» Herbal reference books
» Cutting board
» Sharp knife
» Vodka, vegetable glycerin,
» Fine mesh strainer
» Clean jars with airtight lids
» Dark glass bottles for storage
Because you’ll be ingesting this tincture, the first consideration when gathering the needed herbs is location, location, location. Sure, dandelions grow in your
lawn, but does your neighbor spray pesticides on them
from over the fence? You might find some growing in
the cracks on the edge of the street, but what about
the asphalt particles and soot from cars?
Pollution does not aid digestion, so please choose only
plants that are unspoiled, fresh, and pure. The plants
I used in this project came from an abandoned hillside
garden, an organic one at that. Bonus!
At this point, hippies, witches, and shamans will
thank the plant for giving up its life to create healing
medicine. Although it’s fringe behavior, and talking
to plant spirits makes you a weirdo, can it really
hurt to express gratitude to Mother Nature?
Otherwise, shake the dirt off the root ball and
huck your plants into a basket: flower, seedpod,
leaves, roots, and all.
Dandelions are the perfect place to start. This
common flower has many significant actions on the
body. It is a bitter herb and a powerful digestive aid.
Taking it in small amounts as a tonic for the body
is very safe, and can be quite helpful in curing any
number of ailments, including sluggish digestion
and even skin breakouts. It’s often seen in salads
or in the ever-popular dandelion wine.
We’ll be making 3 types of tinctures with dandelions: alcohol, glycerin, and vinegar. Before you start
taking a tincture, I recommend, nay, insist, that
you learn about the properties of herbs and the
recommended dosages of tinctures. There are many
excellent books and websites available on the subject. It’s a wonderful way to apply the do-it-yourself
spirit to your health. Check out the list of resources
2. Prep the plant matter.
In my research, I found that using the whole plant
gives you the most complete tonic, but if you like,
yours can be just root, just leaf, or just flower. In
this example we use it all, even the spent flower
heads that went to seed. The plants will be dirty.
Rinse, rinse, rinse them.
After the dandelions have been cleaned, start
chopping them up (Figure A, next page). Chop
the roots first. The hard, dark root bark will part to
reveal pure, white flesh. Juicy, milky sap will ooze
out. That’s the good stuff. Next, chop the leaves
and stems into bits as well.
I didn’t use a knife for the flower heads. Instead
I waited until right before I was going to use them,
then I picked them apart with my fingers. I like
pulling petals off flowers — it’s fun!
3. Add menstruum and blend.
Menstruum is the herbalist’s word for solvent.
1. Gather herbs. It’s the liquid in the recipe. The menstruum
Find the perfect dandelion, and dig up the whole thing. extracts the properties of the plant, and at the
The roots of dandelions are long, strong, and twisting. same time preserves them, almost indefinitely.
Do your best to get as much root matter as possible. I made 3 different tinctures of dandelion:
If some of the root happens to break off, don’t fret; 1 with alcohol, 1 with vegetable glycerin, and
the bit left behind will grow into a whole new plant. 1 with vinegar.