Find it – Dandelion – Id it
The name dandelion is a corruption of the French dent de lion meaning lions tooth which refers to the shape of the leaves. Dandelions are little power houses. You can use all parts, flowers, leaves, roots even the seed heads, which automatically prompts you to make a wish. Also, ever notice that there are no dandelion puffs right before a rain? They all drop off so they are ready for a good drenching when the rain arrives. This gets them a head start on reseeding themselves. Leaves taste best when they are young. Like some older people I know they get bitter as they get older. So leave them alone. However, in the fall after a hard frost the bitterness is dispersed and you can enjoy them once again. I wish this worked the same way on people.
The white stuff in the leaves and stems is natural latex. In a pinch it will re-stick that stamp you pulled off and saved because it didn’t get cancelled by the Post Office. It works.
One ounce of the fresh leaf contains large amounts of Vit A, calcium, sodium, potassium, and trace elements. The root of the plant is the part most often used for healing purposes. It is a blood cleanser. Good for cleansing the liver, kidney and gall bladder. Collected in either the spring or fall, fresh dandelion roots can be peeled parboiled and sautéed to be served as a tasty vegetable.
Many European herbalist regard dandelion as one of the best herbs for building the blood and curing anemic conditions. I grab a leaf and pop it in my mouth when I am watering it. It’s all good.
Because of the dandelion and its yellow flower that we see so often I am adding a feature so we can preserve the flowers for later. The new feature making Flower essences. It is very easy to do, packs a wallop medicinally and can be used with any flowers. So, here is more about the dandelion and a feature on how to make flower essence.
That Learning Herbs site above is a very interesting site on wildcrafting. It also offered a wildcrafting game for kids ages 4-adult that I had to have. It arrived yesterday. It is very clever. I particularly like the cooperation aspect of the game (Nothing like monopoly, which I always hated). The idea is to get to the huckleberry patch, pick 2 pails of huckleberries and then back to grandma’s before dark. You have trouble along the way, scraped knees, bee sting, etc and the plants with pictures explaining which ones to use for the trouble. What is really cool is you can share the plants you have collected, help players that are falling behind by picking berries for them or giving them your turn. You win when everyone arrives safely back to grandma’s house. It can be played in conjunction with an online webpage that enhances the story and details on the other plants on the board. I learned some stuff I didn’t know and that is always fun. This is not a Milton Bradley production. This s a Family operation and it is very unique. Guess what the grand kids are getting for Christmas?
You just have to try this. I have bought Bach’s flower essences before, Major (my puppy dog) and I are partial to Rescue Remedy. Couple drops under the tongue calms everything down, but they are expensive, $11.95 for .25 ounce. I didn’t have a lot of dandelions so I used what I had, red clover, yarrow, honeysuckle violets and borage. Instructions said do flowers separately. As you can see I don’t always follow the directions. I put everything into one bowl.
I am going to give you a quick rundown of what I did and then you check out the link below for more details.
Flower essence recipe: http://www.thedance.com/herbs/flhow.htm
- Collect just the flower parts. Try not to touch the flowers. It’s an energy thing I think
- Arrange them face up in a bowl of spring or filtered water
- Put them in the sun for about 4 hours. Keep bugs out. Again, you don’t want any bug energy in this.
- Remove flowers by straining into a clean bowl.
- Put equal parts of brandy and the flower water into a dark glass container and cap it. Mix the contents by hitting the container sharply with the ball of your hand 30 times. ( I don’t have any idea why you do this 30 times. I did it because it sounded like there might be a curse attached if I didn’t. I did it 30 times) Also, I didn’t have any brandy so I used Cherry Herring. After I did that I went to find out if it would still work with a liqueur. Silly me. I learned that the difference between the brandy which is 60 proof and Cherry Herring which is about 40-45 proof, oh and the taste, might be the reason for using the higher proofed brandy. All I know is I sure like the taste of Cherry Herring better than Brandy but next time I will do Brandy. I think any distilled alcohol will do.
- In essence you are done. You have just made a tincture. This is the mother. There are several other steps you do to extend the tincture but I ran out of Cherry Herring so I couldn’t do the next step. Oh darn. I need to buy more Cherry Herring. There are many herbal remedies that call for tinctures. There is a lot of power in those little flowers and the power of the sun pulls it out and deposits it in the water. You now have the power. It’s Magic. Go for it.
Find it – Curly Dock – Wild Yellow Dock – ID it
Curly dock is easy to spot in the late summer or early fall. It’s tall red seed stock is a head turner in open fields. Related to Buckwheat and rhubarb. The seeds are a great deep yellow dye source. You use the root at this stage. Dock root has a reputation among herbalists as an effective tonic and cleanser for the whole system. They use it to strengthen the circulatory system, the blood, liver, kidneys, and bladder. Dock has been identified as a laxative. A tea made from the root of the plant is famous in Chinese medicine as a treatment for chronic constipation. Good to know if you are on Vicodin. You don’t boil dock like other roots, you steep it. Place a teaspoon of chopped up dock in a cup and pour boiling water over it to the very top. Cover it and let it steep for 30 minutes. Drain, reheat and drink.
Top pic is Curly dock in the fall. The pic bottom left is curly dock in the middle of summer. It’s a perennial so you could use the root at this point. Don’t eat the leaves now too bitter. Pic bottom right is Spring dock. Eat the leaves now. Nice lemony taste.
Here is more information on what to do with dock. http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/cook/RUMEX_CRISPUS.htm
Find it – Jewelweed – ID it
This is a good one to find especially when you are out wildcrafting and come in contact with Poison Ivy/Oak. I just recently found this plant for the first time while I was collecting spring water. There was poison oak everywhere and right next to the poison oak was this little flower that looked like a baby orchid. I picked it and took it home to id it and it was jewelweed. The indians say that a cure is within arms reach. I can attest to the power of this little plant. Cassie gets poison oak really bad. We have tried a lot of things to relieve the itching. Jewelweed is one of the best topical applications we found that really helped. Here is a video that gives a good closeup of the plant.
and here is a more detailed explanation of Jewelweed.
Wow, I am over my limit again. There is just so much to talk about. More wildcrafting next week.
Wildcrafting part 1 Getting Started
Wildcrafting part 2 Mugwort, Wormwood, Yarrow and Red Clover And a conversation with God and St. Francis.
Wildcrafting part 4: The CAT’S MEOW A LIFESAVING PLANT