Wild Remedy Plant Profile | Dandelion
Updated: Jun 23
Despite a rich history in folklore and medicine, the modern view of dandelion has been whittled down to nothing more than a pesky yard weed.
Somewhere along the way we were taught to believe that these spring blooms that were once fairy dresses, divination tools, and powerful liver tonics are annoying weeds that must be removed from our lawns by all means necessary.
But allow me to reintroduce you to dandelion, not as a stubborn weed but as a wild edible and medicinal herb with so many beautiful gifts to offer us.
From lawns to roadsides to cracks in pavement, these sunny wildflowers pop up almost everywhere in the early spring. All parts of the dandelion can be harvested and used; roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
Dandelion leaves are excellent wild sources of many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium. I harvest the leaves early in the spring, when they are a bit more tender, and use them in salads, on sandwiches, or sautéed like you would spinach.
Dandelion flowers are also edible and can be eaten raw in a salad, added to pancakes or biscuits, crafted into a jelly, or if you're feeling adventurous use the flowers to make a dandelion wine or mead. (Hint: be sure to pluck the petals off of the sepals, the green part at the base of the flower, as they are very bitter and overpower the delicate sweetness of the petals when used in food or drinks!)
Ya'll know me and my love for herbal oils, and dandelion flower infused oil is one that I can't resist crafting when our meadow is covered in a blanket of blooms.
When infused as an herbal oil, dandelion oil offers pain relief, soothes and hydrates the skin, and helps to release tension in the body. She is also beautiful medicine for breast tissue, with the ability to soften cysts and fibroids and move the lymph (Psst, a dandelion and violet infused breast oil will definitely be a moss & violet offering soon!)
The roots can also be harvested and used in a variety of medicinal ways. As a bitter herb, dandelion roots are traditionally used to aid digestion and support the liver. You can harvest the roots to craft into a tincture or a digestive bitter to really stimulate your body's natural detoxifying systems.
A simple way that I like to enjoy dandelion root is to roast them and brew as a coffee alternative. A nice strong dandelion root tea, with a touch of cream and honey, really gives you that bitter, nutty, coffee-like flavor of a cup of coffee without all the caffeine (and the added benefit of dandelion's nourishing medicine).
As I begin to see dandelion's toothed leaves emerging from the Earth, I am being flooded with inspiration for magical remedies that dandelion will be highlighted in this season.
And while I could go on and on about all of dandelion's medicinal offerings, I think what I love most is her resilient and bountiful spirit.
She grows wildly even in poor conditions, she can't be tamed or eradicated (despite how hard so many folks try), and proves that you don't have to look far to find a bounty of wild medicine.
In fact you may find that once you start tuning into nature’s medicine, what you need most is often right there under your feet.
Note: Before harvesting dandelions, or any other wild plant, make sure you are not harvesting from public lawns, busy roads, or other places that may be polluted or exposed to chemicals. And, it is imperative that you properly identify a plant before harvesting and using for food or medicine! If you're unsure, do not consume.