To all those who ordered echinacea flower tea, here is how the flowers are doing. They've opened beautifully and their centres are just beginning to fill with pollen. I will be harvesting them tomorrow for processing in the dehydrator. Then I will call some of you to pick up your orders.
Don't be surprised to find the edges of your mug stained with pollen after you have microwaved the flowers like I showed you here.
I had a spot of flu early this week and so I used one stalk of dried flower with stems and leaves to make tea. This is the first time I am using a stalk of echinacea flower. In the past, I made the whole family chew and swallow the echinacea root. The first mug I steeped had a very mild taste compared to the tongue numbing spiciness of chewing the fresh root (sterilized of course). At the 2nd steeping, I was able to obtain a stronger brew (that tasted a bit more like the root) because I used a spoon and did a fair bit of mashing inside the mug. Then I chewed some petals and leaves - very mild compared to the root.
I sipped the first mug through 3 hours in the morning. The 2nd mug lasted me another 3 hours in the afternoon. By that time, the flu was losing its hold. But before I could finish drinking the 2nd mug of echinacea flower tea, guests came for dinner... and after they left, I discovered that my very efficient Helper had thrown away the tea and washed my mug.
So I took some echinacea tincture before bed. The flu was all gone by morning. I think I got better results with the tongue numbing root (12 hour turnaround instead of 24 hrs) but then... well, I don't wanna kill my plant, and also... I usually chew the root and eat it all up. This time, I didn't get to eat much of the flower because it had got thrown away before I could get to that. I was gonna eat up the whole flower at the 3rd steeping. So maybe, it isn't a fair comparison?
The verdict is still out on whether the root or the flower is more effective. Next time, I will eat up the flower at the first steeping.