Herbs for Alpine Tea

alpine tea

Pick your own Wild Teas –Dream Big and Enjoy the Taste of the Alps in a Cup  

Discovering the delicious local cuisine is a delighting part of any trek through the Alps, but did you know there is an astonishing amount of appetizing plants right next to the hiking trails!?! Wild plants can turn your hike into an exciting culinary adventure.

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to enjoy wild edibles is by brewing an herbal tea. At the end of the hiking day, when you get to your hotel or mountain hut, simply add the herbs you’ve picked to a cup of hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. The result? The wonderful taste of mountain nature in your cup! Enjoy! ?

My Favorite Wild Teas

Here is a short list of my favorite wild teas. These edible plants are very common and you can find them all over the Alps. (If you have any doubts about the plant that you are picking, don’t drink a tea from it!)

Meadow Sweet
Meadowsweet blossoms add a strong flavor and fragrance to tea – use sparingly.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

This herb possesses the most wonderful aroma and taste. You can make a tea from meadowsweet flowers as well as leaves, but I like the flowers the best. Their fragrance and flavor are incredibly strong, so just add a few of tiny flowers to your cup.

TIP: For those hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc look for meadowsweet around Champex Lac, the most favorite foraging spot of some of our Alpenwild guides.

stinging nettle
Stinging nettle leaves are subtle. Add more to increase the tea flavors.

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)

I love the taste of stinging nettle leaves, but stinging nettle is not as full of fragrance and flavor as meadowsweet, so use loads of leaves for your cup of tea. Herbal tea made out of stinging nettle leaves is a gentle diuretic, helping the body to process and flush away toxins. I actually dry loads of the herb, so I always have a stash for winter! 

Polypody
The common Polypody is an excellent, natural way to sweeten tea.

Common Polypody (Polypodium vulgare)

If you like it sweet, then this is your tea! The incredibly sweet root of the common polypody makes the loveliest sweet tea ever. You can also use a small slice as a natural sweetener and add it to your normal cup of black tea.

TIP: If you keep the roots in a paper bag you can enjoy them for a long time!    

Yarrow flowers
Yarrow flowers and leaves are excellent for tea. Add a little bit at a time. The bitterness can escalate quickly.
Yarrow leaves

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

The flowers, leaves and stems make a wonderful herbal tea (delicious with some honey) and can be used fresh as well as dried. Yarrow is super easy to dry, just hang bunches upside down in a dark, dry place so you can enjoy your yarrow teas throughout winter. But don’t use to much of the herb, or your tea will taste horribly bitter!

There you have it! Some excellent options to make an alpine tea. Always remember, if you are not positive of whether a plant is safe, do not add it to your tea. Whether your in the Alps or far away, sip and enjoy a taste of the Alps.

What favorite herbs do you like to add to your teas? We want to hear in the comments below!

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Simone van Velzen

About Simone van Velzen

In her work as an alpine naturalist Simone adds an exciting new dimension to your Tour du Mont Blanc trek with insights into the incredibly rich flora and fauna of the Alps. Simone studied Wildlife Management at the Van Hall Institute in the Netherlands. After her studies she left her home country (which is flatter than a pancake) and moved to British Columbia. In the Canadian Rockies, she discovered the astonishing richness of mountain environments. Her passion for mountain nature was born. And when she returned to Europe, she based herself in Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, the perfect setting for exploring and studying the natural history of mountain environments. As an alpine naturalist she writes for outdoor magazines and leads excursions in the natural world. If you step into the natural world with Simone, her passion for all living things—wild flowers to lichen, birds to mammals—can’t help but rub off on you. She’s excited to meet you on your Tour du Mont Blanc and share the amazing natural wonders in the Alps.

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