The summer I turned 12, my dad paid us kids to pick as many dandelions from the yard as we could. He hated the little yellow flowers that always managed to ruin a newly mowed lawn, and one of our school lessons that day had been in economics. He eyed the yard, then valued each flower at 1 cent, believing there really weren’t that many. We tried to negotiate up to 5 cents each, but predictably were outmaneuvered. So off three pairs of feet went, carrying Wal-Mart bags, scampering towards the biggest patches we could find.
I plucked single dandelions up, but my brother yanked handfuls of turf into his bag, and my little sister went from my method to his when impatience got the better of her. When we couldn’t stand not knowing how much we’d earned any longer we dumped our bags out on the porch and counted.
All in all, we parted him from $60 that day, a huge sum for kids without an allowance. And ever since then those little flowers so often called weeds have made me smile. Dandelions are good for much more than just smiles though. Here are a few ideas for you to consider:
One of the more common uses for dandelions is tea, which is good for flushing your liver and digestive system. There are a couple of different ways to make it. The quicker method is to pluck dandelions at the ground so you have flowers and leaves, thoroughly wash them and put them directly into your pot of boiling water for three minutes or so. Strain the flowers and leave out so you have only your brew, and if you wish add lemon, honey, orange zest, mint or a little sugar.
A dandelion oil infusion is good for working on stiff muscles or achy joints and is super easy to make. Pack some chopped up dandelion heads into a jar with an airtight lid and cover with olive or sunflower oil. Stir it around a little to release any air bubbles, then let it sit in a sunny place for a month. After a month or so strain out the flowers so the mixture doesn’t mold, and store in the fridge for up to a year, or in the pantry for no more than two or three more months. Or try this salve for something a little thicker.
Simple Sauteed Dandelion Greens
All parts of the dandelion – flower, leaves, stem and root – are edible. The trick is knowing what to do with each part. If you’re trying to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, adding dandelion greens can give you the same benefits as dandelion tea, boosting urinary tract function and calming an upset stomach. Try this recipe for an easy preparation.
Dandelion Face Wash/Shampoo Rinse
Because of its cleansing properties, dandelion is an excellent base ingredient for a facial wash or shampoo rinse. Simply take washed flowers (not the leaves or roots) and boil them for about three minutes, then strain the mixture. You can then add any number of other ingredients, depending on what you’d like the wash to do. Try olive or coconut oil as a moisturizer, honey as a disinfectant, baking soda to help shrink pores, or make a sugar scrub mixture for exfoliating.
Dandelion Lotion Bars
Another external application of dandelion is through lotion bars. These delightful little creations actually start with dandelion oil, as detailed above. Once you have well infused oil, melt one part oil, one part shea or mango butter and one part beeswax in a double boiler (or a recycled tin can) until smooth and press into desired mold. Get the full recipe here.
Want a simple witchy way to use dandelions? Collect the flowers after they’ve puffed up and use them in your spells. Use one per wish and let the wind carry your desire away to be fulfilled. So mote it be!
Please note: dandelion root should not be ingested if you have irritable stomach or an acute inflammation. Always consult a medical professional if you have any doubts or questions before utilizing an herb.