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Willowherb tea or Ivan-Chai

You must get to know this herbal tea that has become popular again recently! An infusion of fireweed leaves smells and tastes very good, and it has a variety of beneficial effects on fitness. 
Find out where the plant grows, what characterizes the tea made from it, how it is prepared, why you drink it and how you can enjoy it.

Where does the narrow-leaved willowherb grow?

It thrives in colder areas, right up to the polar zone in Canada in Russia. You can also find it in high European mountains.
The name Ivan-Chai comes from the fact that in Russian traditionally the fermented leaves were brewed with boiling water and a hot drink was made from it before Asian black tea was also used there. It is known as Koporskij-Chai because it used to be produced in the village of Koporje not far from St. Petersburg, at least since the 17th century.

How is fireweed tea made?

This is a lengthy process that not only takes time, but also effort and effort.
The fireweed leaves are collected in July and August, sorted and very tightly filled into glasses. These are sealed and left to stand at 20-30 degrees for 24 hours so that the fermentation begins.
The next day, the leaves are taken out, placed in a bowl (it cannot be made of metal!) And kneaded with your hands until they release juice and turn darker in color. In between they are loosened again and again, then vigorously kneaded again, loosened again and so on. The volume gradually decreases significantly. The cells are broken open and the fluid they contain comes to the surface. Loose leaves turn into a solid, dark green mass. This is covered with a damp cloth and left to stand for 6-8 hours. The pleasant, floral scent indicates that it is sufficiently fermented. Now the fireweed leaves are cut a little smaller and then dried in the oven at 80 degrees. The oven door must remain ajar so that the moisture can escape. You have to turn the leaves every 15-20 minutes, so the warm, dry air gets everywhere. One hour, at most two hours, then everything is dry and you can brew the Ivan-Chai as described below. The fireweed leaves, which now look almost like black tea, should be kept airtight in tightly closed containers.

You can buy Ivan-Chai of consistently good quality from us, also flavored with raspberry, lemon & ginger, currant or mint.

What does it look like and how does Ivan-Chai taste?

In appearance and taste, the infusion resembles a little black tea, but has a herbal-fruity note. In contrast to black tea, it does not contain caffeine, so it is also suitable as a late evening drink for connoisseurs who want or have to do without this irritant completely or temporarily. Another good news: Willowherb's uric or purinic acid content is low, it does not contain oxalic acid at all.


How is it brewed?

The basic recipe calls for a heaped teaspoon of the leaves of the fireweed to be poured over a quarter of a liter of boiling water. Let the brew sit for ten minutes, then strain it.

If you want to make it original:
Put a heaping teaspoon of fireweed leaves per quarter of a liter of water in a pot. First make a brew by covering the leaves well with water. With the lid closed, let this concentrate steep for 4 minutes. Only now pour in the entire remaining amount of water. Put the lid on and let it steep again for almost a quarter of an hour. Shake or stir to evenly distribute the ingredients, including the essential oils, throughout the drink. Strain. Finished. Now enjoy the fragrant, wholesome tea!
Sugar? Honey? Traditionally not, but if you like it, sweeten this healthy drink with honey or raw cane sugar. In Russia, it is often common to serve dried fruit with the Ivan Chai.


How does it work?

Naturopathy attributes a number of healing properties to Ivan-Chai.
The tea is said to help with diseases of the prostate and gastrointestinal tract. Tests show an antimicrobial effect of the extract. Positive effects have also been shown for immune modulation, it has anti-inflammatory properties and hinders the growth of cancer cells. It has a regulating and stabilizing effect on cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Its B vitamins support the functions of the nervous system, the vitamin C it contains has an antioxidant effect and strengthens the immune system against infections. Boron, iron, potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, nickel and titanium in fireweed tea offer a wide range of health benefits, including for blood formation, for the heart, liver, kidneys and thyroid, ensure strong bones and support the metabolism.
At the tsar's court, tea was also prescribed against dizziness, migraines and palpitations - and against the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption.


Recipes

Ivan-Chai as a warming winter punch for 2 to 4 people

Ingredients:
250 ml apple juice
125 ml sour cherry juice
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cloves
1 untreated lemon
2 untreated oranges
1 small apple
250 ml tea from narrow-leaved willowherb
4 teaspoons of honey
Brown sugar

Preparation:
Heat the apple juice, sour cherry juice, the grated zest of the organic lemon, cinnamon stick and cloves in a saucepan. Add the juice of the squeezed lemon and one and a half oranges and the previously brewed fireweed tea and the honey. Moisten the edges of 2 large or 4 small tea or punch glasses and press them into a small plate with brown sugar. This gives you an appetizing edge that looks nice and gives the drink extra sweetness. Put a slice of apple and a slice of orange in each glass.


Fireweed iced tea for the summer

Ingredients:
500 ml of boiling water
6 tsp Ivan Chai (yes, that much)
1 untreated lime
Cane sugar
lots of ice cubes; Frozen orange juice is also suitable

Preparation:
Brew willowherb leaves with boiling water, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Sweeten with 2 tablespoons (at least!) Of cane sugar. Fill four glasses to the brim with ice cubes, add thin slices of lime, pour the hot tea over them. The drink is immediately ice cold. Its herbal-fruity taste enlivens it, but does not stir up like black tea.

The important thing is to really make a concentrate. Mixed with the ice-cold melt water, it is diluted to a pleasant drinking strength.


Tip for an uncomplicated, refreshing dessert: willowherb jelly

If you Jelly (jelly) lemon instead of preparing with water with Ivan-Chai, you get a wonderful, light dessert that is recommended after a sumptuous, heavy meal, especially at Christmas time.


Narrow-leaved willowherb provides healthy, great-tasting Ivan chai that you can enjoy hot or on ice all year round
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