Actions and Uses
stimulating bile secretion
and a supreme liver tonic!
Due to its strong but gentle action on the liver, dandelion can help balance hormones. The liver processes practically everything that goes through your body, including hormones. When the liver is sluggish or backed up, excess hormones may build up in your blood stream. By increasing the liver’s ability to process hormones, dandelion helps to normalize hormone levels in your body.
Dandelion is also a great digestive aid. The bitter action of dandelion roots and leaves stimulates digestion, aiding in the breakdown of fats and protein and the assimilation of nutrients. This can lead to a mild laxative effect, especially for those with chronic constipation.
liver/gall bladder conditions
arthritis and gout
abnormal blood sugar levels
general detoxification as a nutritive
The white sap of dandelion helps to remove warts, corns, and other unwanted growths when applied regularly. The sap can be found easily in the stem and leaves.
The fall gathered roots are a wonderful source of inulin- a low glycemic plant sugar which helps to normalize blood sugar, feeds gut bacteria, and balances out the bitter qualities.
Sautéed dandelion greens make a delicious and nutritious side dish, helping one to digest the rest of the meal. I enjoy them with garlic and butter. I like to freeze cooked dandelion greens to be consumed in the winter months along with the starchier, fattier foods I am wont to eat.
One of my favorite uses of dandelion is to chop and dry the root, and then roast it. Roasted dandelion root makes a dark, flavorful drink that is often used as a coffee replacement. It is delicious, stimulates digestion, is completely local and fair trade, caffeine free, and free for the gathering!
In the fall, I harvest a large amount of dandelion root and leaf, and tincture most of it. You can tincture the roots and leaves separately or together. Or you can tincture the roots and eat the leaves. Tincture the roots in 50% alcohol, as inulin is water soluble.
It is best to harvest the roots in the fall, before the ground freezes but after the plant has had all summer to build up stores of inulin. You can also harvest the roots in the spring before the plants go to flower. At this time they will have used up most of their inulin stores, but will have more concentrated amounts bitter constituents. It can be fun to harvest at both times and see how each medicine feels different to you!
Dandelion is a non-native species that self-propagates rapidly with its well-known puff balls of wind-or-wish-blown seeds. It grows close to human civilization and in abundance – it WANTS to be used! This is one plant that you need not worry about overharvesting! Even when you dig up the roots, small pieces that are bound to break off into the ground will grow into entirely new plants. Take as much as you need! Just be sure to harvest in an area that has not been sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, and as far from main roads as possible.