May 24



Norman W. Wilson, PhD.

As a healer, I have long had an interest in the use of teas as supportive medicine. When you were a kid and had an upset stomach did your mother give you a ginger tea? How about that cough you had did you get honey-laced tea? In my book, Teas, Soups & Salads, available at Zadkiel Publishing either as an e-book or as paper, I give eight tea recipes. Most likely you have heard of Nettles Tea but have you heard about White Birch Bark Tea or Douglas Fir Tree Tea?

Credit for the use of tea as a medicinal beverage is given to the Shang Dynasty. During the Third Century, AD, Hua Tu is said to have written about the use of teas for medicinal purposes. By the 17th Century, tea had established itself as a popular and fashionable drink.

Today, I will share with you two recipes for an all-natural tea. The first is White Birch Bark Tea. There are 40 species of the Birch Tree. Among that 40 are Bog, Cherry, Downy, Dwarf, Himalayan, White Birch, River, Silver, Water, Weeping, and Yellow Birch.

When I was a child and learning the ways of nature the White Birch Tree was called Canoe Birch by my First Nation teacher. It was the tree whose bark she used to make canoes and baskets as well as tea.

To make White Birch Bark Tea, gather some of the tree’s leaves and some of its small twigs. Probably 4 leaves and a small handful of the twigs will do. Wash all thoroughly. Boil one cup of water. While the water is coming to a boil, crumble the leaves and twigs into a clean cup. Pour the boiling water over the leaves and twigs. Let it steep for three to five minutes, depending on your taste. To give this healing tea a boost, add a teaspoon of raw honey. By raw, I mean honey that has not been chemically processed.

The White Birch Tea helps to lower pain, fever and serves as an excellent astringent. And as with all-natural healing ‘medicines’ if you have any concerns check with your medical doctor before using.

The Douglas Fir Tree makes an excellent tea rich in Vitamin C. The Douglas is an evergreen conifer species in the pine family. It grows in size 70 to well over 100 feet high. It is its long flat needles you want to gather. If you are selecting your own rather than buying the Douglas Fir Needles be sure you gather the new growth. The needles grow directly from the branch. Thoroughly clean the needles then dry them by placing them between two sheets of paper towels. If you prefer, spread them out on a cloth towel and pat them dry. You may also spread the needles on a cookie sheet and place them in a 175-degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Make sure the needles do not brown or burn. Stir them around.

Grind the needles in a coffee grinder or one used for grinding herbs. Depending on the number of cups you want to make and how strong you want your tea, place one or two tablespoons of the ground needles into a cup. Pour boiling water over the needles and let steep for at least 5 minutes.

Because the flavor is earthy, you may want to tone it down a bit. If you do, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon or lime juice. If you prefer a sweeter taste add one tablespoon of raw honey.

More tea recipes can be found in my book, Teas, Soups & Salads available at

©Norman W. Wilson, PhD. 2020

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