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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended August 20, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 17Aug00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Something about 'Mormon Tea'

PHOENIX, ARIZONA -- The herb known as 'Mormon Tea' was chosen 'Herb of the Month' by the Arizona Herb Association and recognized in an article in the Arizona Republic. Also known as "Brigham Tea," "Teamster's Tea," "Squaw Tea," "Potopillo" and "Desert Tea," the herb was used by early Mormon pioneers for an everyday herbal tea.

The use of the herb by Mormon pioneers is mentioned in some pioneer journals, as well as in Mormon historical novels, such as "The Giant Joshua" and in Samuel Taylor's comic novel, "Heaven Knows Why." The beverage was made by boiling the stems from the plant in water for a few minutes and then steeping them for a few minutes more. Like most herbal teas, 'Mormon Tea' is not considered a violation of the LDS Church's Word of Wisdom.

The plant is a relative of  E. Cinica, which the Chinese have used for 5,000 years as a remedy for asthma, colds and coughs. However, unlike E. Cinica, 'Mormon Tea' doesn't contain Ephedrine, an alkaloid widely used to treat asthma and respiratory problems, but has the side effect of raising blood pressure and heart rate, which keeps many people from using it. 'Mormon Tea,' however, does have a "pseudoephedrine," which gives it some of the asthma and respiratory benefits without the side effects.

The plant can be found throughout the Intermountain West. It has many branches, but such tiny leaves it appears leafless. It can grow as large as 15 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide.

Taste Buds: 'Mormon tea' is steeped in history
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 16Aug00 D6
By Judy Walker: Arizona Republic


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