Cedar Tea

It’s the holiday spirit in a glass

A cup of cedar tea next to some pine branches.

photo by Mette Nielsen

serves 4

Cedar is a sacred tree and, like sweetgrass and tobacco, is part of many ceremonies. It’s used to purify homes, in sweat-lodge ceremonies, and as a medicine. The tea of simmered branches is used to treat fevers and rheumatic complaints, chest colds, and flu. This brew is delicious warm or cold and is simple to make.

2 cups fresh, foraged green cedar boughs (choose only wood intended for use with food, such as boughs for smoking; most wood at lumber stores is chemically treated)

4 cups water

maple syrup to taste

Simmer fresh cedar boughs in boiling water for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on desired strength. Strain off the cedar and sweeten with maple syrup, to taste.