The dandelions are still blooming profusely all around me, and I’m still harvesting and using the blossoms when the weather allows us to get outside. It’s been COLD and wet, wet, wet, so I’ve been sticking pretty close to the house when I’m not at work, but it seems like whenever we get a reprieve I’m outside picking dandelions.
So I’ve been doing a little sleuthing about the virtues of dandelion blossoms, specifically. I believe that we derive the greatest benefit from knowing whole plants. But we all know that each part of a plant can have its own special medicine, and I think it’s beneficial to learn about the parts, so long as we remember that plants, like people, are far more than the sum of their parts. I see plants as beings with spirits–each plant has its own vitality and magic, that includes its chemical constituents and therapeutic benefits, but also transcends them. I think that’s why science can’t “prove” that plants heal–scientists keep trying to break it all down and figure out which piece, which substance, does the healing, and plants don’t work that way.
One good reason to explore the uses of specific plant parts, however, has to do with seasonal medicine. Just looking around you in the spring when the dandelions are blooming, you can tell that the plant is pouring a great deal of its energy in to those blossoms. It makes sense, when the blossoms are vigorous, to emphasize their use. In the fall, the above ground portion of the plant goes dormant, and most of the “good stuff” retreats in to the root to keep the plant alive through the winter–this is an excellent time for digging the root and making root medicine, tonics to aid us in the cold winter months. And in early spring before the flowers arrive, when the leaves are small and sweet, we eat the leaves to join all of nature in the upwelling of new strength and vigor and flow. We follow the plants throughout the year, and use their rhythms and their timely wisdom to know how to put them to their best use. All this blathering to say I’d like to talk a bit about the uses of just the flower, for now, and hopefully I’ll get to blather more about the root and leaf later in the year.
one more note–silly me, I thought I was going to do one single post about how dandelion flowers are used. What on earth was I thinking? I try to keep my posts down to a size that your average human being can read in a few minutes, so right now I’ll only share what I’ve read about dandelion flowers and the skin–specifically, the face.
Many herbalists mention the ways that dandelion flowers benefit the complexion. The recommendation I have read most is to pour freshly boiled water over fresh dandelion blossoms, and allow to steep for an hour or more. Strain, and reserve both liquid and flowers. Then apply the flowers to your eyes (or your whole face if you want) and lie down for 10 minutes. Afterwards, wash your face with the water. I have read that this method is effective to hydrate the skin, dissolve freckles, tighten pores, ease adolescent acne, and soothe sun burn, windburn, insect bites, and tired red eyes. Susun Weed also says it will diminish age spots and help with oily skin, over-large pores, and rough chapped skin. I haven’t tried it for any of these issues, but I’m intrigued . . . only I don’t really want my freckles to disappear . . . Have you tried dandelion for any of the above reasons? What were your experiences? Leave a comment if you’ve used dandelions for your complexion, and let me know how it worked! Or, let me know how you use dandelions on your face . . .