Dandelion grows commonly throughout America. It comes up early spring and blooms throughout the summer and fall, though most abundantly in spring.
Dandelion can be identified by its basal rosette of hairless toothed leaves (the name dandelion means “tooth of the lion” referring to the shape of the leaves), which stay in their basal rosette formation throughout the dandelion’s life cycle.
One yellow composite flower tops each stalk, and under the flower is a green “collar.” The yellow flower then closes and reopens into a globe of seeds, which take flight in the wind (or the breath of a child.)
All parts of this plant are edible: the root, leaves and flower. The leaves are quite bitter, especially after the plant has flowered.
The roots are often dried for use as tea, and can also be roasted and made into a coffee substitute, which is often mixed with roasted chicory root and/or roasted burdock root.
The yellow petals can be pulled from the flower and added to recipes, especially cake and cookie batters. The whole flower top can be dipped in batter and fried as tempura (savory) or fritters (sweet.)
The blossoms are also used famously for dandelion wine (recipe.)
Dandelion is used widely around the world in medicine.
Western: Diuretic, hepatic. Dandelion is best known in the west as a liver tonic, and for its healing effect on the liver. Can be taken as a root tea, tincture (roots and/or leaves), and leaves/flowers eaten in salad. We also like to steep the blossoms in vinegar for use in salads and recipes.
Chinese: Pin Yin Name: Pu Gong Ying, is a Chinese Herb that clears heat and fire toxicity.
Both East and West use dandelion to promote lactation.
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Some Blog Posts on Dandelion (with pictures!):
Apple Dandelion Cookies (raw recipe)
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