Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Liquid Vitamin C: Dandelion Greens and Pine Needle Tea

(Dandelion pix from, a companion site to Wildman Steve Brill's foraging page.)

Urf. I've been feeling pretty lousy the past couple of days. No energy, an excess of mucus in my system (most of it in my nose), tired, achy feeling, like a bad allergy time or starting a cold.

Yesterday I ate a bunch of garlic--good antibiotic properties and kicks the immune system into line. Since I was peeling garlic cloves anyway, and had a good store of garlic and had just seen a recipe for garlic syrup in a book called Healing Teas: How to Prepare and Use Teas to Maximize Your Health by Marie Nadine Antol, I decided to make garlic syrup. Here's the recipe from the book

Garlic Syrup

Garlic does "brew" into a quite marvelous syrup. The effectiveness of this natural medicine is so powerful, that it simply had to be included here in some form. Accordingly, here's a very old recipe for Garlic Syrup.

1 pound peeled and crushed garlic cloves [I used a half pound plus a few other heads]
apple cider vinegar
pure water
1 cup glycerine (available at pharmacies)
1 cup honey

1. Put the peeled and crushed garlic cloves in a wide-mouthed 2 quart jar [I used my 1 qt jar]
Add equal parts apple cider vinegar and pure water until the jar is 3/4 full. Cap the jar loosely and let the mixture stand in a warm place for 4 days. Shake the jar several times a day.
2. Add the glycerine. Shake to blend. Allow the mixture to stand in a warm place for 1 more day, shaking several times.
3. Strain the mixture through cheesecloth or muslin, squeezing to remove all the exhausted bits of garlic. Return the mixture to the jar. Add the honey and stir until thoroughly mixed. Store the garlic syrup in a cool, dry place.

Great-grandmother's directions:

For coughs, colds, sore throats, bronchial congestion, high or low blood pressure, heart weakness or nervous disorders, take 1 tablespoon of the syrup 3 times a day before meals.

It'll be ready in a few days. Can't wait to try this!

Since I have a tough time taking pills, I wanted to boost my immune system further by taking echinacea and goldenseal and Vitamin C with rose hips. But I keep gagging on the the Vitamin C tabs. So I went out and gathered dandelion leaves and pine needles. The power guys had been by yesterday cutting off tree limbs to keep the power lines clear, and there were many white pine boughs just lying there for me to use. The dandelion grows all over the place on the lawns by our pond, which are not sprayed with anything. I boiled water, added the dandelion leaves and pine needles, adding a handful of lemon balm for flavor, and let it steep for half and hour.

I expected my tea to be quite bitter, as dandelion leaves are bitter until the first fall frost, or so I had read, but it isn't bitter at all! It tastes good--piney and rich.

Both dandelion leaves and pine needles are rich in Vitamin C. Dandelion greens also have Vitamin A, Potassium, Phosphorus, calcium, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. Check out their nutritional portrait here. Liquid vitamin C tea!

So if the SHTF, and you can't buy your vitamins, remember where those vitamins came from in the first place: green plants. Gather up a bunch of vitamin C rich plants and brew yourself a quart or two of tea. In my opinion, it is far better to get your vitamins and minerals from a plant source than from a pill anyway--you get the benefit of the synergy of the whole plant thataway.

Making your own medicines doesn't have to be hard or complex. Just go out for a walk and make friends with your common weeds.

Hopefully, this cold/bug/whatever will leave me in a day or so. I can't abide feeling sick.
Onwards, the only direction there is,



Grammy said...

Hi, I have very much enjoyed your blog. most of this was every day use for My moms family. They were in West Virginia. I visited my Aunt in Ar in the year 2000. It was so funny she told me how when her daughter bought her new home. There was grass in her yard along with dandy lions. My Aunt said her mouth just watered. She wanted to eat them. But the thought of not knowing if some one used chemicals in the yard scared her from trying them. In Ar not many people have grass for lack of water. I was not gifted to have all the knowledge you share passed on to me growing up. But my Aunt in Wv teaches me allot when I visit her. Thanks for sharing the info on your blog. Have a great weekend

Patricia said...

Hi grammy, and welcome. I'm just learning here myself. Started serious foraging last year or so, with the help of a couple of knowledgeable friends and some books and websites. Tough times coming up and this is something I definitely want to know about! And share with others it may benefit. There'll be more coming...

tammy said...

Hi Patricia, found you from the link to my poke article :-) I love your site! That garlic syrup is something I'm going to make this weekend for sure. Susun Weed taught me to just pour honey over whole garlic bulbs to make a delicious syrup, so good I always just want to sit and eat it by the spoonful. Your honegar syrup sounds really good too. I'll put some up alongside my elderberry elixer!

Patricia said...

Hi Tammy and welcome! It occurs to me now that I should have asked you if I could cite your poke article--such a fine article and those great links! It was because of your article and the others that I decided to gather the poke berries and I am excited about their possible use. I'm not an herbalist or much of a forager yet, but it is great to be learning of both. There are some wonderful blogs to be learning from, yours among them! Welcome!

I got that garlic syrup recipe from a book on healing herbal teas, but the syrup with the organic cider vinegar really kicks. I threw in some cayenne peppers to marinate with the garlic. This syrup has already helpd me and an old friend who almost never gets colds but who got one and is now getting over it. Viva la syrup.

tammy said...

I love it when people link to my blog!!! I'm so glad you are reading and enjoying. Link away! I think we are all beginners at this, no matter how long we've been doing it. The more years I am at it, the more I see how much I still need to learn :-) That's what's so fun about it; everyday there is something new to learn.