Better Health with Jamaican Chaney Root Tea (Grows wild all over the Southeast!)

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    How to find Chaney Root
    Chaney Plants are a bramble. They are long, usually single stemmed, though several plants can come up from root, and are often tangled up together. The leaves are usually two-shades of green, i.e. variegated. For lack of a better way to remember them when you’re out in the forest, the leaves are shaped sort of like an erection. The vines have thorns. Apparently there’s a similar plant without thorns, but that’s not Chaney, so I’m told.
    Once you’ve found a patch, trace back the thickest vine you and find. The thicker the vine, the older the plant, the bigger the root. Ideally, at least a quarter inch in thickness are the biggest, and they should also have a segment on the vine toward the root that is brown, like a sheath, indicating it’s an older plant.
    When you start digging, start out a good foot and a half or two feet away from where the vine is in the ground. The roots are never directly below the vine, they tend to shoot over to one side before coming up, and you don’t want your shovel to cut through the root or the vine. If you cut through the vine so that you can’t trace it back to the root, you’ll have a hard time finding it. When you put your shovel in and start to loosen the dirt, watch the vine. If it comes up with the dirt, then you’ve likely captured the root. If the dirt seems to come up but the vine slips through the dirt, dig deeper or further away until the vine comes up with the dirt. Dig a big circle around where you think the root is, it will be much easier to get out that way. You might want to avoid the ones that are right next to trees, that tends to make it much more difficult to get completely around it.
    Generally, the root is about a foot deep or less, but larger roots may go deeper. Be sure to trace back all sides of the root, often there are large shoots off to one side or another that are just as big. They tend to clump together.
    Once you’ve pulled up the root, if you want to ensure future plants, knock off one or two of the littler nodules from the root and put it back in the ground. Cover it with some dirt and you’re good to go. Or find someone (usually in the wilds of Florida) who has so many in their own back yard they’re trying to clear it out, and keep every root you can find.
    Now you can move on to preparing it for use.

    Preparing For and Making Chaney Root Tea
    Start by letting your chaney root soak in water for 24 hours. You should only soak as much as you are going to use for your first batch of tea. Keep the rest in a cool, damp place, like in a plastic bag wrapped with a damp paper towel in the refrigerator. Be aware that you can reuse the same section of root three or four times before it’s time to use a new one. How big of a root depends on how much tea you want. I use a cranberry juice container for my tea (not the big one with the handle, the smaller one. I think it’s about 1.6 quarts or so), so I use a 3 quart pan on the stove.
    Break or cut off a section of root (or a couple of smaller roots) that would equate to about the size of your hand, rinse it again to make sure all the dirt is gone, and put it in the pan. Fill it up as much you’ll need to fill your jug (might want to fill the jug with water as a measure, then put that in the pan, add just a touch more for evaporation), then put it on high heat.
    Set your timer for 45 minutes. When it comes to a boil in about 5-10 minutes, lower the heat to a nice simmering boil, and leave it until the time is up. It should turn a lovely shade of reddish brown (lots of iron, good for anemia!) Remove from heat, let cool (or you can drink it hot if you like, but it makes a great iced tea!), transfer it to your jug and refrigerate. I used to put honey in it while it was still warm, but it tends to go bad quickly that way, so now I just leave it plain and add honey or sugar as I drink it, keeps a very long time in the refrigerator that way.
    Drink it as you would any beverage, more if you’re tackling a health problem like lowering your cholesterol or amending anemia. No less than a glass a day, but as much as you want. I never had any problems with drinking a lot of it. Hope that helps! Send me your stories after your next blood labs!

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