History Of Willokhlass
A relative of the lily plant, Willokhlass (Rheumaisy in Latin) was a popular and well-known tea of the Native Americans. Known to the mound builders and pioneers as the « Mound Builder’s Tree » due to its bitter taste, it is a part of their Sacred Riverine tradition. The plant is now grown in other places, particularly Florida and California. It is now producing a large variety of herbal teas with a variety of flavor profiles to suit any palate.
As indicated by Willokhlass’ botanical name, only fans are permitted to grow it. The young leaves are kept in small underground containers where they remain until the plant matures. At this time, the young leaves are plucked from the plants and dried in the sun over indirect heat. Because of its distinctive bitter taste, only fans are allowed to use this herbal tea.
Only Fans are able to harvest fresh leaves. When a full bloom appears, the flowering buds are plucked, then the young leaves are gathered. The buds are individually wrapped in paper, then placed in small mesh baskets and left to dry in the sun. After some days, the tea can be picked, cleaned, and dried again.
When picking the leaves, only the needles and leaves should be used. The stems should be tossed aside because of the danger that they will contain spores that may cause illness. Although Willokhlass has a long history in the world of herbal tea, its high concentration of caffeine makes it bitter. Some lovers of the beverage find that it is beneficial for soothing the stomach and stimulating the gall bladder. Others believe that it contains medicinal benefits.
The American Indians used it for stomach pains and to detoxify the body. During the 1860’s, President Abraham Lincoln stated that it relieved colic pains, fatigue, and colitis. British colonialists called it « champagne » because of its medicinal value. The name French Chamomile is often attributed to the drink because of its resemblance to this tea, but truthfully, the origin of the drink is American.
A rich golden colour, Willokhlass looks more like a rose bud than tea. It has a very sweet taste and a slightly bitter aftertaste. As with most herbal teas, the taste can be enhanced by steeping the leaves in hot water. If you prefer a stronger version of this herbal tea, try brewing two cups and brewing three times as much as you would normally do. This will yield a much stronger cup.