VINEGAR AS MEDICINE
Our Bitter Spring Tonic is an herb-infused vinegar that is intended to be used as a gentle, daily therapeutic, formulated to build vitality, elementally, from the ground up. Medicinal vinegars are full of life - literally, full of living microorganisms that can help to build and restore the diversity, stability and resilience of the body’s microbiome - and as such, vinegar is food as medicine, in its truest sense.
Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, nutritionally and medicinally abundant in its own right, contains all of the fruit’s inherent mineral salts, which play an integral role in metabolism, respiration, blood conditioning and nervous system vitalization. Vinegar also happens to be an outstanding menstruum (the solvent used for drawing out an herb’s unique chemical components and distinct energetic virtues), seeing as it is generally 90 to 95% water, and water is often considered to be the “universal solvent” because more substances dissolve in water than in any other chemical compound.
In formulating the Bitter Spring Tonic, we aligned ourselves with the energy of spring as a time for out with the old and in with the new, and included spring plants that are well known for their moving, cleansing, clearing and restorative qualities - or as herbalists often call them - alteratives. Alteratives are a categorization by western herbalists to describe plants that help open the body’s channels of elimination, encouraging the natural detoxification process, and gradually restoring optimal function of the body and its systems. Fittingly, some of the earliest spring herbs are alteratives, bringing movement and aliveness back into the system after winter’s slower pace. Spring also features the nutrient-dense, mineral-rich herbs necessary for rebuilding nourishment after the colder, fallow season. Nettle, Dandelion leaf, Cleavers, and Lemon Peel were selected to work synergistically to gently clear out, while fortifying the body with essential vitamins and minerals.
The flavor profile of Bitter Spring Tonic is also an important aspect of the medicine it carries. The flavors of sour (apple cider vinegar and lemon peel) and bitter (dandelion leaf, nettle and lemon peel again) are allies during spring, as they create movement and flow. They awaken the system, stimulate digestion, encourage enzyme secretion, and bring energy back to the body to greet the days of growing light and increasing creativity.
We encourage you to bring the Bitter Spring Tonic into your kitchen and into the lives of your family and community as an opportunity to align yourself with the season. We like to add it to our salad dressings, soups, to our fresh-pressed juice as a morning system-starter, or in some warm water after a meal to hasten digestion. Find a simple salad dressing recipe below that is our go-to for bringing medicinal vinegars into every meal.
Bitter Spring Salad Dressing
½ small shallot or wild onion (quartered)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Bitter Spring Tonic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Puree all ingredients together in a small blender or with an immersion blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. Use immediately or store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving if it becomes solid. Makes enough for a salad that feeds 4. Consider adding some small clipping from your garden’s aromatic herb starts, like basil, thyme, rosemary or lemon balm.
The Bitter Spring Tonic is one of four handmade, small-batch, seasonal medicines included in the Spring 2022 Seasonal Wellness Box. It is our hope that these boxes will offer you and your family the opportunity to attune your bodies to the changing needs of the seasons by bringing the herbs-of-the-season into your home apothecaries and kitchens. Each season, we release a new box that can be purchased individually, or we sell an annual subscription that includes boxes for a full cycle of the year. If you’d like to learn more about this season’s box, or our annual subscription, check out our Seasonal Wellness page.