This week we made some yellow root tea. Yellow root has been used as a dyeing agent and folk medicine by Native Americans and early settlers. Even today, it is still used in rural areas of the Southern US as a home remedy for many ailments. I bought some of this root at a local farmer’s market some time ago, but have not gotten around to using it till now.
Yellow root is often used as a remedy for upset stomachs, sore throats and eye issues. As a bittering agent, it is also supposed to stimulate the appetite and aid in digestion. I can attest to the bitterness – it is awful bitter. The good thing with bitter tastes is that usually after the first few sips, the bitterness subsides (somewhat) making it easier to drink. I just made some as a general tonic, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness, but maybe the next time I have a sore throat, I will give it a try. The root’s strong yellow color is caused by berberine.
There is not a lot of information about the dosage. I chose to use 3 pieces of root. This is somewhat more than other recipes on the Internet, but I figured I can always water it down. I stripped the bark of the root for better extraction in the boiling water.
To aid in the flavor profile (I am not sure it did much) and to add other general “health” tonic properties, I added a few slices of ginger.
I simmered the root and the ginger in my trust slow cooker filled with water for about 2 hours.
Would I recommend it for afternoon tea time? Most probably not, unless you enjoy bitter and astringent tastes. I will keep it around for the next sore throat or upset stomach though – and will let you know if it helped.
Here is a video: