Ever since I starting learning about foraging I have been obsessed with dandelions. While most people are picking them like weeds and throwing them away I am gathering them up and making everything from salads to dandelion root tea!
I am not sure when we all decided that dandelions were an unwanted plant in our yards but they have been used medicinally since ancient times to help heal issues such as appendicitis, heartburn, kidney diseases and even liver problems.
If you are creative enough there is a way to use nearly every part of this plant from the roots all the way to the flower on top. Just make sure that you take only what you need so that the bees have something to eat and so that you can come back and harvest again later.
Nutritional Benefits of Dandelions
On top of being great for your liver and digestion, the dandelion plant has vitamin D, C, B, and A. It also is packed with zinc, iron and potassium. The leaves have shown to contain more beta-carotene than carrots which is really good for maintaining healthy vision.
If you are trying to get more vitamin K then I recommend using the leaves in a salad, stir-fry or smoothie to add 535% of the daily value you need to help protect your mind and strengthen your bones.
The plant itself is wonderful for your kidneys and can act like a natural diuretic which can pull excess water, salt and waste our of your body. It is also great for digestion and the University of Maryland found that dandelion, either fresh or dried, can help stimulate your appetite. Dandelion is good for settling the stomach while the root is helpful as a mild laxative.
Dandelion roots can be made into a tea that one study showed can kill leukemia cells while leaving healthy cells alone.
The antioxidants in the plant are great for reducing aging, boosting the immune system and helping prevent cancer. There is even a potential that the leaves and root can help with cholesterol according to this one study on animals.
Any way you look at it, dandelions are a great way to help boost your health while also preventing diseases. Next, we are going to show you 25 different ways you can use dandelions so you will be excited the next time they pop up in your yard. Just make sure you don’t pick any that may have been sprayed with dangerous chemicals and you should be fine!
25 Awesome Uses for Dandelions!
Health and Beauty
Dandelions are great for your skin and can help as an anti-inflammatory to help with many different issues.
Check out this awesome coconut oil moisturizer which is great for dry skin, can be used as a lip balm, aftershave or even as a massage lotion for sore muscles.
2. Pain Relieving Oil
Dandelion oil-infusions can be used medicinally to help with sore joints and muscles. Grab a mason jar, add fresh dandelion flowers and then use a good quality oil such as olive oil until you fill the jar. Let the infusion sit for 2 weeks then strain it into a sterilized jar. Store in a cool place such at your fridge. If you still need help check out these instructions here.
3. Pain Relieving Salve
If you like the medicinal idea above then you can take the infusion one step forward following these instructions here and make it into a salve. With a double boiler and some beeswax you can use that infusion into an incredible healing agent.
4. Dandelion Lotion Bars
In you have super dry skin or your heels get cracked easily then you may want to make dandelion lotion bars. They can help reduce the soreness and the inflammation. Grab some of your favorite shea butter and some essential oils and check out this recipe here.
5. Natural Wart Remover
Dandelions have this white sticky resin that is actually great against warts! Just apply the sap to your warts several times each day and they will go away.
Dandelions at Home and in the Garden
6. Floating Table Centerpiece
Using these instructions here you can use these flowers to brighten your home with a beautiful centerpiece. You will just need a wooden box, some finishing nails, and some dandelions, and you will be able to create a centerpiece that looks like it is floating!
7. Natural Yellow Dye
If you are looking for a way to dye cloth or other things yellow without using chemical laden dyes then dandelions may be right for you! Check out this recipe here for how to make dandelions into a dye.
8. Natural Fertilizer
This liquid fertilizer is very easy to make and it will give your plants the food they need to thrive this year. They are also great in your compost pile. You can also use this recipe to make weeds into a fertilizer.
9. Feed Your Goats
If you happen to keep goats then you may know that they need a very diverse vegetarian diet to keep them healthy. Since dandelions are so full of nutrients they are great to add the balance that you need into what your goats already eat.
Dandelions In the Kitchen
10. Sautéed Greens and Garlic
Many people are concerned that dandelions will be too bitter to eat but with 20-30 seconds of boiling or picking them when they are still young (before the seeds emerge), they really aren’t too bad. Another thing that helps is using olive oil or another flavoring to cover up the regular dandelion taste. Though I don’t mind their flavor you can start with recipes like this one to start developing a taste for this healthy little green. If you like that one try this double garlic and greens recipe to really get into the dandelion cooking habit.
11. Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
If you are making a veggie dip or just need something to flavor your pasta I recommend this recipe here! The lemon juice and pumpkin seeds do a great job smoothing out the strong flavor of the dandelion plant.
12. Tempura Blossoms
You can also use dandelion flowers in tempura. The flowers are actually quite sweet compared to the rest of the green parts so they are easy to batter and fry into a tasty treat. Check out the recipe here!
13. Herbal Vinegar
This recipe takes a while to make but once you do it can be great for sauces, stews, dressings, and soups. What you do is make an infusion in apple cider vinegar for 4 weeks. After that, you will strain out the flowers and allow it to sit in a dark place for up to 12 months.
14. Vegetarian Risotto
In this recipe, you take the flowers and cook them into a delightful vegetarian risotto.
In this non-traditional foraged alternative dandelion recipe you will use the greens from the plant as well as cabbage to make the fermentation. This is a great probiotic that is super healing for the gut.
16. Savory Muffins
This special type of soaked muffins is great to eat with springtime soups.
17. Petal Sorbet
This is a nice treat for cooling down after a hot summer day. You use dandelion blossoms, honey, and lemon juice to make this recipe here!
Martha Stewart’s recipe here is a dandelion recipe that is as sweet at honey and can be used on all of your favorite treats at home. You do have to eat it quickly since it can only be kept for up to 2 weeks.
19. Pancake and Waffle Syrup
Since store bought syrup often has high fructose corn syrup and other bad ingredients it is great to make your own at home. In this recipe, you will use honey, lemon, sugar and dandelions to make this delicious syrup.
20. Dandelion Blossom Cake
Using cinnamon, walnuts, coconut, crushed pineapple, dandelion syrup and blossom petals you can make an incredible tropical cake that your whole family will love! Check out this link here to get the whole recipe!
21. Dandelion Cookies
By using local organic honey and dandelions you can have a healthy cook by following this recipe here.
22. Dandelion Root Coffee
If you are trying to cut back on the acidic coffee then the roots of the dandelion are perfect for you. You can follow this recipe here to learn how to roast and grind your own earthy flavored coffee alternative right at home.
23. Iced Lime and Dandelion Tea
I am not sure what it is about the earthy flavor of dandelion tea but I fell in love immediately. This drink has so many natural healing benefits that I recommend you make it a part of your daily routine. Find out more about this tea here.
24. Dandelion Wine
Believe it or not, if you are into making wine you can actually collect the flowers of the dandelion in order to make a fermented, lemon zested wine. You have got to check out this interesting recipe here!
25. Danish Schnapps – Two Ways
If wine or coffee isn’t your thing then maybe you would enjoy one of these homemade danish schnapps recipes. One recipe is made with the flower and makes a mildly sweet brew which is good with desserts and the roots will make a brew that is more dry and spicy.
Let us know in the comments below about your favorite way to use dandelion.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
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Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.