Dandelion – Taraxacum officianale
Deborah Faylo
      The Asteraceae Family of dandelions (taraxacum officianale) have single bright yellow flowers with slender, hollow stalks. Leaves are the color basil , with deep and irregular toothed edges, narrow, and 2-16” in length. Leaves are shiny and hairless. The fruit is seed-like, with a white pillowy parachute.


      Preparation - Leaves, fresh in salads. Dried in teas. Fresh for tinctures and medicinal oils.

      My Uses - fresh greens in salads, in a tea with other herbs for arthritis, flowers for dandelion wine, add with other herbs to massage oil for stiffness and tension in neck and shoulders.

      CAUTION - Safe for long-term use. Some people may develop a rash – if so, discontinue treatment.

      •   Highly nutritious with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber (vitamins A, C, K, E, folate & other B vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium)

      •   Known for being a diuretic, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory

      •   All parts of the plant are useable:

      •   Flowers – picked when full yellow bloom early in season. Best for subtle benefits (use in salads, teas, soaps, wines, infusions, oils, etc.)

      •   Leaves – Early season best for salads (not as bitter), and later through summer for bitterness (tinctures, elixers). Best for kidneys (use raw in salads or cooked in stir fry or like spinach, infusions, oils)

      •   Roots – best for liver ailments and detox (tinctures, dried & ground for coffee substitute, roasted for tea, decoctions, oils)

      Many health benefits may include the following:

      •   Helps balance blood sugar (drinking Dandy tea daily)

      •   Liver detox (Dandy produces glutathione, contains inulin)

      •   Heavy metal detox/poisoning

      •   Supports digestive system (bitter)

      •   Decreases inflammation

      •   Supports fat digestion

      •   Aid in weight loss

      •   Fight cancer cell development

      •   Boost our immune system

      •   Useful in skin care treatments (burns, rashes, etc.)

      CAUTIONS - Anyone taking pharmaceuticals for diuretics, antibiotics, or have ragweed allergies or sensitive skin.

      How to easily use dandelion

      •   Pick flowers or leaves and wash with plain water, brushing any dirt or bugs off the plant

      •   Brew tea by adding flowers to your tea infuser, and pour just boiled water into infuser/mug. Steep for about 10 min.

      •   Add washed leaves to salads, meals, stir fry dishes

      •   Cook leaves like you would spinach, and serve with butter, salt or anything else. Can also add to baked potatoes, soups, etc.

      •   Add flowers or leaves to a bottle of vinegar or extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) and let steep for 2-4 weeks (vinegars) or 8 weeks for oils. Keep in dark cupboard while steeping)

      •   Roots – more difficult to use & prepare, so start with the above first, and research using roots once comfy with above.

      Dandelion Tidbits

      •   Properties: bitter, carminative, cholagogue, mild laxative, diuretic, hepatic.

      •   Name said to come from either Greek “taraxo” meaning disorder, and “takos” meaning pain or remedy, or an Arabian corruption of the word “trogemon” meaning edible.

      •   Roots make a delicious coffee substitute.

      •   Legend – in ancient days world was populated by fairies, gnomes and elves. When humans arrived, they could not see the entities, and kept treading on them. Most hid, but the fairies in the bright yellow dresses could not, so they were transformed into dandelions. If stepped on, they spring right back up again as it contains the spirit of the fairies.

      •   Was used as a country clock – was said that flowers opened precisely at 5:05 am, and closed at 8:09 pm each day.

      •   Seed head was used as a “he loves me”…”he loves me not” game.

      •   Witches said that if you rub yourself all over with dandelion, you will be welcome everywhere and your wishes would come true.

      •   Good source of potassium – helps replenish the body when much is lost in increased urination.

      Dandelion Look-A-Likes

      •   Cat’s Ear - Hypochaeris radicata - Long Taproot - Petals not as tight


      Basal Rosette - Leaves hairy, cut differently


      Wild Lettuce - Lactuca - Flower – less petals, can be varied colors


      Basal Rosette OR Stalk - Leaves - Spiky hairs on spine


      To Learn More

      •   Dandelion and cat’s ear | Identify that Plant

      •   DANDELION BENEFITS - 12 Impressive Health Benefits of Dandelion – YouTube

      •   Dandelion Benefits and Uses – YouTube

      •   What Happens When You Eat Dandelion – YouTube

      •   Benefits of Dandelion – YouTube

      •   Dandelions - Everything You Need to Know - Flower Glossary

      •   Ten Things You Might Not Know About Dandelions - Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners (mofga.org)

      •   Dandelion: Pictures, Flowers, Leaves & Identification | Taraxacum officinale (ediblewildfood.com)

      •   Identify that Plant | Confidently master the skill of correct plant identification

      •   Welcome to the Back Yard Herbalist School - The Back Yard Herbalist

      •   Feral Foraging - Return to the Wild

      •   Matthew Wood Institute of Herbalism

      •   Rosemary Gladstar's Science & Art of Herbalism (scienceandartofherbalism.com)

      •   Susun Weed - Herbal Medicine - Advice, Articles, Books, Workshops, Intensives, Apprenticeship, Correspondence Courses

      •   Sky House Herb School

      References (above videos and resources below)

Trees of the Eastern and Central United States and Canada, William M. Harlow, 1957.

Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, Rosemary Gladstar, 2012.

Field Guide to Medicinal Plants, Bradford Angier, 1978.

The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism, David Hoffman, 1998.

Flower Power: Flower Remedies for Healing Body and Soul Through Herbalism, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, and Flower Essences, Anne McIntyre, 1996.

Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, Thomas J. Elpel, 2013.

The Audubon Society Pocket Guides – Familiar Flowers of North America (Eastern Region), 1986.

Variety of web resources on herbal and plant medicine. Deb Faylo’s yard, Croghan, New York.


Deb Faylo - dlfaylo@gmail.com