The beautiful Killary Fjord in Co.Mayo, Ireland.
Hopping on your bike and heading off into the wilds is a great way to connect with and appreciate the countryside. Stopping to have a cup of tea at any opportunity should never be overlooked either!
Of course, there are times when you may forget to pack the tea bags or don’t have enough change to buy a cuppa. What then?! Head off to the bog of course!The remaining wild bogs and wetlands of Ireland have many edible and healing plants that would have been commonly used for culinary and medicinal purposes in the past.
Bog myrtle and wild mint tea.
Myrtle can be found sporadically here in the bogs of the West of Ireland and has a distinct resinous, slight citrusy smell; a smell that recalls summer evenings turning, bagging and gathering turf and been eaten alive by ravenous midges…If i knew a twig of myrtle helped repel midges and other bugs it would have made things a whole lot more bearable in the ‘dreaded bog’!
Bog myrtle grows in the acidic, wet bogs of the West of Ireland and can grow to about 1 to 2 metres tall. The plant is becoming less common because of the draining and cultivation of the bogs.
The leaves are quite course and oval in shape. It was considered a sacred plant in Irish folklore and was used in beer instead of hops up to the 16th century.
Wild mint can be found in damp soil or near rivers or streams and generally grows to about a metre tall . It’s flower is a pinkish, lavender, lilac colour, that blooms from July to September, and are very attractive for bees. When you tear or crush the leaf you will get the familiar mint smell.
Wild mint can be found on or near the banks of rivers and streams.
To make bog myrtle and mint tea, you simply break off a few leaves from both plants, place in a cup and pour over hot water. Let it steep for a few minutes, drink and enjoy!
I always carry a chopping board, mortar and pestle when cycle touring!!
As well as been a mild sedative that helps you relax, bog myrtle and wild mint have many other health properties that benefit the skin, digestive system, respiratory system and many more.
Like anything else, these wild plants should be taken in moderation.
Previous post that may interest you…Free Food…for a limited time! Foraging along the way.
*Caution should be taken when picking wild plants and discretion should always be used before consuming.
*Pregnant women are advised not to consume bog myrtle.