Wait! Don’t fertilize that lawn!
Although you may consider dandelion a weed, the plant is also an herb that has been part of traditional medicine for hundreds of years. Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin-A, C, iron, calcium and detoxifiers.
Dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, grows as a wild perennial in temperate regions around the world. Its familiar yellow flowers open each day when the sun rises and close daily at sunset. The leaves have several medicinal uses, including as a diuretic, for digestive complaints, to keep blood sugar levels low and as a cancer preventive.
Making your own dandelion tincture is easy and the main ingredient may be growing right outside you door. Get your weed puller and get harvesting!
- Collect the dandelions. Find plants that have not been touched by pesticides or herbicides. Fresh plants can contain more useful elements than dried plants, but in a pinch good-quality dried dandelion may be substituted.
- Use your weed puller or small shovel to dig around the roots. Collect the entire plant. It is best to collect more than you think you’ll need because when you are preparing the tincture, the plant does wilt down a bit.
- Clean the plants. Take the dandelions and gently shake off the dirt, then use clean water wash the roots and leaves.
- Slice the roots thinly and gently chop and then bruise the leaves with either your fingers or a mortar & pestle.
- Fill a quarter to two-thirds of a Mason jar (or other glass jar with a secure top) with dandelion root & leaves, add distilled water until the roots & leaves are covered. Fill the rest of the jar with 100-proof vodka or everclear. Seal the jar tightly.
- Set the jar in a warm area. The sun will not harm the tincture. About once a week, shake the jar to help distill the dandelion root & leaves into the tincture. The tincture will be ready after about four weeks. Be sure to label your jar with the date & ingredients.
- Strain the liquid through clean cheesecloth into a sterile amber eye-dropper bottle.
- Store your tincture in a cool, dry place. Properly prepared tinctures can last for years due to the high alcohol content.
- Take 20-25 drops of the tincture in a small glass of water 2-3 times a day for general wellness.