any experience that is meditative and allows for reflection. One should not underestimate the mind/body connection in the healing process. Adding honey/sweetener to tea high in essential oils may make is more palatable to young children.Teas can also be easily frozen or added to juices. If someone is dehydrated, they can provide much needed fluids. I have a fever tincture but with the recent rounds of “flu” that hit our household over early summer, I felt drawn to create my own special fever tea.

Fevers can be causes by viruses or bacteria. It is a healthy response by your immune system to fight off an illness or infection by temporarily raising your body temperature. Symptoms of a fever can also include headache, vision changes, irritability, sweating, chills, flushed skin and muscle aches. In Chinese medicine it might be diagnosed as a wind-heat invasion. The goal is to reduce the heat with herbs that are cooling (like mint and marshmallow) and to clear/move it with herbs that are stimulating like ginger. Many symptoms of fever will be relieved by just these two actions. It is important not to aggravate or create heat with spicy/hot herbs like cinnamon. Herbs can be added to help a fever “break” like yarrow. Formulas that include antimicrobials or immune boosting properties are also options. Elder is a classic herb included in both fever and flu formulas. Catnip is soothing, allowing the individual to rest and heal quicker.

To make this fever tea, you need equal parts dried:

Elecampane Root

Red Raspberry leaf leaves

Ginger root

Yarrow tops


Catnip Leaves

Mint Leaves

Marshmallow leaves

Anise Hyssop Leaves

Calendula Flowers

You could start with about 1/4 cup of each herb. Place in a bowl, mixing well and crumbling with your hands. Store in an airtight amber jar. Since this is primarily a tea formula based in herbs that are either high in volatile oil or delicate flowers- I would bring water to boil, turn off the heat, add the herbs, cover with a lid , and allow to steep.

Inula helenium

Elecampane is a perennial in the composite/daisy family. It favors cultivated gardens ,meadows, fields, roads and wastelands. Sometimes it is found in the wild. It has a fibrous, beet shaped, root that is brown externally and white internally. This plant can grow 3-6 feet high. The round, thick, stem is rough and wooly to touch. Leaves are very large, spade like and medium green. The underside is paler with distinct vein pattern. True to doctrine of signatures you will be reminded of a the inside of a single human lung. Upper leaves will clasp the stalk, the lower ones grow as stalks from the ground. In spring they form a dense cluster of shoots, dying back come fall. Leaf margins may be wavy or have some serration. Single yellow flowers tend to grow at the end of longs stems. They resemble large dandelions. The seed head is a brown, quadrangular achene. Harvest rootstock in its second year.

Elecampane is well known for its ability to treat chronic mucus by inhibiting its production, loosening or expelling it. This plant works best when it is used long term. It is a warming aromatic that can stimulate digestion and the appetite. It helps to break down food and tone the stomach, reducing symptoms of gas and bloating. It supports healthy liver and lymphatic system function. It moves damp and stagnation. Historically this herb has been used to treat parasites, candida, colds, fever, allergies, laryngitis, congestion, pleurisy, sinus infection, ulcers, digestive problems, cough, diarrhea, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, menstrual problems, urinary or respiratory tract inflammation. Elecampane is well known as being antibacterial and antiseptic.

Externally is can be used as wash for skin problems that are itchy like fungal infections, herpes or scabies. It has been used to treat acne, facial pain, and sciatica. Can be used in salves or dressings to prevent or treat infection

Often used to flavor bitters, liqueurs, cough drops, and confectionaries. The root can be burned as incense.

Parts Used: Western:roots. Eastern will also use the flowers

Energetics:Sweet, acrid, bitter, warm, dry


Contraindications:Do not use during pregnancy. Large doses can cause a range of unpleasant side effects.

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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