The other week I harvested some dandelion roots and chickweed, to try out for their medicinal properties. I also tried thyme infusion. Here are the reports.
A couple of sprigs of fresh (or dried) thyme in a mug, fill with boiling water, cover, and leave for 5-10 min. Crushing the leaves a little beforehand makes a stronger infusion, I found. It's supposed to be a good decongestant.
It certainly tastes lovely (you can add a little honey, but I didn't bother), and both I (a little sniffly at the time) and my cold-ridden test subject found that it did at least temporarily seem to have a de-gunking effect. Cold-ridden test subject also said it made him feel calmer.
Would voluntarily drink again!
Dandelion root decoction
Since dandelion roots are quite tough, this required a decoction, which means that instead of just infusing in boiling water, one simmers it on the stove for a while -- in this case, I simmered a couple of smallish roots for about 15 min.
I was expecting bitterness, and was all set to add some honey, but in fact I found it quite pleasantly earthy, and not bitter at all. Certainly less bitter than strong black tea.
It's supposed to have general tonic effects, and in particular to be good for the liver and kidneys. I didn't particularly notice a diuretic effect, but I did feel a bit better after drinking it (I had a couple of glasses of wine the night before and was feeling just slightly under the weather). So might make a good hangover cure!
Would drink again but with less enthusiasm than the thyme.
A small handful of dried chickweed; pour boiling water over, cover, and leave for 10-30 min. Supposed to be good for coughs and hoarseness. I didn't really have either symptom, but my throat's been a little scratchy of late.
Unlike the thyme tea, I had to strain this, as the chickweed didn't sink enough for me to drink around it. It doesn't taste of much at all, and it smells of wet greenery. Not unpleasant, but not actively pleasant, either. Maybe a slightly bittersweet aftertaste? (It does that strange thing whereby the thing itself doesn't taste of much but your mouth tastes sweet afterwards.)
I didn't particularly notice a soothing effect, although I did notice a slight degunking effect; but that can just be associated with drinking liquid of any sort. Plus it made my nose tickle.
Would try again if I had a cough or hoarse throat, but wouldn't drink for pleasure.
I've also poured oil over a jar of dried chickweed and put that in the sun for a couple of weeks, to try it as a healing oil for minor skin irritation.