Our ancestors have used dandelion for centuries as a blood builder, detox, and liver cleanse especially in the spring after the relative inactivity of winter months. All parts of this fantastic ‘weed’ are used – the leaves as a spring tonic, the flower as delicious fritters, but today, I am concentrating on making a simple dandelion tincture out of the root to stock our medicine cabinet.
Dandelion is Taraxacum officinale, which means the “Official Remedy for Disorders.” It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal pharmacy. There is no known toxicity so you can eat as much as you like of the greens.
The Practical Herbalist states, “It’s ironic that the poisons gardeners use to eradicate dandelions are the same toxins this plant offers to weed from our bodies.”
Considered a weed by most people, regulating dandelion’s presence for medicinal purposes is a healthful sustainable practice and would be at the top of my preparedness medicine chest list.
- One of the best-known blood builders and purifiers available.
- Safely reduces blood cholesterol.
- Contains excellent levels of Vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon.
- Overweight people when shedding pounds can become too acidic. These acids in the blood are destroyed by dandelion. It also supports digestion of fats.
- One of the best liver cleansers. It increases the activity of the liver and the flow of bile into the intestines.
- The flow of bile is a laxative which speeds the breakdown of various steroid hormones and indirectly has a favorable effect on eczema and skin breakouts.
- Contains all the nutritive salts for the blood. Dandelion restores and balances the blood so anemia that is caused by deficiencies of these blood salts disappears.
- Helps flush and clean out the urinary tract from the kidneys to the bladder.
- The herb to build energy and endurance and fantastic for too-low blood pressure.
- It is first-rate for use in hepatitis.
- Increases activity of the pancreas and the spleen.
- Strengthening for the female organs. Excellent to prepare for pregnancy and estrogen balance.
- Helps clear skin disorders.
Make a Medicinal Dandelion Tincture
What You Need:
~ a big bowl and gloves for gathering dandelion roots
~ 2 year-old, actively-growing dandelion roots dug from a spray-free, pet-free yard
~ a spade or small shovel to loosen soil from the roots
~ canning jar with tight fitting lid
~ vodka, 80 proof is fine
~ wash off the soil thoroughly, remove any crushed roots, and leave root hairs
~ chop the roots into 1/2″ sections
~ place roots into the canning jar, cover with vodka plus an inch or so, and cap jar
~ steep contents for 3-4 months in a dark cool cabinet to fully extract medicinal properties
~ during this period, shake the jar 2-3 times a week to thoroughly mix contents
~ when finished, strain off the tincture with coffee filter, etc. into amber bottles and label
~ discard the exhausted root pieces
Dosage: Dosage for dandelion tincture is 1/2 teaspoon 3-4 times per day for the root or leaf. Tinctures can be taken directly under the tongue and held in the mouth for a short time then swallowed, in a small amount of water, or in hot water to evaporate off the alcohol. When stored in a cool dark place extracts have a shelf life of five to seven years.
I store all the un-bottled tinctures tightly sealed in a dark corner of the old pie safe which is cool and not in direct sunlight. Remember to label and date your final product.
Once you can make a dandelion tincture, you are on the path to being more self-sufficient and can build your own preparedness medicine chest. I can’t think of a much more practical way to be an educated keeper at home. Enjoy!
* Use dandelion tincture with caution if you have gallbladder disease. Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct.
On dandelions: “If you can’t beat them, eat them.” ~James A. Duke, botanist
Thanks for reading!