Dandelion: Its more than just a weed

With all the variety of plants that find themselves sprouting out of the ground and in between cracks, we tend to overlook what amazing properties our green and colored friends may have within their leaves, buds, stems, bark or roots.

Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale)– being a common yellow sprout that greets our eye in meadows, roadsides, grassy lanes (and just about everywhere else!) is an overlooked medicinal herb– with many properties that I’m sure would surprise the passerby.

As I continue to learn more about herbalism and become more famliar with mother nature, I’d like to share what I learn along the way.

This week’s herb will be on the mystical Dandelion.

So, dear reader, follow along as we venture through the valleys to discover the power and energetics that contain themselves in our yellow (and white) friend.

I hope afer this post, you learn how to responsibly forage for dandelion and spice up your meals, smoothies and medicine cabinet with homemade remedies I wish to share. Let’s begin, shall we?

Dandelion (Taraxacum) – Its benefits

Let’s start this forage by getting into the good stuff.

The root, leaf and flowers are respectfully used for teas, tinctures, oils, salads, smoothies, stir-fries! They are so beneficial, get them in when you can.

Here is a short list compiled of all the constituents that dandelion has to offer. With each herb comes great gratitude, for it’s simply amazing that nature offers so much:

  • Leaves are rich in minerals that support bone health (iron, potassium, calcium)
  • Rich in vitamins (A,B,C,D)
  • Detoxifies liver and kidney
  • Encourages optimal digestion
  • Aids in skin problems
  • Antioxidants
  • Protein
  • Roots may be used as a coffee substitute
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Boosts immune system
  • The root breaks down cholesterol and fat

Here’s a quote I’d like to provide from a highly-respected educational source.


Dandelion is seen as aiding digestion due to its bitter principles thought to stimulate salivary and gastric juices.

The root can improve bile flow which would help alleviate liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones and jaundice.  

Resource

All parts of the plant can be eaten and are often found in salads, roasted, fried, mixed in pancakes or made into wine, tea, or a coffee-like drink.  Dandelions have a taste similar to chicory or endive with a bitter tinge.

Resource

Nature is whimsical. She is the ancient ancestor whom still provides graciously. We musn’t forget our roots!

Dandelion Brew

Here I’d like to provide a great recipe for a dandelion-coffee substitute. This is a recipe I have yet to try, however this beneficial brew apparently tastes almost just like coffee if you add a bit of chicory to the mix.

Dandelion is caffeine-free, so it’s great for those trying to kick a caffeine addiction, plus, the benefits of this brew should make anybody feel good about sippin’ on it.

For this recipe, you will be needing Dandelion Roots.

You can either forage for your own (making sure the area is safe and not sprayed with pesticides or too close to roadside)

Or you can support your local herb shops and source there or perhaps you order your own dandelion roots raw from a trusted herbal resource online.

(Below’s recipe is by growforagecookforment.com):

Ingredients

Roasting Da Roots:

Spread out the dandelion root pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in a 350°F oven for about 10-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. The longer you keep it in the oven, the darker the roast.

Resource

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  • Boil for 5-10 minutes, then strain the dandelion and chicory root “coffee” into a mug and enjoy!

Some of these recipes have been gathered from an online herbal course, HerbalAcademy, as well as the highly-respected herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar.

Dandelion Tincture

Tinctures, which are very concentrated liquid extracts of herbs, are one of the most popular way to take herbal medicine internally

Rosemary Gladstar, “Medicinal herbs”

To learn more about tinctures, click here!

So Dandelion is such a beneficial tincture to make.

You can extract the herb’s active substances (all the goods you learned above) through different solvents (water, alcohol, glycerin, oil).

Each solvent extracts different properties out of the plant. So that’s where expirementing comes into play!

For Dandelion, since it is such a great digestive aid, using apple cider vinegar is a good place to go. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar in itself holds a myriad of benefits, and the two go really well with each other.

Many herbalists prefer to use apple cider vinegar when preparing herbal vinegars as it is high in minerals and is a digestive tonic in and of itself, though any good-quality vinegar will work! Herbal vinegars will remain shelf-stable for approximately six months and can last for longer if refrigerated.

-Herbal Academy

But all in all, it’s really up to what you want to get out of the herb!

This tincture recipe is cited from Rosemary Gladstar’s “Medicinal herbs” book. A great read to check out for any beginner herbalist, such as myself!

Dandelion Burdock tincture for liver and digestive health

“Part” is a self-referential term of measurement. In other words, assuming that one part is a teaspoon, you will use that as a point of reference for the rest of the recipe.

  • 1 part (tsp, tbsp, oz, etc) burdock root
  • 1 part (tsp, tbsp, oz, etc) dandelion root
  • Unpasteurized apple cider, 80 proof alcohol, glycerin

Find a glass jar. Finely chop your roots and herbs. Place them in a nice, clean glass jar.

Put enough apple cider vinegar or whichever solvent you chose to cover them completely. (Making sure the herbs are completely covered is an important step in order to prevent oxidization which will cause molding or decomposing!)

Make sure to place a natural wax paper under the metal lid to prevent any chemicals from seeping into the tincture.

Shake your mix with intention everyday for 4-6 weeks, and with just a little bit of time and patience, you have a great natural medicine ready to be used for daily benefit.

*4-6 weeks sounds like too long to wait? Invest in a Magic butter machine to speed up the process to only 8 hours!*

I’ve really been enjoying learning more of the wonders that nature has to offer.

What I have been finding within the beginning of my herbal pilgrimage is that I am feeling more connected to nature’s ancestral knowledge, which in itself has allowed us to survive and evolve to the point where we’re at now.

Hope this post has inspired some of you’s to go out there, get some dandelion and craft up some natural elixir!

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