One of the beauties of using plants as medicine is that we get to nourish our patients, while providing medicinal action at the same time. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and the properties of whatever botanicals added, herbal vinegars can be enjoyed as food, rather than swallowed by the spoonful. For this particular herbal vinegar recipe, the medicinal emphasis is on anti-inflammatory, gentle laxative, mineral content, immune balance, and blood pressure reduction. Making a spring tonic herbal vinegar is a lovely excuse to get outside, wildcraft, garden, harvest and then preserve the nutritional abundance spring has to offer.
Spring tonics have been used by herbalists for centuries: some suggest they be taken by the dropper-full, and others, like myself, drizzle them over bruschetta and make salad dressing with them. In sum, the options for culinary exploration of Spring Tonic herbal vinegars are endless!
Here is the way I decided to do it. If you have questions about what you may or may not be able to use in your own yard, feel free to send a message on the "contact" page.
8 dandelion flower heads (vitamins, beta-carotene, antioxidants)
8 fresh dandelion roots and areal parts (loaded with minerals, dandelion leaf is also a gentle diuretic)
A couple handfuls of arugula (mineral content)
Handful of fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic (immune boosting, pre-biotic)
¼ cup burdock root (pre-biotics, gentle laxative, liver detox supporting)
¼ cup dried dandelion root (pre-biotic, gentle laxative, liver detox supporting)
5 astragalus slices (immune balancing, adaptogenic)
milk thistle seed (liver protective, antioxidant)
Apple cider vinegar (about 20 oz)
1/3 cup molasses (loaded with iron, other minerals) (this will be added at the end of the month)
Add all of the plant ingredients to a jar, top with apple cider vinegar until everything is submerged. Mine ended up being about 20oz of apple vinegar. Let your vinegar sit on the counter at least a couple weeks (I let mine sit for a month), shaking daily to distribute the contents and increase potency.
Once your vinegar is sufficiently concentrated, strain into a jar and add molasses to taste.
For mine, I recovered about 20oz of vinegar and ended up using a little more than 1/3 cup of molasses.
Enjoy! And have a healthy and happy spring!