Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Mason Jar of Medicine


Here is the mason jar of medicine that Vida and I are drinking daily.

It's a re-used jar from the honey guy at the farmer's market (who has some resilient labels for his jars!). It's sweating a bit because I keep it in the fridge - I find the cold drink preferable because it quiets down the plant flavor (which isn't gross, just not inherently appealing to me, the spoiled human).

Yes, the dog and I are taking the same tea. I pour it into a small bowl, drink my share, then pass it down to her to finish the two tablespoons or so I've left her. And yes, she likes it. Twice a day.

So here's the recipe:

Equal parts: dried dandelion root, dried burdock root, dried nettle leaf, dried red clover flower, and whatever extra item I choose to add (rosehips this batch, for example).

To make this jar I use 2 tablespoons of each, with water measured by filling the jar to the brim.

To make it a proper medicine... put in the dandelion and burdock (the water is in a pan by now, right), bring to a boil and then simmer gently with the lid on for 20 minutes. Then turn the heat off and add the nettle and red clover, put the lid back on and let it sit until it cools down. Strain it (I use a mesh strainer, plus a piece of cheesecloth so I can squeeze out the goodness).

Please remember to let it cool before offering it to your dog. Vida is wary of a warm bowl as her whiskers descend into it, and will pull back if she suspects the liquid it contains might be too hot.

It's important to cook the roots well, but not overcook the leaves and flowers. That's the difference between a decoction (for the roots) and an infusion (for the leaves and flowers).

Where do I buy my herbs? I buy them online from Mountain Rose Herbs. Be aware that when you order it's by weight - 4 oz of dried dandelion fills about one measuring cup, 4 oz of red clover fills about 8 cups. I will need to order dandelion and burdock again soon, for instance, while I still have plenty of the others.

We're drinking this consistently unless I turn useless and don't make it. We did skip a couple of days last week because I didn't make it, but I plan on using it for several months.

It's important to know that yours (and your dogs) liver is the center of the universe, healthwise, in the body. If there are chronic problems, look to the liver. This tea is designed to tone the liver and improve it's function. It's not an "etched in stone" recipe, but it's one that I'm comfortable with for long-term liver care.

Drink up!
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