I love dandelions. My husband finds them to be an annoying weed. It was not too long ago that people began to see them as such rather than the nutritious healing plant that they are. Aside from looking like sunshine on the ground dandelions have many uses. So many they should be again planted in gardens and not terminated. This is my argument with my husband anyway.
Dandelions contains (in the most basic terms) sterols- a type of plant steroid, tannins- a type of astringent, glycosides- used in plant base medication, resin- common in plant life in the form of fragrance, essential oil, and vitamins, C and A.
Salad – I was told the in the spring great Grandma could be found on her hands and knees in the yard with her bowl picking the young dandelion leaves for the years first fresh salad. You might laugh at this but next time you buy mixed greens or order a mixed green salad check the leaves, most mixes include dandelion leaves. They are somewhat bitter when they are young, so I like to add them to other young greens with shallots, walnuts, apple chunks, blue cheese and a vinaigrette dressing. As the plant gets older the leaves get more bitter. Cooking or steaming the leaves will reduce some of the bitter taste. Dandelion leaves can be used in place of spinach.
Dandelion Coffee – Dandelion roots make a drink that’s taste is very close to coffee and isn’t quite as hard on your system. In the fall dig the roots and wash them well. Once they are dry, chop them into smaller bits and roast until they are dried through. Grind the roots and use in place of coffee grounds.
Grandma Dode’s Dandelion Wine – Recipe below. It’s a keeper!
Dandelion Beer! Ok, so I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to. Here is a link to a site I found with the recipe I think I will use.
Medicinal Uses – There are a few different uses for Dandelions when it comes to medicine.
Digestive – A bitter tonic of dandelion root has been used for a very long time to aid digestive complaints, a decoction* made from the roots are used to aid the digestion of rich foods.
The roots also contain inulin, which is not a typo and not related to insulin. Inulin helps the pancreas control blood-sugar levels.
The leaves can be dried and made as tea for digestive aid as well.Skin Care –
Salve– Using a basic salve recipe of 100 g oil to 15 g beeswax you can make a great salve for dry and cracked skin.
Dandelion Oil – Fill a jar with dandelion blooms that have been allowed to sit for a day to dry slightly, then pour a carrier oil over them to fill the jar. Allow this to sit for at least a few days. Use this oil in the salve, or in homemade soaps and lotions.
*Some calendula blossoms to the dandelion is a great variation for a healing salve.
**Adding fresh lavender makes a very relaxing massage oil.