American Indian tribes of the southwestern US use Greenthreada drought-hardy perennial herbto make a tea-like beverage. This drink is also known as Navajo Tea, Hopi tea or Indian Tea, as it is traditionally brewed by the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples. The Greenthread plant is appropriately named for its leaves, which are thread-thin and dusty green in color. There are many different species of the Greenthread plant that are used throughout much of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado; the genus, Thelesperma, is native to North America.
Traditionally, the plant is harvested as the flower buds open. It is then washed and dried in the sun. Once fully dried, the plant is folded into small tied bundles that are steeped in about six cups of water for five to ten minutes. Unsweetened, the tea tastes slightly sweet and mild, aromatic like a standard green tea. Medicinally, Greenthread tea is a mild diuretic and is consequently recognized as beneficial for the kidneys. It is similarly known to purify the blood.
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