First, dig up your roots! Below is a picture of what a typical dandelion plant looks like in the grass when it’s not in bloom.
I have been making my own fresh dandelion root tincture for years, even running around and digging up roots from the grounds of our apartment complex when we used to live in an apartment in Maryland many ages ago! In order to dig up the roots it’s best to choose a time when the ground is pretty soft, like after a good rain, position your shovel about 6-8 inches out from the center of the plant and dig around it until you can pry up the plant with a “block” of dirt surrounding the roots. Using your hands, carefully remove the dirt until the roots are exposed, being careful not to break off any pieces. You will need several plants.
Once you have collected all of your roots, take them inside and wash off as much of the dirt as you can, also cut off the greens (I usually save these and feed them to the goats or rabbits, when we used to have rabbits…).
Next, chop up all your roots into bite-sized pieces and loosely fill a pint or quart sized jar with them, depending on how much you have. For this post I decided to make a pint of fresh dandelion root tincture.
Fill the jar to the top with the vodka, any ol’ cheap vodka will do, it doesn’t have to be something special..unless you prefer a nicer brand..there is no rule that says that you can’t use good vodka…I, however, prefer to save that for my martinis, shaken not stirred please 😉
After filling, screw on the lid and keep in a dark cool place for at least 6 weeks or longer, the longer it sits the more potent it becomes. The back corner of a seldom used kitchen cabinet that isn’t near the stove is a good place. After about 2 days, check on it and top it off if necessary as some of the vodka gets absorbed by the roots. After 6 weeks strain out the roots squeezing as much vodka as you can out of the roots, you can store the resulting tincture in the same jar just make sure you don’t expose it to light as light causes the active components of the tincture to rapidly decay. So, inside a cabinet is a good idea 🙂
Dandelion root is great for all kinds of digestive and intestinal issues, especially for stimulating digestive enzymes in the liver and pancreas, increasing the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food, and reducing sugar cravings! Anything bitter tasting will help with these issues as it is the bitter taste itself that acts as the catalyst to increase the production of these enzymes. You have to taste the bitter flavor for it to work, you cannot try to mask it with other flavors. Most people in our society have a strong aversion to bitter flavors, preferring sweet and salty instead, and that is why most suffer from diseases that are the by-product of malnutrition because their bodies are not able to assimilate all the nutrition from their food due to poor digestion. The bitter flavor has grown on me and I miss it if I don’t have it regularly. This fresh tincture will also help preserve and detoxify your liver which is your body’s “janitor”, this is especially important during pregnancy which can be hard on the liver, responsible for keeping the blood clean and clean blood = LONG LIFE! Dandelion is one of my top five favorite herbs, something you can take throughout your life as a ‘health promoting tonic’. You can take it as a tea or a tincture..I usually take about 1/2 tsp. of tincture a few times a week when I have it on hand. You can also cook with it in soups and stir fries, although I would use only a tablespoon of chopped up root for your average sized wok full of veggies. Enjoy! 😀