Monday, 28 February 2011

Dandelion Infusions

 Yes, more dandelion, this concludes my reporting of my February work! As I couldn’t find any Burdock or Mullein I have kept myself occupied with my herbal ally.The second Herbal Ally Challenge from Dancing With A Field of Tansy suggests making an infusion of your ally and drinking it every day for a week and noting any experiences or effects. In my case this is meant using a dandelion infusion.
Felt a bit apprehensive about drinking this, what if I didn’t like it, what if it has strong effects on my digestive system; I didn’t want a laxative effect before I started a 12 ½ shift at work!
I first tried a cold infusion, quite refreshing and calming and weakly bitter but definitely bitter. A slight bitter taste remained on the tongue afterwards; I also became aware that my tongue felt a bit dry and furry.
 I thought the infusion had done this to my tongue but when I got up the next day my tongue felt the same so I think the infusion just helped me to become aware of this. I looked in the mirror and saw a thin white coating on tongue; I have heard that the appearance of the tongue can indicate the health of the body which prompted me to search on the internet for tongue diagnosis. I decided my tongue looked pale, had some red spots on the tip and had a thin white coating, was I seriously ill?!
 I found some information from the Daily Mail with the view of a naturopath and traditional Chinese herbalist.

Pale colour:
 The naturopath says: If the tongue appears pale this could mean that your blood is lacking in haemoglobin - the iron-containing protein found in red blood cells. This will often result in tiredness and lethargy. Eat a well-balanced diet containing plenty of iron. This is possible, as a vegetarian of 23 years I am sometimes a bit anaemic.
The Chinese herbalist says: In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) this means you have a cold tongue and you probably lack energy or feel tired. White is the colour of metal element and in TCM this refers to the lungs and colon. A pale tongue could indicate problems in these two organs. Treat with warming herbs such as garlic, ginger and cinnamon. I have been feeling tired and run down, I like ginger tea so will try some, but not until my dandelion week is over or I won’t know which herb has helped.
Red spots:
 The naturopath says: A strawberry-like patch on the tip of the tongue is often caused by hot drinks. This sounds probable; my husband says I have an asbestos mouth when it comes to hot drinks!
The Chinese herbalist says: Patches of spots on the tongue reflects an allergic constitution, such as eczema and asthma. A Chinese herbalist may prescribe a mixture of herbs such as Devil's Claw, Red Clover and garlic for eczema and liquorice or Gingko for asthma. My only allergy I’m aware of is hay fever.
White coating:
The naturopath says: A thin coating on the tongue is healthy and normal. A heavy white plaque however could indicate candidiasis or oral thrush - a fungus infection of warm, moist areas of the body.
To clean the tongue use a natural mouthwash twice a day. Mix cider vinegar with two cloves of garlic, one teaspoon of dried sage and one table spoon of honey poured into one pint of boiling water. Store in the fridge and use within three days.
The Chinese herbalist says: This reflects the state of the digestive system. If the tongue lacks coating, it means the stomach enzymes which break down food in the digestive system are not functioning properly. The coating of the tongue should be thin and white.
So a thin white coating is normal! I like the mouth wash recipe but wouldn't use it when I needed to breathe near anyone else!
 The next day I tried the infusion at room temperature, the flavour seemed stronger. I tried a cool one later and enjoyed it more; I felt a warm sensation just above my naval while drinking it and warmth in my stomach and gall bladder area nearly an hour afterwards. This was a bit confusing as bitters are supposed to be cooling, maybe the dandelion found my gall stones.
 Kristine Brown used dried herbs, I used fresh as this is what was available to me. I have watched Susun Weed’s You Tube video on herbal infusions, she uses dried herb and lots of it so I’m not sure if my infusion was strong enough. I can’t say I felt a big difference over a week, I did seem to have more energy by the end of the week. I never expected to be looking into tongue diagnosis when I started this task, it's funny where life takes us.


  1. Just a thought before you make a Susun Weed style infusion - most of her infusions are for mineral rich herbs - hence the large amounts of dried herb and seriously long infusion times. Not sure you really want to do this with dandelion - although you could experiment and see what happens! You mention a possible anaemia - and you haven't started a nettle/apricot red wine tonic why?? :)

  2. Yes thankyou, maybe I need to consider the infusion idea again! I really enjoyed the iron tonic when we made it at the Sanctuary and lots of nettles are shooting up around me so I'm going to get some apricots. It's great when something that does you good tastes so nice.