Thursday, 24 February 2011

Making A Bitter Tincture

This month we have been asked to make a bitter tincture based on Jim McDonald’s recipe.
You also need to gather a good bowlful of dandelion roots and create your own bitter tonic using Jim Macdonald’s recipe for guidance and working on the principle that bitters are cold and need to be balanced with something warming.
I love dandelions and as they are my herbal ally this year it is good to be asked to make a bitter tonic. I did not realise bitters were cooling until it was mentioned recently at one of Sarah’s workshops.
Bitter tincture (Jim Macdonald)
Dandelion root (mixture of roasted and raw or dried) (Use gentian or yellow dock root if available)
Orange peel
1tsp dried ginger or ½-1 inch root ginger
Fill a glass jar with chopped root and peel, cover with vodka for 3 weeks in dark cold place, strain and use. Dose is 15-30 drops 15 minutes before eating or after a heavy meal to release stagnant feeling. I couldn’t find many large dandelions so gathered the biggest I could find. The recipe suggests a mixture of dandelion roots, fresh and dried or roasted. As I have no dried roots I decided to try to roast the largest ones. After a while a delicious smell wafted out from the oven and I took my roots out. The ends were a bit well done and brittle, the insides were still a bit squashy, I decided to taste one and I liked it, the taste reminded me of Jerusalem artichoke, but more bitter. I wasn’t sure whether I should have roasted them until they were totally dried out but used them anyway – it’s the only way to find out!
 I have reread Jim McDonald’s article called Blessed Bitters. The orange peel in the recipe gives orange oil which is carminative to help expel gas and the ginger adds warmth to the cooling bitters of dandelion and citrus peel but Jim also mentions that bitters are drying so I could have added a moistening herb, he suggests liquorice or a bitter herb such as fenugreek, something to bear in mind for next time.
Roots and peel in vodka

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