Scientific name: Taraxacum officinale

Dandelion, the biggest enemy in Suburbia right? How did this become this way, when half the world utilizes dandelion regularly for medicine and food?  Either way, this stubborn plant isn’t phased by any number of chemicals we douse it with since it always finds a way to come back every year! And if it is as useful as some countries have found it to be, maybe this is for good reason.

Nutrients

  • Vitamins A, B, C, D
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Inulin
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Carotenoids
  • Trace minerals

Health Benefits

Roots

  • Liver tonic: stimulates and decongests
  • Aids digestion: with its bitter compounds

Leaves

  • Mild diuretic: esp. if experiencing water retention, bladder, or kidney problems

Cooking Tips

Feel free to use the whole plant!

Roots

  • Chop and add to stir fries and soups
  • Slice and pickle

Leaves

  • Steam with other wild greens and serve with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Add to a tea with other milder herbs (these tend to be bitter)

Flowers

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

CAUTION: some people may experience an allergy to the milky latex in the stem. If a rash develops, discontinue use.

  • Warts: using the milky latex in the stem, apply fresh onto the wart at least 3 times every day for 2-3 weeks or until healed
  • Liver health: to create a tincture finely chop equal parts dandelion root and burdock root; cover herbs in a glass jar with 2-3 inches of 80 proof alcohol (eg. plain vodka); seal with a tight fitting lid and set in a warm sunny spot for 4-6 weeks shaking every day or so; strain herbs from liquid, pour liquid into a clean glass jar with a tight lid, and store in a dark cool place (should last for many years). Take 1/2 – 1 tsp 3x per day.

How to Grow

Planting

Where do you live?

Dandelion is extremely hardy, and as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, grows just about anywhere in abundance.

Put em in the ground

If for whatever reason you don’t have a good supply of dandelions (maybe your supply has been doused by a few chemicals over the years?), they’re very easy to grow from seed.

  • Plant seeds in the fall (to get early spring greens)
  • Rich, moist soil
  • Full sun

Harvest

  • Harvest the greens throughout the season, whether or not the flowers are in bloom (the younger ones are less bitter)
  • Harvest the roots in late fall (the longer you wait, the more bitter and woody they will be)

Care

Easily grows in many soil and environmental conditions and not too many pests to worry about!