Posts tagged tea
Nettle and Pine Needle Tea
Nettle and Pine Needle Tea

Last weekend, Connor took me up to his family homestead for the first time. After a year and half of dating and hearing Connor speak so lovingly about the land, it felt, in some strange way, like I was coming home. We hadn’t been able to access the land previously because neither of our vehicles were up to the task of driving over the mini rivers, deep mud and sharp rocks that make up the road leading to the cabin. Not to mention the heavy drifts of snow that reside on the road for the better half of a year. But last December, we got a truck! (A glorious thing to have in Montana it turns out.) Last weekend we threw the essentials in the back, grabbed a growler of beer and drove straight out of town.

I’ve been to the small town that Connor’s family is from before. It’s a quiet place, with a population of under 500 people, it consists of a two churches, a post office, a bar and a whole lot of cows. I like going here because the cell phone service is sparse and the people are friendly, which may or may not have something to do with the fact that Connor is related to most of them. But it’s a different way of life from what I know. Sure, I grew up on an island far out at sea, but that island was always bustling and it was often hard to escape people for long. Here though, the land is plenty and it’s respected in a way that almost makes it feel untouched.

As soon as we got to the cabin, I felt at ease. We grabbed a beer from the cooler, changed shoes and started walking around the cabin, Connor introducing it to me slowly and carefully. Over the next few days, we stayed indoors or under the cover of the broad porch that faced the vast field before us to avoid the rain that came down nearly the entire time we were there. We cooked meals on the wood stove (slowly), drank water from the natural spring and had many talks about the life we could live if we just moved there full time. I read while Connor sat by the fire and whittled a new spoon from fresh wood cut from a recently fallen aspen tree. The land itself consists of about 700 acres, so there is still so much for us to explore and I can’t wait to return. There is no electricity, wires or running water, unless you count the spring which is a good walk away. It makes time move more slowly and my mind feel a lot more stable. The privilege of having access to a place like this feels overwhelming and I am so beyond grateful that I get to experience it at this time in life.

Next to the cabin Connor’s uncle built, sits the foundation and wooden remains of the original cabin that Connor’s great grandfather, William, built. The land was acquired in 1922 during the homestead act and it’s amazing to see something of Connor’s ancestry so close by. I imagined the cold winters and long hours it took for William to build that little cabin, which now lays in a slightly untidy mess of logs and metal pans. It’s like an ode to the perseverance of the Irish man named William and the generations after him and to come.

While exploring the foundation, I was delighted to find a patch of wee little nettles growing alongside the old walls. The next day, we came back to harvest a handful or two for tea and I’d like to share the recipe with you. I made sure to leave one proud little nettle plant at the entrance where the door used to be. It felt as if it were some sort of protection to the integrity of the cabin and I dared not touch it. Nettles are powerful, nourishing and spirited plants. When harvesting, make sure to wear gloves and never pull the plant out by the roots. HERE is a great article from Mountain Rose Herbs on how to properly harvest nettles.

Nettle and Pine Needle Tea
Nettle and Pine Needle Tea
Nettle and Pine Needle Tea


1 cup fresh (or dried) nettles
2 tbs chopped pine needles
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups water
optional: honey, maple syrup or sugar to taste


Find a doug fir tree* and gently clip a few ends off the branches (think 2-3 inches). Either rinse with water or closely inspect for debris. Once clean, place branches and whole nettles in a medium pot with water and add cinnamon sticks. Place on medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep for at least 6 minutes. Strain and serve hot. If you find that the water top has some resin, it’s from the pine and you can just strain that out using a strainer lined with a cheese cloth.

*or any other non toxic pine

Always make sure that you triple identify everything that you harvest from the wild. The writings and recipes on this page are meant to inspire and we cannot be held responsible for any mistakes in the wild. Be smart and buy a guidebook. take a class, or take along an experienced friend.

Nettle and Pine Needle Tea
Guest Post by Maribeth Keane//Silence & The Medicine Of Sleep

    A simple ritual for connecting to Plant Spirit

It has been an uncharacteristically warm and wet Winter where I live in the north east. I have been thinking back to all of the Winters I spent in California, when we would go to the beach on Christmas, endure the ridiculous tradition of lighting a fire in 75 degree weather, and eat an abundance of fresh vegetables in February.

I remember when I made the decision to leave the west coast. I longed for the dark, cold Winters of the east that somehow made it ok to spend entire days inside, moving slowly to just notice how my body shifted through time and space. In coming back to my birthplace, it’s become clear to me that this is a moment of homecoming to heal some of the deeply rooted wounds of my past, perhaps a past I haven’t lived in this lifetime. It took me years of relearning how to quiet and reconnect with my inner world in order to even begin this process of healing.

As I’ve been learning to let go of the guilt or unworthiness that has come with choosing to live a slower life, and by that I mean a life guided by mindfulness and the needs of my body, I have also deepened my connection to the medicine of sleep, a profoundly nourishing medicine that is in fact essential to our survival and has come to be mostly ignored in our current culture. Allowing myself to rest when I needed to because my body asked for it over and over again, has helped me to learn how to let go of any shame or discomfort that comes up from saying “no” in order to say “yes” to myself.

Sleep has often become a distraction for many of us that, like eating, is accepted as a passive experience in favor of all the work that needs to be done. It seems as though we have come to fear the silence of our aloneness. The stillness of just being keeps us steeped in anxiety that we’re not doing enough. Over stimulation and overwork actually make it very difficult for the body to accept deep rest, so we remain restless, nervous, unable to truly relax or let go of the endless wheel of our to do lists.

Without the sleep we need each night we are unable to healthfully or joyfully show up in the world. I have come to know that a lack of good sleep perpetuates the frantic state of our mind, making it nearly impossible to truly connect with the world we move within, keeping us on the edges, totally disconnected from the center within our own body and the subtle magic that exists in between all that we do in a day.

I have been led back to the center by gently integrating rituals each day to check in with my body, and the support of a few good herbs to help me find rest many moments throughout the day. Some of these rituals are innate within us, like making it a point to consciously cook my own meals or to stretch when I notice I have been sitting for a long time. I also started allowing myself to say yes to what my body was asking for, something that I believe we shouldn’t have to “allow” ourselves to do. Each “no” I was saying in my outer world, I turned into a big ol’ “Yes” for myself, eventually leading to better boundaries and less feelings of missing out or feeling bad.

As I committed to these practices, what no longer served me started to fall away. The more I moved from the space within my heart, the less afraid I became about leaving things to be done at another time and the more clarity I felt about where I was going on my path. The more I practiced moments of mindfulness, the more connection I felt to the intricate goings on around me.

The poet David Whyte has a wonderful poem where he talks about our aloneness not as something to fear or be weighed heavy by, but to find that in our aloneness we are truly connected to all of the intricacies and intimacies that surround us and how that may open us to the wild world we are a part of.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into

the conversation. The kettle is singing

even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots

have left their arrogant aloofness and

seen the good in you at last. All the birds

and creatures of the world are unutterably

themselves. Everything, everything, everything is waiting for you.”

Silence is not necessarily without sound (think of the way you feel near the ocean) but a certain calming of our internal noise so we may be present for the symphony of silence that is in our company each moment whether we are in our homes or walking a forest path.

Plants have undoubtedly become my greatest allies and teachers in this process. When I think back to the first plant that spoke to me at the botanical gardens in Berkeley, California, it was through quieting and integrating myself that I was able to connect to the messages of nature, a world we are not separate from but intimately steeped in the same glorious star dust. This experience moved me so deeply that I immediately followed the advice of this unidentified plant and moved back to the east coast, ultimately leading to the rich and rooted teachings of herbal medicine. In learning to communicate with the plants through silence, I ultimately learned how to connect back to my self and from there I began to know more intimately the path I was already on.


I offer you a simple meditation from my zine, Self Care in Uncertain Times, to welcome your own silence as a way to deepen your connection to the guidance of the plants and to your innate ability to heal. This meditation was passed down to me from my first herbal apprenticeship and is one of my favorite rituals for helping to relax into deep sleep or when I start to get overwhelmed by never ending to-do lists.

A few herbal suggestions to brew: chamomile, holy basil, rosemary, thyme, mugwort, skullcap, red clover, mullein, rose, hawthorn, linden, pine, elder flower, lemon balm


Brew up a cup of herbal tea.

Find a quiet, warm comfortable place to sit.

Close your eyes and settle into your body by taking 3 deep, slow, full breaths.

Sit here, quietly, sipping your tea for 5 - 20 minutes.

Allow the thoughts to flow up and out, gently noticing what comes to you.

If you feel called, begin to write freely about your experience, simply notice what comes up, how you feel, and what the herb illuminates within you.

Now is a time when connecting with the guidance of the plants and relearning the wisdom of our own bodies is truly a radical act. If you’d like a more in depth read about the medicine of self care and the magic of plant spirit, you can pre order my zine, Self Care in Uncertain Times. This 32-page booklet is an introduction to navigating the uncertainty of the world we live in through the gentle and deeply grounding practice of daily self care.

 Learn more about Maribeth Keane and her teachings on Instagram @maribethkeane & Earth Blossom Herbals


All photos were taken by Maribeth Keane.