I realized that I have walked past this bright coloured huge mushroom 100 times without knowing it´s edible. Chicken-of-the-woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) grows everywhere, mostly on old or almost dead oak, aspen or white willow trees in spring and summertime.
The name of the tea “Ivan Chai” was coined by the Western World. “Ivan” is a traditional Russian name, while “Chai” means tea in Russian. It´s also called Kaporie Chai by the name of the village between Estonian border and St.Petersburg.
Nettle crisps are another away to use those nutritious weed leaves without too much trouble. The best time for picking nettles is when they are young and don´t grow blossoms yet.
Rhododendron syn. Ledum palustre is a Eurasian relative of famous labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum). Leaves of the plants that grow in Estonian marshes are tiny comparasing to the one growing in Greenland and North America.
As the plant has so many names it must´ve been used frequently by all the natives in those regions where the climate and soils are challeging for all living beings. In Estonia it´s called “sookail” or “päävalurohi”(head ache medicine).