Herbal Education: Dandelion

Spring has sprung, and as you wander around your neighborhood, you may notice the sunny, bright, cheerful faces of dandelion flowers popping up in lawns and yards everywhere. Many consider dandelion to be a weed, but we think that Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best- "What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered". We invite you to discover the many virtues of dandelion before you write it off as a weed. 

Dandelion is a common, subtle, healing plant used medicinally for centuries on nearly every continent of the world. It is most commonly used as a digestive tonic, edible food, and in herbal wines and beers.

The root is a favorite amongst traditional herbalists as a support for the liver, kidneys, spleen, and gallbladder, and it is considered to be a useful and safe detoxifying agent.

The powdered and roasted root can be enjoyed as a coffee substitute and the roots and leaves are both used in brewing dandelion wines or beer.

Early dandelion greens are a delicious and nutrient-dense addition to a salad- but before you go picking the greens in your yard, please make sure they haven't been sprayed! 

Dandelion has a reputation of being good for the skin. It can be used topically in tinctures and poultices and many people also take it in capsule or tea form to help support healthy skin. The leaves, stems and flowers are often used in poultices for abscesses or skin infections.

In addition to the many beneficial medicinal uses, dandelions are often the first food in the spring for bees! We must vigilantly support and protect bees- our ability to eat depends on them! 

So the next time you look at your backyard and see a field of dandelions, we hope you'll get excited about making a salad  or a tea instead of searching for the weed spray! 

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