Spring and the Dandelion

Spring has Sprung! Slowly but surely I am shaking off the lingering cold of winter and my body is trying to warm up. Feeling a bit sluggish, I am glad I have a dandelion leaf and root tincture made to assist in detoxing leftover stale energy and heavy foods of last season. Spring is such a great time to cleanse away what is no longer serving us.

I know for many this little flower is a nuisance but to me, it is an ally. I look forward to their arrival every Spring. Did you know that dandelion (taraxacum officinale) is full of good stuff for us? You can use the root, leaf, bud, and flower! The entire plant is highly nutritious. The flowers are high in antioxidants and can be used in salads, fritters, and wine, just to name a few. The greens contain vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. They can be eaten raw or cooked. I like to make a dandelion pesto. The root is full of soluble fiber and can aid in digestion and help treat liver problems, and is delicious as a tea.

For more on dandelion, see my Dandelion Monograph

So, the next time you are thinking about mowing over them, pause and ask how you can benefit from its medicine. If you are wildcrafting them, make sure they are free from pesticides, 10ft from the roadside (where they are exposed to toxic fumes) and take only 1/3, and always ask permission.

Happy Spring! Happy Wildcrafting! Happy Healing!💚

dandelion pic credit: Natalia Luchanko

Dandelion Monograph

Common Name: Dandelion

Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale

Family: Asteraceae or Compositae

Part(s) Used: Root, Leaf, Flower 

Actions: Diuretic, Cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic, hepatic, detoxifying, bitter, nutritive, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal 

Constituents:  Leaves are high in vitamins and minerals including Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, and Vitamins A, B, and C. Roots contain inulin, mucilage, latex resin, and teraxicin.

Indications: The leaf is a powerful diuretic, and because it is high in potassium it replaces this loss that other diuretics don’t. Dried leaf tea is a folk laxative and remedy for anemia and blood purifier. The root makes an excellent tonic herb, especially for impaired digestion or constipation. As a Cholagogue it may be used in inflammation and congestion of the liver and gallbladder. Other common uses; kidney failure, stones, bladder infection, yeast overgrowth, and scant pale urine.

Preparation & Dosage: Leaves may be eaten fresh in a salad, as a cooked green, or in a tea or tincture. The root may also be eaten fresh and stir-fried, tinctured, or dried and for tea as a coffee substitute. Flowers can be eaten fresh or made into many recipes including fritters and wine. For liver and gallbladder problems it may be used with Barberry or Balmony. For water retention, use with Couch grass or Yarrow. Decoction, put 2-3 tsp of the root into one cup of water, bring to boil, and gently simmer for 10-15 min, drink 3 times daily. For tincture take 5-10 ml 3 times per day.

Description: Thick dark brown, almost black taproot with white and milky within, long jagged leaves with tooth-like edges, earning its French name dent de lion, or lion’s tooth. These grooved leaves funnel rain directly to the root. Leaves are hairless and grow in a rosette form. The stem is hollow and contains a milky white substance called latex. Flowers are yellow, and there is only one flower per rosette. The flowers open in the morning sun and close in the evening, and in gloomy weather. The flower becomes a white poofy “wish ball” and spreads its seed this way.

Habitat and growing conditions: Dandelion has followed the footsteps of pilgrims for millennia. The genus with over 250 species, grows all over the world. It thrives just about anywhere. It also improves soil quality, as the root draws minerals up from deep layers of the earth, concentrating them in the whole plant. When the plant dies back it deposits these minerals into the soil. It is found in virtually every kind of habitat, from openings in deep woods to cultivated fields, from rocky hillsides to fertile gardens and lawns.

Status: Not endangered, Common weed

Cautions and Contraindications: Do not handle if you have an allergy to latex, which may cause dermatitis.

Notes: Root can be used as a dye for a magenta color

Magickal Uses: Dandelion is associated with the planet Jupiter and the element Air.

A tea of the flowers and leaves may be drunk to increase psychic ability.

Puffy seed heads can be blown to make a wish!

Resources: Botanical.com, Ediblewildfood.com, Witchipedia.com, The Herbal Handbook by David Hoffmann, Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants&Herbs by Steve Foster&James A.Duke, and my Materia Medica