My Herbs Blog
Oh- how I am already missing the plants of spring, and look forward to the next time I see them bloom. When you can not enjoy a fresh plant, or fresh root, dried is the next best thing. What I have learned, and also experienced is that herbs are the best medicine in tea form. There is something spiritual, earthy and so natural about making a tea/ tisane/ decoction or infusion of plant matter.
Let me first define those for words for you: An Herbal Tea is plant material extracted into water, by sun, heat, or even lunar rays.
Tisane- This is actually another word for Infusion, and is employed when working with the delicate parts of a plant, like the flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, and roots that have volatile oils.
"Infusing extricates the easily rendered vitamins, minerals, tannins, mucilage, delicate volatile oils, and many of the plant's chemical constituents."
-Rosemary Gladstar (The Science and Art of Herbology)
A Decoction- Is a type of infusion, but is used for roots and barks. The plant matter that is harder, and stubborn and needs some more time in slightly boiling water to extract the important materials.
To make a really good, and strong Dandelion Root herbal tea, you will employ the decoction method. Dandelion roots, can be dug up and I do have video on this process you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E71XwW0i03k
Chances are you have not already dug up roots, or enough for an entire winter. I know I have not. I usually use my dandelion roots pretty quickly and have to rely on those I buy. Look for herbs that are strong in smell, color, and taste. It may be hard to taste before buying but if you are able to sample from a small farm, then I would recommend that. More than likely if you buy from a small farm your herbs will be good!
Dandelion roots smell so good! I love opening a bag and taking a deep breath. I think I crave dandelion in all forms, the leaf, the flowers, the roots. My body must need them!
I also learned from Rosemary Gladstar's teachings to never make just a cup of tea. (Unless you are using tea bags). I am going to do a link here for Traditional Medicinals Dandelion tea. This was Rosemary Gladstar's company in the beginning and truly I think the only box tea worth drinking. If you do not want to buy the roots, but want to enjoy dandelion root tea. Try Traditional Medicinals Organic Roasted Dandelion Root tea.
Anyway let us get back to the directions. You will need a large pot with a lid, 1 cup dandelion root (dried), and 1 gallon of water. That is it! Three ingredients. I like to make my dandelion tea strong. It is much tastier, and more effective herbally. Pour your water into the pot and put on the lid. Turn the heat on medium high for a few minutes. Add the dandelion roots and replace the lid. You will want to keep watch on the pot, as soon as the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium, or a simmer and put the lid back on. Simmer the roots for 25 minutes (with the lid on).
When the simmer is up, remove from heat and let stand another 10 minutes to "steep" further. At this point you can serve the tea hot with honey and milk, or let it cool further and put in a gallon jar in the refrigerator to drink cold. I personally like it both ways.
Lastly- I think it would be prudent for me to share the virtues of dandelion roots, as it is most fitting for this post. According to Dr. Nicole Apelian in her book The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies (which is a great starter book by the way) "Dandelion root is used to aid digestion and benefits the kidneys, gallbladder, and the liver. It stimulates bile production, helping with the digestion of fats and toxin removal. It removes toxins from the body and restores electrolyte balance, which improves liver health and function."