Most teas made from wild plants are infusions, meaning that they require hot water to be poured over dry plant matter and then between 5 and 15 minutes of steeping. When using dried plant matter, use about 1 tsp. per cup of water, when using fresh matter, use about 2 tsp. per cup of water. To make your tea stronger, steep for more time, vice versa to make it weaker. Strain out the plant matter before drinking and sweeten with sugar or honey.

Materials for tea should be dried out of direct sunlight. A warm, shaded place is best.

As an anternative to using water to brew your tea, you can actually brew tea in the clear sap from any tree that can be tapped, such as a maple or birch. This is the same sap that can be reduced to syrup. To read more about the tapping process, go here.

Plants in this guide that can brewed as teas

Betulaceae - The Birch Family

Black Birch

Break up the twigs and steep them in water or the birch's own sap.

Compositae - The Aster Family

Wild Chamomile

Dry the flowers to produce a light but soothing tea.

Lauraceae - The Laurel Family


Wash the roots, cut them into small pieces, and boil them until the water becomes reddish-brown. This tea may contain a carcinogen.

Leguminosae - The Legume Family

Red Clover

Dried flowerheads can be added to other teas.

Pinaceae - The Pine Family

Eastern Hemlock

The youngest, light green needles can be brewed in water to make a vitamin C rich tea.

White Pine

Fresh needles can be chopped and steeped. The tea is rich in vitamins A and C.

Rosaceae - The Rose Family


Dry leaves and brew them.


Both petals and hips can be brewed in hot water, whether they are dried or fresh.

Tiliaceae - The Linden Family

American Basswood

Use the recently dried flowers to brew a mild tea.

Ulmaceae - The Elm Family

Slippery Elm

Boiling the inner bark produces a pleasant and nutritious tea.

Urticaceae - The Nettle Family

Stinging Nettle

Boil the young shoots* and upper leaves for several minutes. Strain off shoots and leaves and add sugar and lemon to taste.

Except where specifically noted, all text, photographs, and drawings copyright Chris Bersbach and Lisa Leombruni 2002. No part of this page may be reproduced without the express permission of the authors.