Today, I visited an Anishinaabe friend in White Earth territory (MN) who, awhile back, taught me about the use of the red outer bark of Čhaŋšáša (Cornus sericea, a.k.a. Red Osier Dogwood or red willow [sic]) as a tea for energy. According to my friend, they drink this tea during the labor-intensive sugarbush (maple syrup) season that immediately follows čhaŋšáša-harvesting season.
I’ve been saving the red bark since I learned about this, but I never got around to making the tea — sometimes it’s best to exercise a little extra caution around stimulants. But now, visiting this friend again, I tried the tea for the first time.
It was interesting to see the red bark lose its color as it steeped. The tea turned the color you can see in the pics.
You don’t need much of the outer bark to make a strong tea, and this is an infusion (not a decoction). It has a good, clean taste.