Taraxacum officinale, or more commonly and simply known as the dandelion, is a perennial flower that is a member of the family Asteraceae. The dandelion is sometimes considered a weed and is most well-known for its culinary and medicinal purposes. The name dandelion actually comes from the French “dent-de-lion,” which literally means “lion’s tooth.” This herb can be known by many other names as well including Swine Snout, Pissenlit, Blowball, Cankerwort, Wild Endive, Priest’s Crown, Taraxaci Herba, and the Common Dandelion. It is native to many different parts of the world including Europe, Asia, and North and South America. The use of dandelions for food and medicinal purposes has been throughout much of history. Biologists and historians have found evidence of fossils of dandelions dating back to over thirty million years ago. It is thought to be one of the oldest plants on the planet. Did you know that dandelions are thought to have magical abilities? It’s said that when used in a tea, dandelions can increase a persons’ divination and psychic ability.
Dandelions grow up from one single hollow stem. The stem is green in color and can grow up to around 4 inches past its leaves which grow directly upright out of the plant. The leaves begin at the root of the flower and can grow anywhere from 2 to 10 inches long. Each leaf is shiny, grooved, and hairless, and the margin is cut into a jagged teeth like shape. The taproot of the flower is thick and brown-ish or black in color, and each leaf is constructed so that water can run directly down the leaf and straight to the root. When the flower grows out of the stem, it can be yellow or orange in color. The flower is actually only open during the day time and closes at night.
Dandelion root and dandelion leaf can be used in many different products and industries. Besides their many culinary and medicinal purposes, they can also be used in bath and body products, skin care, soap making, and even hair care. Common products that can include dandelion are creams, ointments, lotions, bath bombs, scrubs, massage oils, soaps, shampoos and conditioners, face masks, and bath teas. Did you know that according to various folk tales, dandelions can supposedly tell time in two different ways? One way says that when you go to blow the seeds off of the flower, the number of breaths it takes to blow off all of the seeds is the time. Another way is that after you have blown three strong breaths at the flower, however many seeds are left is what time it is.
Like any other plant, dandelions have their own specific conditions needed in which to grow properly. They can survive in almost any soil type, preferring well drained and fertile soils, but also tolerating soils in poor physical conditions. They prefer areas with full sun exposure, but can tolerate growing in areas with partial shade. Dandelions are a very hardy flower and can survive the harshest of winters and hottest of summers.
Dandelions should be planted during early spring time, about ¼ of an in inch deep into the soil. Seeds will begin to germinate when the soil is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit, although they grow faster in soil temperatures of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This seedling stage of the plant usually lasts for about 8 weeks or a little longer. The flower will reach full maturity around 85 to 95 days after the seed is first planted. The “petals” of the flower are called bracts. There are two separate forms of bracts on each flower, the inner bracts will stand erect until the seeds are fully mature and will then turn down to let the seeds begin to scatter. The outer bracts will always stay facing downward. The flowers and leaves can be harvested at any time, however you should wait to harvest the root until two years after first being planted.
There are some insects that can affect the dandelion. While they will not cause a major problem, some aphids, beetles, and bees can suck the juices from the stem and leaves as well as drinking the nectar of the flower.
One of the most well-known uses of dandelions is as a food source. Every single part of the plant itself is edible, the leaves, flower, stem, and even the root. The leaves can be used as an ingredient for salads and sandwiches, while the root of the plant can be used as an ingredient for an herbal tea. The root can also be ground and roasted to make a caffeine-free dandelion coffee, and the petals of the flower are used to make a dandelion wine. Traditionally, dandelion was used to make a British soft drink called “dandelion and burdock,” and it is still a main ingredient for root beer. The flowers can also be used as a flavoring agents for many vegetable dishes, casseroles, or even stir-fry.
Bath and Body Products
Dandelion can be used in many different products and industries. Besides its various culinary purposes, dandelion can also be used for bath and body products, skin care, hair care, soap making, and even for medicinal purposes. When used in homemade face mask recipes, the root and leaves can treat skin blemishes, reduce inflammation, and remove toxins from the skin.
Common bath and body products that can include dandelion are soaps, face masks, bath bombs, scrubs, massage oils, creams, lotions, ointments, bath teas, and shampoos and conditioners.
When used for hair care purposes, dandelion leaves and root powder can great help with the manageability. It works to promote new hair growth, helps to lock moisture into the hair, and treats dandruff. For greasy hair, dandelion is an effective way to get rid of the grease.
For skin care, dandelion is great for treating conditions like acne, warts, athlete’s foot, and eczema, treating age spots, and helps to firm and tone unbalanced or sagging skin. It can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and works as a treatment for any stings or burns.
There are many wonderful medicinal benefits to using dandelion. It contains many vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body such as magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, boron, zinc, copper, choline, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and D. Dandelion leaves and root both produce a substance called mannitol. Mannitol is used as treatment for hypertension.
In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion was used to treat a wide variety of conditions including appendicitis, stomach pains, and breast problems such as lack of milk flow or inflammation.
Native Americans used boiled dandelion to treat heart burn, upset stomach, swelling, kidney disease, and skin problems.
Dandelion can work as an effective digestive aid as well. It helps to balance the beneficial and natural bacteria in the intestines, promotes healthy bowel movements, and relieves constipation and diarrhea.
It works to regulate blood pressure, lowering high blood pressure by helping to increase urination. Dandelion is also effective at reducing cholesterol levels.
Dandelion leaves are also very high in phytonutrients and antioxidants. These both work to fight against and prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer. Dandelion also boosts the immune system and helps to fight off infection.
The whole flower is very rich in nutrients. These nutrients can work to prevent conditions like macular degeneration, stroke, cataracts, and multiple sclerosis.
Other conditions that can be treated with dandelion are diabetes, jaundice, swelling and inflammation, anemia, and it can even help to improve your memory. It also treats liver and gallbladder disorders, urinary tract infections, stress, the pain caused by a woman’s menstrual cycle, hormone imbalances, congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, edema, loss of appetite, flatulence, and tonsil inflammation.
Dandelions can be used as a natural source of rubber. When the tissues of the plant are broken or cut, they will actually secrete latex.
In White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the emblem of the city is four dandelion flowers. The people there celebrate spring with Dandelion Festival every year.
Nature’s Garden sell dandelion root powder and dandelion leaf for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great dandelion is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.
Are you dying to out this amazing herb? Well then try out our free Soothing Facial Mask recipe, actually made with our Dandelion Root Powder!