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How to Dry Echinacea for Tea

By Serena Styles

Echinacea tea is used to treat the common cold, provide relief for sore throats and to strengthen the immune system. The echinacea plant grows in sandy soils and is hardy in harsh environments. Rather than purchasing echinacea tea, you can harvest the plant yourself and make tea from the roots and leaves. Before making tea from the plant, you must dry the echinacea. You'll need about two weeks to dry echinacea for tea.

Rinse the roots of the echinacea plant, and then cut them o 1/2-inch length. Set the root pieces onto a nonmetal screen. Place the screen in a well-ventilated area that receives little to no sunlight. Leave the echinacea roots to dry for two weeks, turning the pieces over every day.

Cut the plant no more than 10 inches down from the top with a pair of sharp scissors. Discard the lower section of the stem. Tie a 12-inch length of yarn or string securely to the bottom of the cut plant. Hang the plant upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area. Leave the plant undisturbed to dry for two weeks.

Place the dried root and plant into separate freezer bags and store them in a cool, dark place.

Place 1 tablespoon of the dried root in a tea infuser and brew it in 8 ounces of hot water for five minutes to make echinacea root tea. Alliteratively, crumble 1 tablespoon of the dried plant into pieces no larger than 1/8-inch long. Place it into a tea infuser and brew it in 8 ounces of hot water for three minutes to make echinacea plant or flower tea.

Use the dried echinacea for tea within 12 months.

Tips

The echinacea roots and plant will be brittle once they have dried. Handle them with care to avoid breaking them apart. This drying process will work for an echinacea plant with or without a flower. If it has a flower, keep it attached to the plant. Echinacea root tea is said to have stronger effects than tea made with the dried plant. You can combine the two by placing 1 tablespoons of echinacea root and 1 tablespoon of crumbled echinacea plant into a tea infuser. Steep it in 16 ounces of hot water.

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