Oh dear, dandelions, will they ever find their place in the well-loved plant world? Did you know that this plant that likes to misbehave and seed itself about the garden, is also a clever water gatherer?
A Modern Herbal describes it as “…a plant with a thick tap-root, dark brown on the outside and milky white within, the long jagged leaves rise directly, radiating to form a rosette lying close to the ground, each leaf grooved and constructed so the rain falling on it is conducted straight to the center of the rosette and thus the root is always kept well-watered”. So they are also survivalists!
Even though lovers of a pristine lawn are ready to strike and kill these bright yellow heralds of spring, dandelions are highly favored plants for wild-crafting herbalists.
All parts of the plant are useful. The roots are used for medicinal bitters and tonics, the fresh young leaves for spring salads and the bright flowers for skin care and salves.
How to Harvest- Make sure you are harvesting dandelions from areas where there is no pesticide use. Avoid areas where pets tend frequent. Never assume that uncontrolled, roadside habitats with dandelions are chemical free.
For best taste, harvest the fresh young leaves as they emerge (older ones may be bitter with an unpalatable, leathery texture). Wash well to remove any milky sap-which can be bitter. Harvest dandelion flowers in the morning just after the dew dries.
Good for oily skin to calm and soothe. Add a handful of fresh dandelion flower to a large bowl. Pour hot water over the flowers to release the qualities of the flowers into the water. Using a towel, form a tent over your head and lean over the bowl to trap the steam around your face and neck. Relax and steam for about 10 minutes. Rinse with warm then cool water and pat face dry with a soft cotton towel.
Spring Tonic Bath
Fill a muslin bag with fresh dandelion flowers and young leaves. Fill a tub with warm bath water and float the bag. The water will release the healing qualities into your bath water.
Herbal Hair treatment
Perfect for blondes and light-colored hair to give vitamins and cleanse off oils and hair products. . Bring two cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl or measuring cup. Add 1 cup of dandelion flowers and 1 cup of chamomile flowers to the water and push herbs into the water to allow them to steep for about 30 minutes. Strain out the herbs with a cheesecloth and use water as a final rinse after shampooing.
And then there is more!
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