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Fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium)


anti-inflammatory, strong astringent, antifungal, slightly laxative, antispasmodic, immunomodulatory

Areas of application:

helps build a healthy gut, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, candida, leaky gut, IBS, lung problems, asthma, cough, bronchial spasms, strep throat, headaches, migraines, inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema, acne, rashes, wounds, infections, burns, urinary tract , prostate, gastrointestinal diseases

Plant parts used:


Collection time:

Spring, early summer

To find:

On ruderal areas, after a forest fire or on recently cleared land.


Mucilage, tannins, vitamin C, oenothein B


Fireweed grows up to 8 feet tall and produces beautiful purple or pink flowers on panicles. Each flower has four petals like its relative, the evening primrose. The long, alternate, lance-shaped leaves are green with a silvery underside and a midrib. The purple fruits are long and narrow and open to reveal seeds, which hang from feather-like white bundles and are carried away by the wind. Fireweed also spreads underground, forming larger areas that are connected to each other by underground roots.

In the kitchen, the young underground and above-ground parts of the plant can be prepared as a salad or vegetable, similar to asparagus. Young, tender leaves have a sour taste but are rich in vitamin C. Russian tea or Ivan tea, formerly known in Russian as Koporskij Tschaj (Копорский чай) after the village of Koporje, which used to produce significant quantities, is fermented willowherb tea. That's why the narrow-leaved willowherb is called Ivan tea willow leaf (Иван-чай узколистный) in Russian. The fermented tea tastes similar to black tea, but is without teain (caffeine) and is said to have a variety of healing effects. It was common in Russia before the spread of Asian black tea.

In the past, and in some cases still today, candle wicks were braided from the seed hairs of the Fireweed. The North American Haida from British Columbia and Alaska processed the outer fibers of the stems to make cords, which they then used to make fishing nets. Other Indians used the long seed hairs to weave together with goat wool to make blankets and cloaks. In ancient Russia they were also used to fill pillows.

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