Monday, May 9, 2011

Foraging – Going Underground: Roasted Dandelion Root Tea

Two years ago I was bit by a brown recluse spider. My treatment consisted of 43,000 mg of antibiotics within ten days. To say that I was wiped out is an understatement. I felt like a shell of myself; I feared that I would never feel normal – whatever that is – again.

In order to restore my immune system and regain my strength, I embarked on a daily regimen of natural herbs and supplements. In addition to the wonder of red clover tea, I began to drink roasted dandelion root tea, which is an effective detoxifier loaded with vitamins and minerals. “Naturopathic practitioners use dandelion root tea to treat skin conditions, liver disease and gastrointestinal upset”i.

Unfortunately, the dandelion has gotten a bad rap. Our society categorizes it as a weed and will stop at nothing to eradicate it from the earth. I cringe whenever I see advertisements where people happily squeeze the trigger on a bright green plastic bottle and fire poison on a dandelion plant, killing it instantly. What a tragic victory, killing a rich source of “vitamins A, B complex, C and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc"ii.

I have become quite fond of roasted dandelion root tea – the bitter, sweet, almost nutty flavor is soothing in addition to astounding health benefits. Knowing that it is good for cleansing the liver and gall bladder, while offering an abundance of vitamins and nutrients is reassuring.

Some people prefer to blend the roots with chicory and or beet roots to make coffee or spice it up to make Chai; it is a personal preference.

You can purchase packaged roasted dandelion root tea at health food stores, the roots alone, or already blended with other roots for coffee. I prefer to harvest, roast, prepare and enjoy my own favorite tea.

The time for harvesting roots is in the spring before it produces a flower, or in the fall after the flower has passed. When the plant is flowering, the sap which contains the nutrients is invested in the stem and flower and the roots have lost potency and flavor. That is when you use the flower for dandelion beer or wine!

I wish that I didn’t have to mention this, but I do. Please take care to harvest dandelions where you are certain that the area has not been treated with pesticides or herbicides. Remember, it’s all about avoiding and eliminating poisons and toxins.

Depending upon the soil, you can loosen the earth around the plant with your bare hands or you might need a trowel or shovel to dig up the roots.

After I have a heaping basket full of dandelions, to avoid making a mess in the kitchen, I sit on the bottom step of my porch and shake the excess dirt from the roots. I separate the greens from the roots and place them in two piles – the greens are excellent in salads or steamed like spinach. Like the roots, they are best in the spring and fall.

Some people scrub the roots under clear, cool water while others prefer to soak them. I have done both, but think that scrubbing them is better because after that, you roast them and it takes longer if the roots have absorbed a great deal of water.

After the roots are clean, I let them dry on a clean cloth towel before chopping them into small chunks and spreading them on a cookie sheet. I set the oven at 170 degrees F and roast for approximately three hours. Stir them from time to time and check to make sure that they are brittle and dry before removing them from the oven. Moisture causes mold growth.

I keep my roasted dandelion roots in a glass jar with a tight seal. You can use your wildest imagination when making your roasted dandelion root tea. This is one of my favorite recipes:

1 tablespoon roasted dandelion root
1 or 2 whole cloves or a pinch of ground clove
½ cinnamon stick or dash
1/8 tsp of minced whole ginger root or pinch of powdered ginger

Place above in a reusable [hemp, silk or cotton] tea bag or strainer and steep in 8 – 10 ounces of boiling water for about ten minutes, or boil for five minutes in a saucepan and strain into your cup.

Sweeten with a few drops of local maple syrup or blueberry honey.

Nothing compares to going underground for a delicious, earthy cup of tea that has been right there under your nose all along. How sweet it is.

From Journal - Babies Breath

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Photo Courtesy of:  < >

1 comment:

  1. Maryjane, did you write this?

    I like it very much and would like to get a permission to reprint it. Whom should I contact?

    Best regards!