Monday, April 12, 2010

Herbs - D is for Dandelion

Latin Name:  Taraxacum officinale of the family N.O. Compositae

Alternate Name(s): Priest's Crown, Swine's Snout, Blow Ball, Cankerwort, Dandelion, Lion's Tooth, Pissabed, Puff Ball, Pu Gong or Pu KungYing, Telltime, White or Wild Endive

Description: Shiny, smooth green leaves with many jagged or toothed edges form an almost flat rosette close to the ground. A single bright, golden-yellow bloom will appear on a purplish smooth stalk that has no leaves. This stalk comes straight up from the root itself as this is where the water concentrates in the plant.

Habitat:  Anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere where there is full sun and plenty of water. They grow wild in just about any meadow-type area as well as lawns. This is another of the plants that are very sensitive to the sun and the weather. The blooms will open fully to the sunlight and then close themselves up at night. They will also close tightly when it rains.

Growing:   Dandelions will grow wild in most parts of the world and are actually cultivated in some places such as France and Germany as a crop plant. It is started from seed in the early Spring or they will come back year after year on sturdy roots. Dandelions will bloom and scatter seed most of the year and is thus considered a great pest by most gardeners and farmers alike as they can never seem to eradicate them completely. It is a very hardy and persistent plant and thus very easy to grow when you chose to do so.

Harvesting: The young leaves can be taken at any time during the Spring while they are still tender. It is best to do this early in the morning before the heat has affected them. The roots should be harvested in the Fall when the plant is two years old.

Uses: Many people enjoy eating young dandelion greens in salads or steamed like spinach. They have been shown to be a great source of Vitamin A and potassium. Dandelions have been reported to be a potent diuretic for humans and is actually a considered a beneficial one as the dandelion may up the levels of potassium which is usually leached out by other diuretics. The dandelion root has been shown to possibly have a laxative effect on humans and may aid in cleansing the system. This is interesting since it basically acts just like coffee and is often used as a coffee substitute.

Extra Simple Dandelion Wine
4 cups White Wine
1 cup Dandelion flowers

Place flowers and wine in a sealed bottle or container. Place in a dark place for about 4 weeks. Remove the flowers and sweeten to taste. Stevia or honey are excellent natural sweeteners to use.

Even Simpler Dandelion Tea
1 cup boiling water
1 cup Dandelion flowers

Steep the flowers in the cup of boiling water for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the flowers and add sweetener to taste – I use stevia or honey.

Notes: Dandelions are a critical source of both nectar and pollen for honeybees. It is especially important as it provides a natural food source well into autumn for the bees to the beekeeper isn't feeding them the artificial food as early. Consider growing a couple pots full of dandelions even if only to keep the bees happy!

Sources: - photos courtesy of

Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational, informational, and recreational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. It is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider before taking any supplements, herbs, or other substances.


  1. Thanks for sharing the very good post. And i like it so much.

  2. yes I know many see the dandelion as a simple and sometime bothering weed, yet I love it vibrant yellow and seed head that is left. who doesn't love to attempt to blow in an chance to have your wish come true...

  3. If you go to my blog you will see that you have received the Zombie Chicken Award (silly but fun!)

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  4. Thank you all for coming by and checking out the lovely little yellow bloom. It's always been one of my favorites.

    Julie thank you for the award! Love them chickens.

  5. I knew they made Tea and wine out of Dandelions, but wasn't sure about eating the leaves...and I didn't know it was considered an herb. thanks so much for this interesting article.


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