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Old 07-28-2010, 10:49 AM
burningredphoenix burningredphoenix is offline
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Default tea, caffeine, wild herbs



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ok so its been said many times that tea has caffeine in it...but that got me thinking; theres so many types of teas and so many wild plants that can be made into tea. Does this mean those plants also have caffeine in them? any edible plant can pretty much be made into tea, but which ones have caffeine? do all plants have caffeine whether it be small amounts to large amounts?

i know stores sell blackberry tea, but does this mean that the blackberry plant has caffeine? what makes tea a tea? and which ones have caffeine? im pretty sure that not every plant out there has caffeine, so the idea that tea has caffeine must be false in some cases....can anyone elaborate here please.
Old 07-28-2010, 11:04 AM
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Caffeine isn't a primary compound in plants. It doesn't serve a function that a plant naturally needs to live. Therefore you will be hard pressed to find many plants that contain caffeine in the wild. Almost all caffeine comes from either seeds or leaves. Only about 100 plants contain some form of caffeine, most being minimal. Probably people with expertise locally with edible plants could help you more, I just know caffeine isn't primarily found in a lot of North American plants.
Old 07-28-2010, 12:09 PM
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The plant with the most caffeine in North America is the Ilex vomitoria and various varieties of said. It's the North American equivalent of Yerba Mate. Don't let the name bother you. The Indians made an extra strong brew for ceremonies to induce vomiting. In every day use they made a milder brew with steamed green leaves and lightly roasted leaves. Details are on my website.

Three common commercial varieties of Ilex vomitoria are Ilex nana and Ilex schiller (female and male dwarf versions for hedging) and Ilex vomitoria var. pendula (an ornamental which if fed nitrogen has more caffein than any plant.)
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Old 07-28-2010, 12:19 PM
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According to Jim Pojar, in his book "Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast," The dried ground up seeds of Scotchbroom (classified invasive in Oregon, don't know about your part of the region) can be used as a coffee substitute.

You have to be careful, though. I don't know the dosage size, and you can overdose on it. Cystine is the active ingredient that supposedly causes hightened awareness, and Cystine it is apparently related to Nicotine. I think there are other toxic alkaloids in that plant, I haven't done extensive research on it.

Anyways, there's a good place to start researching: Scotchbroom.
Old 07-28-2010, 03:03 PM
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One reason many teas have caffeine in them is because many varieties are made from a black tea base of leaves, which is the source of the caffeine. Then, quite often, other ingredients are added to give it particular flavors, such as Blueberry, Peach, or whatever.
Old 07-28-2010, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twyggy View Post
According to Jim Pojar, in his book "Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast," The dried ground up seeds of Scotchbroom (classified invasive in Oregon, don't know about your part of the region) can be used as a coffee substitute.

You have to be careful, though. I don't know the dosage size, and you can overdose on it. Cystine is the active ingredient that supposedly causes hightened awareness, and Cystine it is apparently related to Nicotine. I think there are other toxic alkaloids in that plant, I haven't done extensive research on it.

Anyways, there's a good place to start researching: Scotchbroom.
After many years at this it has been my experience that nothing is a substitute for coffee. One plant, goosegrass, hmmm, Galium aparine, comes close in flavor but no caffeine. It is in the same family as coffee, oddly, and its roasted seeds are coffeesque. Add some Ilex vomitoria leaves and you might have a famine coffee substitute with caffeine. But it ain't coffee. Close, but no cigar.

Brooms, which a non-native, are usually listed as toxic.
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Old 07-28-2010, 04:53 PM
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To find out what 'teas' contain caffeene, you have to look at the ingredients. There may be flavored additives, such as blueberry or cherry etc., that are in addition to the tea leaves. These may have caffeene. But not all tea have caffeene like chamomile or jasmine for example.
Just need to read the contents.
Old 07-28-2010, 06:04 PM
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Chicory comes close to being a coffee replacement, or at least an extender, but no caffeine.
Old 07-29-2010, 10:29 AM
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We used to roast barley then grind it to mix with our coffee, it lowers the caffeine and greatly reduces the price of your coffee.

My parents roasted barley during the Great Depression as a coffee substitute.

Today we buy roasted barley at the grocery store. Mix it 50/50 with coffee grounds. It costs $1.29/pound.

We have been growing mint for years, which we harvest and dry. We use mint in our teas and many cooking recipes.

This year we planted chamomile and tea-trees. So we hope to produce them both in the future.
Old 07-29-2010, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
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Chicory comes close to being a coffee replacement, or at least an extender, but no caffeine.
chicory is one of those things i decided to stay away from because the speculation that it damages your retinas....the last thing i want is to go blind...can anyone else confirm this? ive seen it several places
Old 07-29-2010, 03:48 PM
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chicory is one of those things i decided to stay away from because the speculation that it damages your retinas....the last thing i want is to go blind...can anyone else confirm this? ive seen it several places
Ah yes, the escalating nonsense of the Internet strikes again. There is no scientific evidence that chicory harms the retina. No study has been done, and would be difficult to do. You would have to find a population that uses chicory consistently and follow its members over a long time.

That chicory was bad for the eye was suggested in a 1979 herbalism book, and that came from a 1931 herbalist who said she had heard it does that. In short it is folk lore.

It is however theoretically possible that chicory could bother the eye. It can effect pigments, particularly yellow, and extracts of chickory was used in one study to treat children with jaundice.

So there could be a shadow of truth in the assertion that chicory is bad for the retina but there is no research I know of to back it up.
Old 08-01-2010, 12:11 PM
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Tea is a specific plant. Many things we call 'tea' aren't tea at all. People just call anything you steep 'tea'. For example you'll hear people talk about pine needle tea - great stuff once you're used to it but there's NO 'tea' in it whatsoever. I've bought teas from the local store that are just basically dried berries - no tea. Quite tasty and relaxing, but - it's not really tea even tho that's what we call it.

So 'tea' has really come to mean 'anything organic we put in hot water and steep to extract the flavour'. "
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:08 AM
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tea is, very specifically, Camellia sinensis regardless of how it is processed or steeped

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea

anything else is a tisane (Yerba Mate, Honeybush, Roiboos, herbals, roots, spices)

caffeine content depends on the nature of the plant as well as how it is processed and brewed (white and green tea are very low, black is high - there is a continuum)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeine

the easy way to make a caffeine free drink is to stick to water, or throw the first brewed cup out (even coffee), or brew a non-caffeinated plant/herb such as roiboos, chamomile or rosehip, or brew something with caffeine and then pass it through activated charcoal filter (which can be obtained from a campfire)

birch sap is a natural sweetener btw
Old 08-06-2010, 04:59 PM
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looks like Foxer and wilbanba beat me to it.

tea refers to a specific plant. Depending on when it is harvested determines the type of tea. The wiki link that wilbanba posted explains this. There are a lot of things that aren't tea that are called tea because they are put in a bag and you steep them in hot water. And, sometimes they mix it all together .
Old 08-06-2010, 05:21 PM
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It does not help that the word 'tea' is thrown around so much either.

When I told some folks at church that we are growing tea, they thought I meant 'tea tree' [Melaleuca alternifolia].

I had to explain that 'tea' is made from Camellia sinensis.
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