Cocktails & cordials: Dandelion & burdock

Burdock leaves: Matt green with white hairy undersides & large enough to make a sun-hat!

Dandelion & burdock tonic-pop: a summer childhood favourite from the milkman, along with ice-cream soda & irn-bru (A Scottish upbringing here!). However, I wouldn't recommend the last two as healing tonics, except on very special occasions!

Burdock flowers: prickly and similar to mini-artichokes.  When in flower, it is too late to harvest the root, best wait and take the seeds for use in teas and tinctures. 

Dandelion & Burdock tonic is made from the roots of both plants.  The roots are bitter and classed traditionally as 'blood cleansers' - tonics to help 'clear the system' and bing back a general state of health.  Both plants are used by herbalists for digestive complaints and chronic skin-conditions linked to under-active/over-burdened liver & kidneys, the bodies natural waste-eliminatory organs.  The real tonic is a fermented drink, but here we have a cordial recipe that can be drunk with fizzy water. It contains sugars as a preservative and is best used as a sweet, occasional drink. For a more medicinal effect, D&B decoction (made by boiling the roots in water) or a tincture (alcoholic extraction) would be more effective.

burdock seed patterns. Seeds are used for similar conditions as the root.  The seed-heads are covered in tiny hooks, the inspiration for velcro.

Dandelion & Burdock cordial

  • 1 dessertspoon dandelion root (fresh or dry
  • 1 dessertspoon burdock root (fresh or dry)
  • 2 inches ginger root
  • 1 star anise
  • 300mls water
  • dark brown sugar or honey

Dandelion: a tenacious urban dweller

Simmer the roots, ginger and anise in 300mls water over a medium-low heat for 10-15minutes, until the water is infused with colour.  Strain and measure the liquid & measure.  For every 1ml of liquid, add 1gram of sugar (or 1ml honey). Return to the pan and heat over a low heat until dissolved and thickened.   Pour into sterile jars, label, date.  

To Use: as a cordial in fizzy water (or alcoholic cocktails!)

Shelf life: Will keep in the fridge for up to 1 year. Discard if musty or mouldy.