By Danielle, Contributing writer

Before I began my health journey, I gazed upon my lawn annoyed at the small yellow blossoms all about. When I was young, I probably only used them to sing that lovely song, “mama had a baby and it’s head popped off…” Now, I know that dandelion flowers, their leaves, and roots all have major health benefits. After reading this post, you’ll likely never consider these lovely flashes of gold in your yard as pests again.

Profile: Dandelion

First, let’s talk about the best use of dandelion ever, a coffee substitute. Yep, the root, when roasted, tastes as close to coffee as you’ll get. A few companies make a dandelion tea, but none better than good old Dandy Blend. If you are trying to quit caffeine, this is one to try out.

Though the dandelion is best known for its liver and gallbladder supportive qualities, it also carries loads of vitamins A, B, C and D, and minerals potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

Topical Uses

Many Native American and other traditional societies used the leaf and root as poultices for any boil or abscesses. For a simple dandelion leaf poultice, combine:

2 tablespoons dry dandelion leaf and root (one or the other is fine)

1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil (filtered water can be substituted in a pinch).

Mix together and apply to the external wound. If available, add 1 teaspoon (extra water if a thicker consistency is desired) of bentonite clay to further draw toxins out of the wound.

Herbal Profile Dandelion pinterest

Internal Uses

Dandelion is best known for its role in supporting the liver. The liver is the main organ in the body (and the largest one) which detoxes toxins and pulls out vitamins and minerals for your body to use. It is also where the bulk of the digestion takes place. Having a poor working liver means having a poor working body. Dandelion helps detox your liver, and speed up movement of bile from the liver. Consume dandelion leaf and root as a tea or decoction regularly for its detoxification benefits.

Just about every body system is hooked to a function in the liver, so it’s a go to for any ailment. Because of this, dandelion is fabled to improve skin complexion and fertility, as well.

How to Use Dandelion from Your Own Backyard

If your dandelions are free of pesticides, you can harvest your own. The dandelion flower is great as a tea, and can even be used in jam making, baking and wine. 

The leafs and roots can be used to make all of the goodies described above. The roots will be a bit difficult to pull up, but are worth it.

Prepare the Leaves

To prepare dandelion leaves to dry, harvest and rinse. Let dry on a clean kitchen towel. Once dry, tie in small bundles (no more bundled than they were outside!), and hang upside down in a dry, cool place (like your basement or attic) to dry. Depending on your climate and weather, this may take days or weeks. Once dry, crush up and place in clean mason jar to store.

Prepare the Roots

The roots can be tricky to pull up, but do so best you can. It’s always best to pull the entire plant after a rain, as the ground is most forgiving. After pulling your roots, bring into your home and separate from the flowers and leaves. Soak well for 15 minutes. Allow to fully dry, and cut into slices. Place roots on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Roast for 30 minutes at 180-200 degrees, depending on your oven, or dehydrate for an hour in a food dehydrator. Remove, and grind all of the root in a coffee grinder. Place back on baking sheets or in dehydrator for another 30 minutes. Let cool, and store in clean mason jar.

So, go, quickly clear all your plans for the day, grab your kiddos, and go harvest all those valuable herbs in your backyard! Your children will love to help, and the activity is educational. And please, no more with that horrible song.

Have you used dandelion in your natural medicine cabinet? Have you ever made your own remedies or goodies from dandelion?

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