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Dandelion & Dock Digestive Bitters

Bitters can be made with many bitter green plants and roots. The bitter taste of these plants stimulates the digestive system to jump into action, secreting all those wonderful digestive enzymes and helping us to digest our food more easily and thoroughly. In addition, many bitter greens are considered stimulants or tonics for accessory digestive organs, like the liver and gallbladder.

I tend towards coldness and dryness in my constitution, and since bitter herbs tend to be both cooling and drying, I like to warm my bitters up with some pungent spices. One of my favorite balanced bitter formulas is cooling dandelion and yellow dock mixed with warming spices and refreshing citrus. You can extract these ingredients the traditional way, in 80 proof alcohol, or in apple cider or white balsamic vinegar for an alcohol-free version.

Ingredients for the extract:

  • Quart jar

  • 1 -2 large dandelion plants - get the whole plant if possible, leaves, roots, and

  • flowers (if present)

  • 1-2 yellow dock roots

  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks

  • 2-3 star anise

  • 4-5 cardamom pods

  • 4-5 whole cloves

  • Clean peels from 2 organic lemons (or other citrus fruit)

To prepare the infusion:

  1. Cut the root away from the dandelion leaves

  2. Scrub the root thoroughly with a vegetable scrubber to remove all dirt and roughly chop, add to the quart jar

  3. Thoroughly wash and chop the dandelion leaves and add to the jar

  4. Scrub your yellow dock roots (sometimes these are difficult to clean and need peeling with a potato peeler)

  5. Chop your yellow dock roots and add to the jar

  6. Peel and chop citrus skins and add to jar

  7. Add any or all warming spices from the list above, the quantities here are not exact and you do not have to have every spice! You can play around here, maybe even add some fresh ginger root if you have it!

  8. Your jar should be pretty stuffed at this point!

  9. Fill the jar with 80 proof grain alcohol OR apple cider vinegar OR white balsamic vinegar

  10. Put the lid on tightly and give it a good shake!

  11. Let the extract macerate for 4 weeks, keeping it out of direct sunlight and away from high or fluctuating temperatures

  12. After four weeks strain the plants from the liquid. Compost the plant material and bottle the liquid into dropper bottles

How to use:

Take 1 dropperful 15 minutes before a meal.

**The author of this recipe disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. Ingesting wild plants is inherently risky. Plants can easily be mistaken and every individual will vary in their physiological response to a plant that is touched or consumed. Please do not attempt self-treatment of a medical problem without consulting a qualified health practitioner.


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