“I am not a lover of lawns. Rather would I see daisies in their thousands, ground ivy, hawkweed, and even the hated plantain with tall stems, and dandelions with splendid flowers and fairy down, than the too – well-tended lawn.” William Henry Hudson.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, and is one of the first plants to appear in the spring. The Latin name Taraxacum originates in medieval Persian writings on pharmacy. Plants with the word officinalis, or officinale after it means that a herb plant has been used for thousands of years successfully as medicine.
Considered a noxious weed by many; Dandelion is food and medicine, and should be honored as such; we should instead consider it one of our best plant allies on the planet.
“If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.” Andrew Mason.
With all its brilliance, Dandelion teaches us perseverance; no matter what is thrown at it; pesticides, sprays, etc., it always finds a way to endue and thrive; it grows no matter what obstacle it encounters. Dandelion has been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. Dandelion, which literally translates into “lion’s tooth” in French, is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium and has detoxifying qualities.
All parts are used, the root, fresh and dried, the young tops. All parts of the plant contain a somewhat bitter, milky juice (latex), but the juice of the root being still more powerful is the part of the plant most used for medicinal purposes. Flowers are sweet and leaves slightly bitter both can be eaten raw or cooked. Other ways to use is by making a skin Poultice, tincture/extract, infusion or a tea. This remarkable plant is an abundant natural food source, as all parts of the plant can be eaten. The root is often roasted and used in teas or consumed whole; used in the past as a coffee substitute. The leaves make a great addition to salads or other dishes requiring greens and the flowers (while still yellow); can be eaten raw, cooked or even made into wine!
Dandelion has many health benefits; helps with relief from liver disorders, diabetes, urinary disorders, acne, jaundice, and anemia, to name a few. It also helps in maintaining bone health, in skin care and is a diuretic. Most bitter plants such as Dandelion help clean the kidneys and liver. Dandelion is not only official but is used in many patent medicines; not being poisonous, high doses of its preparations may be taken. Its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents. Helps protect bones, high in calcium and vitamin K, cleanses the liver, fights diabetes and used for skin Infections, high in Antioxidants, rich in fiber, and a good source of vitamin A. What a power house! I love to add it to my eggs along with chickweed; delicious combination.
After flowering is finished, the dandelion flower head dries out for a day or two. The dried petals and stamens drop off, the bracts reflex (curve backwards), and the parachute ball opens into a full sphere. We can spread these seeds to help it along; as we do this it’s a wonderful and fun way to make what I call wishes.
Dandelion is a survivor and one of our greatest plant allies.
Let’s stop using roundup and other pesticides. These plants are here to help humanity and other animals, as food and medicine; they also provide the planet with great beauty; let’s Enjoy, love and honor this amazing plant! We just can’t keep dandelion down; nor should we.
“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.” Hal Borland.
Before gathering any plant, please sit with them, honor and always thank them. Also when gathering plants from wild sources (such as backyards) it is important to make sure that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and that it does not come from an area where pets may have eliminated. See our store for bulk herbs!
Flowers and Leaves: Wash, then let steep in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
Roots: Wash very thoroughly, chop into fine pieces, and roast by heating on high in an oven for about two hours. Let Steep 1-2 teaspoons in hot water for about 10 minutes.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications. For educational purposes only; this information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.