September 5, 2023

Healthy Roots You Need To Know About: Dandelion, Gentian and Angelica

Exploring nature’s medicinal marvels

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Today, I want to share some unique recipes with you. Herbs and spices are a great addition to drinks, cooking, and desserts, provide quinine flavour and support our health.

Photo by Taryn Elliott

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Dandelion (root)

Dandelion root has long been used in traditional medicine as a natural detoxifying agent. It is believed to support liver function and promote the elimination of toxins from the body.

How to use it

It can be used to make tea or incorporated into herbal blends to support overall detoxification. I also enjoy adding it to cooking, especially rice/pilaf.

Recipe 1 — Dandelion Syrup

Dandelion syrup or dandelion honey is a delightful, floral-infused sweet syrup that can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, toast, or as a natural sweetener in various recipes.

You will need

  • 2 cups of dandelion petals (petals only, not the green parts)
  • 2 cups of filtered water
  • 2 cups of coconut sugar (Coconut sugar will give your syrup a hint of caramel and coconut taste. You can use granulated sugar, feel free to make sure it’s vegan, since most traditional household sugars aren’t.)
  • 1 lemon (optional, but recommended for flavour)

Coconut Sugar Options To Buy

Dandelion Petals To Buy


  1. Harvest dandelion petals and remove the stem and any green parts. Store-bought also works.
  2. In a pot, simmer dandelion petals in filtered water for about 30 minutes.
  3. Strain the liquid, pressing petals to extract flavour.
  4. Add sugar to the liquid and stir until dissolved.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 1–1.5 hours until it thickens like honey.
  6. Cool, transfer to jars, and store in a cool, dark place.
  7. Feel free to use it like you’d use any other syrup. It’s great as a pancake topping paired with walnuts.

Recipe 2 — Dandelion Tea

You will need

  • 2–3 fresh dandelion roots (or 1–2 tablespoons of dried dandelion root)
  • 4 cups of water
  • Optional: syrup or lemon for flavour

Dandelion Roots To Buy


  1. Harvest or purchase dandelion roots and wash them thoroughly.
  2. If you’re using fresh roots, you can optionally dry them for a day or two.
  3. Boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan.
  4. Add the dandelion roots to the boiling water.
  5. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20–30 minutes.
  6. Strain the tea into a cup or teapot.
  7. Optionally, add dandelion syrup, some other syrup or a slice of lemon for flavour.

Gentian root

In herbal medicine and traditional practices, the root of certain gentian species is used for its medicinal properties. It contains bitter compounds that stimulate digestive functions, improve appetite, and help with the production of digestive juices.

How to use it

Gentian root is commonly used as an herbal supplement or as an ingredient in bitters and liqueurs. Gentian powder can be used to add unique flavour to savoury cooking, too.

Recipe 3 — Gentian roasted vegetables

You’ll need

  • assorted vegetables of your choice
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sweet paprika powder, if desired
  • dried gentian root powder

Gentian Root Powder To Buy


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. Wash and cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Toss the veggies with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of dried gentian root powder. If this is your first time using it, make sure you do not put too much and keep in mind that it has a strong bitter taste.
  4. Place them on a baking sheet.
  5. Roast in the oven for about 25–30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and golden brown.
  6. Enjoy them with some protein of your choice, as a salad, or however else you like.

Angelica root

Angelica root, which you may have heard as Angelica Archangelica, is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries due to its various health benefits. It is native to Northern Europe and is commonly found in herbal remedies and traditional medicine practices. Angelica root has a distinct aroma and flavour, which can be described as earthy and herbal.

How to use it

Angelica root is known for its usage in traditional Chinese medicine and European herbalism. It can also be used in other ways: culinarily, in the making of herbal tea, liqueurs and spirits, in aromatherapy and perfumery.

Recipe 4 — Angelica root fried rice

You will need

  • 1 cup of long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2–3 slices of dried Angelica root (about 1–2 inches in length)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup of green peas
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce (or until it reaches your desired taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish

Dried Angelica Root To Buy


  1. Rinse the rice a couple of times and cook it with the Angelica root slices in 2 cups of water. Simmer until rice is tender, then let it steam.
  2. In a skillet, heat some oil, and stir-fry onion and garlic until fragrant.
  3. Add carrot and peas, and stir-fry until slightly softened.
  4. Combine cooked rice and Angelica root with vegetables in the skillet.
  5. Drizzle with soy sauce, season with salt and pepper.
  6. Stir-fry for 5–7 minutes until flavours meld.
  7. Serve, garnish with cilantro or parsley if desired.

Recipe 5— Angelica root syrup

Angelica root syrup can be used as a cold or cough remedy, even to aid digestion and alleviate bloating.

You can also use it as a sweetener for drinks and desserts.

You’ll need

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dried angelica root


  1. First, combine the water, sugar, and dried angelica root in a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Next, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 10 more minutes.
  4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool.
  5. Once cooled, strain the syrup to remove the angelica root solids and store it in a sealed container in the fridge.

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