03 December 2015
Harvest Dandelion Root
And Make a Tincture
When we start to see frosty nights, perennial herbs send their medicine below the ground to store in their roots over the winter—so this time of year, the roots are at peak potency. Time to dig for medicines!~
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herb that has been used medicinally for many generations, but has become detested as a weed today. Dandelion is highly nourishing for the liver and, in today’s world, everyone’s liver is challenged by environmental toxins. It’s ironic: we have dandelion offering herself in great abundance in yards and lawns and gardens—where she is largely disposed of or ignored—at a time when we all could use some liver support!
The liver is also where our hormones are manufactured; supporting our livers is an essential part of supporting female hormonal balance. Eaten raw in salads, dandelion leaves are an acquired taste, but one that’s worth developing. In the fall, the leaves taste sweeter, as the plants concentrate sugars in their leaves to prevent early freezing. The leaves contain so many easily absorbed nutrients: vitamins A to D, calcium, potassium, iron . . . the list goes on and on. This wholesome, free food also benefits the blood, stomach and kidneys.
Making your own tinctures is easy. In fact, the strongest tinctures are those made from fresh plants in your backyard. Many commercially available tinctures are actually made from dried plants that have been stored and shipped long distances, which reduces their efficacy.
Step outside your door and harvest a basketful of dandelion plants—roots and all—and follow the simple "Fresh Herb Tincture Making" directions to receive the medicinal benefits of this common "weed!"
Fresh Herb Tincture Making
- Identify and harvest the plant parts you want to tincture
- Look through the plant material and discard damaged parts
- Do not wash any part of the plant except roots
- Flowers, berries, and most leaves can be used whole. Tough leaves and stalks can be chopped coarsely. Roots can be chopped with a knife or blended with the alcohol
- Fill a jar to the top with the plant material, packed tight
- Fill the jar to the top again, with 100-proof vodka, and cap
- Label the jar—eg, Dandelion root, 100 pf vodka, 11/3/2015
- Top off the liquid level the next day
- Leave your tincture brewing on your counter for six weeks
- Strain out the plant material
- Store the tincture in a cabinet out of direct sunlight (or an amber bottle); potency will be retained for at least 3-5 years