Admittedly, the first time I harvested dandelion for this purpose was late March in 2020…. neither did I have any idea how to prepare it for optimal medicinal benefit. Fortunately, this has been a well loved herbal treat, and research shortly yielded a wealth of options. I’ve harvested for you a few of my favorite finds, complete with the author’s annotations and link – help yourself to these treasures.
Every part of dandelion is useful. I harvest leaves, flowers, and roots in the season when they are most vital.
In early spring leaves quickly shoot up and gather sunlight. This is when they are most tender and can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried for tea. As the leaves age and are exposed to sunlight, they can become intensely bitter.
To preserve leaves for tea, harvest on a dry day. Use a rubber band to bundle small bunches then hang to dry, or dry leaves in single layers in baskets. Store in a glass jar for up to a year.
Buds appear at the base of the leaves in early spring. These can be eaten fresh, cooked or pickled. Buds open into flowering heads. These are best gathered for food or medicine on sunny days when they are dry and fully open, usually in April or early May. Drying the flowers is nearly impossible since they go to seed quickly.
Root medicinal properties vary a little from season to season. In spring, they are more bitter and have optimal medicine as a digestive stimulant. In the fall, they are sweeter and higher in a carbohydrate called inulin, which is excellent for diabetics. Be mindful that when you dig dandelion even the smallest piece of root left in the ground will grow into a new plant.
Dandelion — Wild foods and medicines. (2020, March 3). Wild Foods and Medicines. http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/dandelion/
Rose, Amanda. “Dandelion Tea for Fluid Retention, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, and More!” Fresh Bites Daily, 26 Apr. 2018, freshbitesdaily.com/dandelion-tea/
2 Roasted Dandelion Roots
3 cups filtered water
2 dates pitted
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
Amy Myers MD. (2016, July 15). Dandelion root cafe Latté. https://www.amymyersmd.com/recipe/dandelion-root-cafe-latte/
Fill mugs 3/4 of the way full. Add milk to fill the cup and sweeten to taste with raw honey, or maple syrup.
Roasted dandelion root chai. (2020, March 26). https://learningandyearning.com/dandelion-root-chai/
Dandelion lemonade. (2019, April 26). Creative Homemaking. https://creativehomemaking.com/recipes/drinks/dandelion-lemonade/
Turn dandelions into honey with this recipe. (2007, October 11). The Spruce Eats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/dandelion-honey-recipe-1806823
Merva, V. (2019, November 9). Cracked skin? Check out our two natural solutions using dandelions. SimplyBeyondHerbs. https://simplybeyondherbs.com/dandelion-salve-and-lip-balm/
It’s easy to make your own healing dandelion oil. (2008, June 14). The Spruce Eats. https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-make-dandelion-infused-oil-1762145
Enjoy your wild and weedy soup!
Wild & weedy dandelion soup. (2017, July 23). http://www.lifeinfused.space/wild-weedy-dandelion-soup/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes
Colleen @ Grow Forage Cook Ferment. (2020, March 25). Dandelion pesto. Grow Forage Cook Ferment. https://www.growforagecookferment.com/dandelion-pesto/
How to cook dandelion Greens. (2015, March 30). E.A.T. http://www.timvidraeats.com/2015/03/how-to-cook-dandelion-greens.html
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS sugar
1 cup milk
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed to a liquid
1/4 cup honey
1 cup dandelion flower petals
Dandelion muffins recipe. (2019, October 6). Montana Homesteader – Sharing vintage skills so you can live a simple, more meaningful homemade life- one canning jar at atime!. montanahomesteader.com/dandelion-muffins/
Wyckoff, A. (2020, February 2). Dandelion and lemon Paleo cupcakes. Forest and Fauna.
Deitrich, J. (2018, May 1). Dandelion lemon bars-tart and sweet with a touch of the spring wilds. Bakers Brigade.
Again, this is not a cure, and there is no literature or scientific studies to definitively guide the process – just because this is a natural product, there can be health consequences.
Please review the Precautions and discuss with your doctor if this would be safe for you to try given your personal health circumstances.
When you harvest the dandelion, assure that the plants have not been sprayed with or exposed to chemicals.
When I create the Dandelion Aqueous Extract Tea base, I wash about 30 flowers, plus 2 whole plants with roots, leaves and stem. I place them into 6-8 cups of distilled water.
I simmer the brew for at least 3 hours, with the lid on the pan to maintain water levels. When it has turned a Dark yellow-brown, [to approximate the optimal concentration found to be effective in scientific studies, between 2 -5mg/5ml], I consider it ready.
I remove it from the heat and strain the liquid away from the plant material into a glass vessel. I store the brew in the refrigerator and use it over 2-3 days.
If I were actively feeling sick, I would begin 1/4-1/2 cup twice a day. After 3-4 days, I change to drinking it once a day, 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the warmed Aqueous Dandelion Extract Tea, sweetened with a bit of sugar.
The first time I drank the tea, I felt like I was in the beginning stages of fighting off something.
I had never had dandelion tea before, so only drank about 1/4 cup to assure my body would accept it without adverse reactions.
I was surprised and pleased that it tasted so naturally sweet, and was without bitterness. It went down easily. After about 45 mins, I felt like something was unmasked, I had a bit of a cough and began to feel tired. After sleeping for about 2 hours, there was no cough and I felt a bit better. After about another three hours I was reminded of the diuretic properties of Dandelion – after urinating, I made sure to rehydrate with my bottled water.
I had another dose at night and awoke the next morning better than I’d felt in days. Subsequent doses of the tea did not generate the need to sleep. There was never excessive diuresis, no more than after drinking coffee.
I continued to drink a small amount twice a day for a week – but day eight I held off entirely, my next dose wasn’t until the evening of day nine. Similarly, I felt that something had been unmasked, but I didn’t need to sleep. After several hours the slight upper respiratory congestion that had begun earlier that day had lessened.
Again, this is not known definitively.
In general, from the moment our immune system establishes a “priority,” it takes about 3 weeks for it to redirect production, synthesize the appropriate proteins at a high enough quantity to produced sufficient antibodies to successfully defend the body from an invasion….
Again, the dandelion doesn’t kill the virus, it slows it down by keeping it from replicating. Theoretically, this keeps the virus from overwhelming your immune system and your body – buying time for your own immune system to produce the antibodies needed to defend itself.
As I said above, it typically takes three weeks for our immune system to get up to speed, so I will be continuing my daily tea for a total of three weeks to a month.