The Tea Plant:
New Jersey Tea is an attractive blooming ornamental shrub from North America, growing only to about 1 meter. It is deciduous and dies down to the rootstock in winter. Although Ceanothus leave do not contain caffeine, they were used as a substitute for black tea during the Boston Tea Party.
Medicinal Properties and Dye Plant:
The red roots and root bark was/is used by Indigenous peoples to treat, among other things, upper respiratory tract infection. Modern herbalists use the root bark to treat problems of the lymph system. Making dye is one utilitarian use for root and flower extracts.
The root and the root bark were used by modern and indigenous herbalists alike for treating colds, fevers, intestinal problems, mouth sores, respiratory conditions, and skin irritations. Root teas and washes were also traditionally used to treat an enlarged spleen or lymph nodes, hemorrhoids, high blood pressure, nosebleeds, ulcers, and uterine hemorrhaging.
The leaves have been used to make a tea or gargle to relieve sore throats and mouth sores.
The flowers and developing seed pods of New Jersey Tea can be used as a fragrant soap or body wash, even producing a lather when combined with water.
Flowers of New Jersey Tea can be used in making a light green dye. The rest of the plant yields a dye of cinnamon red.
How to Grow:
Medium to dry, well-drained soil; best in sandy or rocky soil; drought tolerant. full sun or partial shade and light.
This plant is most likely for the cooler parts of Australia only.