Dandelion is common, abundant, and incredibly nourishing --- a weed par excellence! Although hated by those who want a perfect lawn, dandelion is a powerful medicine, possessing the power of the lion's tooth and the strength of the eagle's claw. The Greeks called dandelion taraxos achos: "disorder remedy."
Regarded as a supreme liver tonic, and used around the world for that purpose, dandelion root stimulates the flow of bile from both the gallbladder and the liver. Dandelion is an unfailing ally for relief in all cases of liver distress. A dose is 20-40 drops of tincture, or a tablespoon of dandelion vinegar, taken over food or in water, 2-4 times a day, for as long as necessary.
Dandelion root (tinctured or infused in vinegar) is a reliable appetite stimulant. It is best when taken just before meals. I rely on it as a tonic for the stomach, pancreas, and kidneys, as well as the nervous, glandular, immune, and lymphatic systems. Consistent use of dandelion root vinegar creates a potassium rich, anti-cancer environment and helps clear free radicals from the bloodstream. Dandelion root is an excellent ally for those dealing with cancer, AIDS - related illnesses, swollen lymph glands, Epstein Barre virus, and mononucleosis.
Fall-dug dandelion roots are 25 percent inulin, a plant sugar that can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce hypoglycemia, and prevent adult-onset diabetes. In addition, inulin combines digestive tract, absorb heavy metals, and encourage the growth of friendly intestinal flora.
Dandelion root possesses considerable blood nourishing abilities. Its rich stores of potassium help insure a healthy heart. Regular use of dandelion root lowers cholesterol, brings down high blood pressure, and helps prevent arteriosclerosis. It is also a specific antirheumatic.
Rich in phytosterols, dandelion roots are known as an excellent reproductive system tonic. I call upon dandelion as an ally when trying to regulate and stabilize my hormone production. Dandelion also inhibits the growth of the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections (candida albicans) when used in a sitz bath (dandelion vinegar diluted in water) or applied as an infused oil to the vaginal opening.
To help heal breast tissue, I grate the fresh root and apply it as a poultice to sores, impacted milk glands, and cysts. An infused oil of dandelion roots, flowers and / or leaves is used for breast massage. I sometimes blend it with violet oil and add a few drops of essential oil of lavender.
Chinese herbalists use the entire plant (roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds) as a liver tonic and diuretic. They call it pu gong ying. They use dandelion root against breast cancer, colds, bronchial problems, itching, and internal bleeding. Ayurvedic healers do the same.
American Indians wise in the ways of dandelion used the entire plant to remedy a variety of ills. Fox used the roots to poultice chest pains, Bella Coola for relieving stomach pains and heartburn, and the Delaware and Mohican as a tonic laxative. Navajo and Papago women used dandelion to tone their reproductive organs, bring on menstruation and relieve menstrual cramps. Rappahannock and Chippewa used dandelion as a blood-nourishing tonic.
A typical dose of dandelion root tincture is 10-100 drops a day. A dose of infusion made from dried dandelion root and/or leaf is 1-2 cups a day.
It's no wonder dandelion is used to build strength, energize, and enhance vital life forces. Dandelion roots are high in iron, manganese, phosphorus, protein, sodium, and vitamin A. They contain an especially well-balanced array of calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, potassium, riboflavin, zinc, and vitamin C complex.
Dandelion leaves are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B, C, and D, potassium, iron, calcium, and phosphorus. They are an excellent spring tonic, helping to revitalize the body and rejuvenate the liver. I eat them raw or cooked, brew them into infusions and use them in vinegars and tinctures. You must experience dandelion for yourself! The strengthening effect of integrating this absolutely cosmic herb into your diet for six weeks each spring is astounding. We eat it daily.
Steamed or boiled with garlic and a bit of tamari, or lightly sprinkled with herb vinegar, and in our salads, dandelion greens are a mainstay of our mid-day meal all spring.
Dandelion leaves are gentle, yet fast-acting in helping to relieve bloating, breast tenderness, and other problems associated with water retention. Old herbals recommend an infusion made from the dry leaves as a treatment for gout. I prefer a daily dose of vinegar made from dandelion's fresh roots leaves. It's best when taken for at least one year.
Dandelion flowers steeped in olive oil are a wonderful moisturizer and a great tension-relieving massage oil. These beautiful golden blossoms possess the ability to help release emotions held in the muscles. Steeped in wine, dandelion flowers make a delicious aperitif that soothes heartache.
Dandelion cap is a discutient. It can absorb and dissolve diseased tissue, tumors, and abnormal growths. Break the plant anywhere on the leaves, stem, or root and a white milky sap emerges. Consistent applications make warts (even those you've had forever) disappear in "no time."
Dandelion flower essence, taken internally or applied topically, helps the release of emotions. I take it to enhance my openness to cosmic influences and to relax. It is useful for anyone engaged in deep work with their body, such as yoga, tai chi, reiki, massage, or chiropractic adjustments.
Dandelions grow just about everywhere, and their appearance is a sure sign that herbicide sprays have not been used in that particular area.
Early each spring on a glorious blue-sky day, we love to go our to harvest dandelion roots. The smell of fresh spring soil fills the air and our muscles rejoice at working again in the gardens after winter. We bring home the golden-colored roots with leaves still attached, lightly rinse them, brushing off any remaining soil with a stiff brush, and fill our jars with the never separate the leaves from their roots. Dandelion's powerful healing constituent, taraxacin, is concentrated in the sap and we don't want to lose a drop of it. Six weeks later our mineral-rich vinegar is ready to use in countless ways throughout the year.
It's a lot easier to dig dandelion if it's allowed to grow in the garden where the soil is loose. We actually planted dandelion in my garden, and let it "escape" for a wilder flavor. The slender, jagged leaves will grow into a huge rosette that is quite ornamental, and the sight of those bright golden blossoms in spring always enlivens me.
I harvest dandelion leaves year round and the flowers as they bloom. The roots like most perennials are ready to dig anytime after the fall of their second year of growth.