Rosebay Willowherb, aka Fireweed

Fireweed grows all over the place where I live (and probably where you live too).  It grows in disturbed ground, so near railway lines seems to be where some of the larger patches are, and derives its name from the fact that it’s often one of the first plants to grow in the wake of forest fires.

It is edible, either as young leaves or the root of the young plant (too old and it’s too bitter), and apparently Alaskans make ice-cream flavoured with it.  It can also be used to make tea, or dried and smoked producing a short-lasting stupefying effect that is supposedly not dissimilar to the effects of cannabis.

I’m interested in it as a brewing herb, hence the post on the blog.  Apparently, Russians used to use it to make beer in much the same way as the nettle beer recipe that I use (i.e. steep the leaves in boiling wtaer, then add sugar when cooled to body temperature), so I think I shall give this a go.  I believe that it may retain its mild stupefying effects when used to brew, which follows the trend developing with my use of yarrow and mugwort, but I’m unsure of how firewweds chemicals might mix with thujone, so I’m not going to use them together.

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One response to “Rosebay Willowherb, aka Fireweed

  • Elliott Asbury

    Did you try this? How did it turn out? Any advice?

    I live in Denver, and we had that HUGE fire this fall. Wanted to find some of this fireweed this spring and make a commemorative batch. Lemme know what your findings were, if you could. Thanks!

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