Hello! This is Eloise, Secretary to the Denver Medicinal Plant Society.
As secretary I keep track of members, ensure their needs are met, and keep notes on our progress. Although I am a gardener and enjoy processing what my garden grows into teas, insect sprays, or whatever I can come up with, I’m still learning the Herbalism skills of the other members of the board. I’ll be posting regularly on what I am attempting to make and how it goes, to show that it really is all about trial and error.
Blake, Tori, and Annie keep telling there is no “right” way in herbalism. I’m here to prove it!
What follows is my first attempt to make something completely new (to me).
I started with a health concern: Dry angry spots on the legs, elbows, and eyebrows. All trips to the skin doctor, lotions, and so on have had no success. Blake had heard of a similar problem and discovered with some research that Dandelion, Burdock, and Sarsaparilla all have properties that can help the liver and skin.
I visited the Apothecary Tinctura (2900 E 6th Ave., Denver, CO 80206) to explore further. They have a self-serve counter where I measured out 1oz each of Dandelion root, Burdock, and Sarsaparilla. The ratio for my Infusion is 1:5, so 3oz of dried herbs to 15oz of Vodka. After combining, I put aside for three weeks and shook it often.
Right away, it looked like the mix would soak up all the liquid and turn into mush. But, it didn’t. About an inch of liquid remained at the top. At the end of three weeks, I transferred the liquid into about three 2oz dropper bottles, making sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the (?). That’s were the good stuff is! Remember to label your bottles, and you are done. Take three full droppers three times a day. You can dilute the concoction in 3-4oz of water if the taste is unappealing.
Blake’s Made-up Liver & Skin Concoction
Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It's a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even some vitamin D too. Dandelion also contains protein, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years as a food and as a medicine to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.
Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. It also increases the release of bile.
Burdock is a plant. The root is sometimes used as food. The root, leaf, and seed are used to make medicine.
People take burdock to increase urine flow, kill germs, reduce fever, and “purify” their blood. It is also used to treat colds, cancer, anorexia nervosa, gastrointestinal (GI) complaints, joint pain (rheumatism), gout, bladder infections, complications of syphilis, and skin conditions including acne and psoriasis. Burdock is also used for high blood pressure, “hardening of the arteries” (arteriosclerosis), and liver disease. Some people use burdock to increase sex drive.
Burdock has been associated with poisonings because some products have been contaminated with root of belladonna or deadly nightshade. These herbs contain a poisonous chemical called atropine.
How does it work?
Burdock contains chemicals that might have activity against bacteria and inflammation.
Sarsaparilla is a plant. The root is used to make medicine.
Sarsaparilla is used for treating psoriasis and other skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and kidney disease; for increasing urination to reduce fluid retention; and for increasing sweating. Sarsaparilla is also used along with conventional drugs for treating leprosy and for syphilis.
Don’t confuse sarsaparilla with Indian or false sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus, Family: Apocyanaceae). There are reports that this false sarsaparilla is a common impurity found in sarsaparilla preparations. False sarsaparilla contains none of the possibly active chemicals found in true sarsaparilla (Smilax febrifuga, Family: Smilacaceae).
How does it work?
Chemicals in sarsaparilla might help decrease joint pain and itching, and might also reduce bacteria. Other chemicals might combat pain and swelling (inflammation), and also protect the liver against toxins.