When the days are bright and warming but it’s not quite time yet for fiddling around in the garden, it might just be time to focus on edible and medicinal weeds.
On one such day, I came across some beautiful dandelion roots – and it is a perfect time to start making those into medicine.
The process is super simple:
Gather the roots.
Get all the dirt off.
(I sprayed them with a hose first, and then scrubbed with a vegetable brush.)
Chop them up.
Immerse in menstruum* of choice.
I used apple cider vinegar in this case, but could easily have done wine or vodka instead.
💥💥💥 Label. The. Jar. 💥💥💥
Extra points if the label is legible to others.
Set on the counter for a while, shaking occasionally.
That’s it. Just clean, chop, pour and shake.
When making herbal vinegars, I like to taste test them every few days. Some plants can stay in the vinegar for a long time — think about salad-dressing herbs here. Others taste great in vinegar in the first few days, but get unpleasant after a week or more. So check your potions regularly to see what works best for your needs.
Why make an herbal vinegar?
I like making medicine with vinegar because it’s easier to incorporate into the daily diet. If you’re going to be eating anyway, it just makes sense to sneak in as much medicine as possible.
It’s nice to get a break from everything being in alcohol. Vinegar also has the advantage of being less expensive — and good for folks who can’t do liquor for whatever reason.
Dandelion’s health benefits
Dandelion root is a great source of minerals. Long taproots like this are nature’s way of cycling nutrients from deep in the earth up to the soil’s surface.
The roots are also a great way to get inulin, which help supports healthy gut flora. That, in turn, supports our immune systems, our ability to assimilate nutrients, our brain health, blood-sugar balance, mood and more.
Finally, dandelions help keep the liver happy – important after a winter of less-live food — and improve digestion in general.
One of the best things about dandelions? You’ll pretty much never run out.
*menstruum is the fancy herbalist term for whatever you use to extract and preserve an herb’s medicinal components. ACV is the menstruum here. But I could just as easily have used wine, alcohol or even honey.