Echinacea, also known as the coneflower, is an herb commonly used in teas for its medicinal properties. It can be used to treat ailments such as colds and the flu, as it boosts your immune system, thus helping your body to fight infection. Echinacea tea is widely available at grocery and natural food stores, but harvesting and making your own echinacea tea is an affordable and easy way to use the flowers and roots you already have growing in your garden.
Things You'll Need
- Twine or string
Allow your plants to grow for three years before harvesting. Harvesting the roots and blooms of unestablished plants can cause the plants to be less hearty or even die. Guarantee that your plant is strong enough to harvest by allowing it to experience two frosts before harvesting.
Harvest the coneflower blooms when the flowers begin to open. Cut the blooms off with scissors or a knife just below the flower's first green leaves. Leave a few blooms on the stem to help the plant maintain heartiness and promote propagation.
Tie the blooms and stems together with twine and suspend them upside down so that they are hanging away from direct sunlight. Allow them to dry for a few weeks. When the drying process is complete and the coneflowers are ready to become tea, the blooms and leaves will crumble to the touch. The blooms have the same medicinal properties as the roots, but they have a less bitter taste.
Dig up the soil around the roots of the plant with a trowel. Be careful not to puncture or fracture the roots while you're digging. Cut a small portion of the root off from the plant with scissors or a knife. Choose root portions that are farther from the center of the plant and do not have any dependent roots growing on them. Cover the remainder of the roots up thoroughly to prevent damage to the plant.
Wash the roots thoroughly to clean dirt and bacteria from them. Pat them dry with a towel, then cut them into smaller portions that will fit into tea bags or a tea steeper. Wrap them loosely together with twine or string and hang them out of direct sunlight. Allow them to dry for several weeks.