Proven Effectiveness and Evidence

Ivan Chai is made from the fermented leaves of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium). Read below the health benefits and proven effectiveness of this plant species.

Urinary tract and prostate health

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved fireweed for “relief of lower urinary tract symptoms related to benign prostatic hyperplasia” in their final assessment of Epilobium angustifolium [1].

There have been three studies done on human prostate cancer cells that showed evidence that fireweed infusions can significantly reduce the level of prostate specific antigen (PSA) secretion [4,12,13]. A compound in fireweed was shown to powerfully inhibit prostate cell reproduction [5].

Other speicies of Epilobium were used to treat prostatitis and urinary tract symptoms in Europe after Austrian herbalist Maria Trebens published her success in using Epilobium herbal tea treatment in the 1970s and 1980s [1]. Modern research has shown why fireweed can treat prostatitis [6].

Sleep, Excitability, and Anxiety

Ivan Chai is caffeine free. It helps you get to sleep and overcome sleep disorders. It’s a known mild sedative in folk medicine [11,14]. Science does not yet know exactly how it aids in sleep disorders [6,11].

Inflammation and
digestive health

It has been well studied in academia to determine that fireweed is a powerful anti-inflammatory [2,6,9,11]. It has been proven to be more effective than cortisone in suppressing inflammation [14].

Ulcers, gastritis, and colitis can all be remedied by drinking Ivan Chai [6,14]. It helps prevent inflammation of the stomach lining, as well as the smaller and larger intestine. It serves to stabilise digestive imbalances for those with irritable bowel syndrome or undergoing changes in their diet.


To prepare a cup of Ivan Chai, brew 2 g (1 teaspoon) in 1 cup (250 mL) of boiling water (70°C or higher) for 5-8 minutes and then strain. Tastes similar to black tea, but more earthy and naturally sweet. Does not become bitter if left to brew too long.

Dosage and course
of treatment

Ivan Chai can enjoyed for those without health issues. For those with issues that are addressed by fireweed, use as written:

Drink 1 cup before meals 2 times daily for at least 10 days. For a chronic health issue drink 1 cup before meals 3 times daily.

If your health issues have been remedied, you can stop taking fireweed on a regular basis. Restart treatment if symptoms reappear.

This therapeutic dose is continually referenced in the Europeans Medicines Agency’s final assessment [1].

Safety and warnings

Fireweed is an extremely safe herbal infusion. It can be taken as a herbal infusion in excessive amounts and is safe for children.

It’s naturally free of caffeine, uric acid, oxalic acid, and L-theanine.

The EMA has claimed that ‘due to the widespread traditional medicinal use for more than 30 years the safety of Epilobium angustifolium… can be assumed' [1].

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Not enough is known about the use of fireweed during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is recommended to avoid use.

Cultural History

In the 16th century, Russian monks were forbidden to drink coffee or tea because caffeine was believed by the Russian federal government to cause "intoxication".

The monks, seeking alternative beverages, harvested herbs from wild fields and produced their own herbal infusions. The monks noticed that fireweed produced a fragrant floral infusion that had a noticeable effect on their mental state and overall health.

The herbal infusion soon became immensely popular with Russians and Europeans alike.


  1. Anonymous. “Epilobii Herba.” European Medicines Agency, 6 Feb. 2020,
  2. Battinelli, Lucia, et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Epilobium Spp. Extracts.” Il Farmaco, vol. 56, no. 5-7, 2001, pp. 345–348., doi:10.1016/s0014-827x(01)01047-3.
  3. Borchardt, Joy R., et al. “Antimicrobial Activity of Native and Naturalized Plants of Minnesota and Wisconsin.” African Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry, Academic Journals, 31 May 2009,
  4. Deng, Liqing, et al. “Evaluation of the Therapeutic Effect against Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia and the Active Constituents from Epilobium Angustifolium L.” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, vol. 232, 2019, pp. 1–10.,
  5. Miyamoto, Ken-Ichi, et al. “Antitumor Activity of Oenothein B, a Unique Macrocyclic Ellagitannin.” Japanese Journal of Cancer Research, vol. 84, no. 1, 1993, pp. 99–103., doi:10.1111/j.1349-7006.1993.tb02790.x.
  6. Olga, Kolesova, and Vladimir Poilov. “[PDF] Investigation of the Immunological Effect of Fermented Epilobium Angustifolium Extracts at the Cell Level. | Scinapse | Academic Search Engine for Paper.” Scinapse, Scinapse, 1 Jan. 2017,
  7. Ostrovska, Halyna, et al. “Epilobium Angustifolium L.: A Medicinal Plant with Therapeutic Properties.” The EuroBiotech Journal, vol. 1, no. 2, 2017, pp. 126–131., doi:10.24190/issn2564-615x/2017/02.03.
  8. Rogers, Robert. “Fireweed – a Treasured Medicine of the Boreal Forest.” Discovery Phytomedicine, vol. 1, no. 1, 2014, p. 10., doi:10.15562/phytomedicine.2014.16.
  9. Sayik, Aysema, et al. “DNA- Binding, Biological Activities and Chemical Composition of Wild Growing Epilobium Angustifolium L. Extracts from Canakkale, Turkey.” Journal of the Turkish Chemical Society, Section A: Chemistry, 2017, pp. 811–840., doi:10.18596/jotcsa.319789.
  10. Schepetkin, Igor A., et al. “Therapeutic Potential of Polyphenols FromEpilobium Angustifolium(Fireweed).” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 30, no. 8, 2016, pp. 1287–1297., doi:10.1002/ptr.5648.
  11. Serebryanaya, F. K., and I. I. Posevin. “Morphological and Anatomical Investigations of Chamenerion Angustifolium (L.) Scop .) Growing in the Northern Caucasus Region.” Pharmacy & Pharmacology, vol. 4, no. 2(15), 2016, pp. 79–87., doi:10.19163/2307-9266-2016-4-2(15)-79-87.
  12. Stolarczyk, Magdalena, et al. “Extracts from Epilobium Sp. Herbs, Their Components and Gut Microbiota Metabolites of Epilobium Ellagitannins, Urolithins, Inhibit Hormone‐Dependent Prostate Cancer Cells‐(LNCaP) Proliferation and PSA Secretion - Stolarczyk - 2013 - Phytotherapy Research - Wiley Online Library.” Phytotherapy Research, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 25 Feb. 2013,
  13. Stolarczyk, Magdalena, et al. “Extracts from Epilobium Sp. Herbs Induce Apoptosis in Human Hormone‐Dependent Prostate Cancer Cells by Activating the Mitochondrial Pathway - Stolarczyk - 2013 - Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology - Wiley Online Library.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd (10.1111), 21 Apr. 2013,
  14. Wood, Matthew. The Earthwise Herbal: a Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants. North Atlantic Books, 2010.

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