Folk Tea in Flu Season
I made a batch and then thought, ooh, there are stories in this tea, and it's useful...
One of the tea ingredients, chaga, is a great wart of a medicinal fungus erupting from trunks of birch trees.
It's revered in Eastern Europe, a vitality/endurance/immunity superfood, good for regular humans and for extraordinary physicalities training for the Olympics.
It's also woody, and requires hatchet or saw, and grinding or pounding. So I contented myself with buying from herb supply. (A resourceful friend on the island found reachable chaga and is making chaga tincture!)
In the days of camel caravans, and sailing ships forging routes to the East Indies, the spice trade was hugely profitable, and fought over by raiders, pirates, armies and navies. Wealth and health sought, geopolitics imposed.
(Columbus had thought to reach the Spice Islands of the Dutch East Indies, by sailing West. Instead he made landfall in the Caribbean.)
Spices of the exotic East preserved food in the days before refrigeration, and offered protection against pandemics and plague. Apothecary magic, the spices are anti-microbial.
Here's the purplish-wine-colored tea, powerful and delicious with or without a dollop of honey. A second simmer still yields lovely tea:
Bring 2 l. water to a boil; reduce heat to simmer; add dried:
Chaga, heaping Tbs
Elderberry, heaping Tbs
Ginger, chunks, not crystallized, Tbs
Cinnamon, pieces, heaping tsp
Cloves, whole, heaping tsp
Slow simmer, covered, till fragrant and deeply-colored; drink hot or cold. Also amazing mixed with fresh apple cider.