Dandelion root, food and medicine.

One of our favourite winter forage plants is the dandelion.

Taraxacum officinale.

From autumn through to early spring we collect and utilize the roots of this amazing wild plant.

As a food source, the dandelion is a power house of minerals.

The root contains potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium. It is high in folic acid, riboflavin and niacin.

The list goes on…… it also contains Vitamins E and C, Vitamin C being a natural antioxidant, and is one of the richest herbal sources of Vitamin K – essential for strong bones! It’s no wonder that we love this abundant plant.

Dandelion can be found growing in most areas and is really proving to be a plant of our times. With new research coming out all the time, it may even be proving itself in the area of cancer!

Medicinally, it’s a diuretic. With high levels of potassium, it’s a very balancing herb when used for water retention. It is a liver and gall bladder tonic as well as being anti-rheumatic and is regenerative for cells and tissue damage.

We have just made some Dandelion root tincture, which we will be using medicinally.

Tinctures that are alcohol based are usually used as medicines.

Dandelion is an amazing detoxifyer, not only of people but also of the land, its root can store toxins aswell as minerals.

The high percentage alcohol extracts and concentrates many properties, including poisons and toxins, so always be sure you harvest your roots from a clean source! We don’t recommend foraging from roadsides or areas that have been sprayed with chemicals!

 

For the tincture:

We finely chop the washed and dried roots and put them into a kilner jar.

Using a high quality vodka, pour enough in to just cover the roots.

Leaving to soak for a full lunar cycle, 30 days. Agitate every few days.

Strain and squeeze out as much of the precious tincture as possible and store in a clean bottle or jar.

This tincture can be used as a wonderful digestive and liver aid.

With the remainder of our roots we created Pickled Dandelion Roots.

These are something we are really looking forward to!

Added to winter salads or soups they add a mineral packed goodness. Nourishing herbs are best used in water infusions or vinegars, as these mediums help release the mineral and vitamin content within the herb.

Pickled Dandelion Roots:

Cleaned and chopped dandelion roots 1-2cm lengths

Knob of fresh root ginger chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic

1-2 fresh chillis chopped

Apple Cider Vinegar

1-2 teaspoons of honey optional

Method:

Pat dry your roots and slice into pieces, put into a suitable jar, adding ginger, chilli and garlic. These ingrediants can be adjusted to your taste.

Add honey if using and cover with a good quality Apple Cider Vinegar.

Cover top of jar with waxed paper before putting on a tight fitting lid.

Leave jar in the fridge for 3 wks.

Remember these are raw ingredients so best kept chilled.

Do not throw the vinegar away!! It will be rich in goodness – use with olive oil to create a salad dressing.

Even at this time of year there are a few fresh dandelion leaves poking through. Added to winter salads they are a great mineral boost, digestive, and mild bitter, to get our sluggish systems moving after the festive season.

Always do your own research on herbs and wild plants. Ensuring correct identification, facts, allergies, contra-indications and dosage.

Happy foraging,

The Plant Path Folk x