Herb of the month, Dandelion, Taraxicum officinal
A wild and beautiful perennial plant loved by the American Goldfinch (which just happens to be the exact same color yellow as the dandelion’s stunning flowers). I noticed this one day while watching the Gold Finches feeding in a field of dandelions, and the color resemblance was remarkable! Truth be told, the field of dandelions was actually my lawn that I had not yet got around to mowing!
Dandelion grows a basal rosette of leaves which are serrated or toothed. It produces several flower stems out of the middle of the rosette. There is a milky juice that comes out of the stems when you pick them. Dab this juice onto warts, hard pimples, or age spots and let its magic begin to work!
Taking pills to get the digestive benefit of bitter herbs and plants skips one of the most important steps in the process, as it doesn’t get you all of the great benefits that begin right in your mouth. Help your gut the right way by initiating the action of bitter herbs at the source of your digestive system. Stimulate those salivary glands with a mouthful of dandelion greens!
Make an herb infused vinegar using apple cider vinegar and dandelion flowers (just be sure to shake out any of the little black bugs that like to hang in the flower heads). Eat the tender young leaves fresh in salads and use your vinegar in the dressing!
Some consider this herb a weed or a nuisance plant. Dandelion’s deep and strong tap-root breaks up hard, compacted soil and brings up nutrients buried deep below the zone that most plant roots can penetrate. The nutrients are carried up to their leaves and eaten by you, or deposited right onto the top of the soil when the leaves die back in the fall. It is a very important plant to have in your garden (or lawn for that matter).
Use dandelion root in tea as a liver toner. Dig the roots in the spring or fall season, as this is when they hold the most energy and medicinal benefits.
I have a Dandelion that returns perennially in my garden that I have named Charlotte. She has provided me years of wonderful leaves to eat, flowers for making herbal vinegar, and has become a much anticipated garden friend. My challenge to you is to find your own special dandelion plant that you leave in your garden, and cherish year after year.