Herb of the Month: Dandelion

Dandelion

The Herb of the Month for April is the sunny and determined Dandelion! Taraxacum officinale is one of the most easily spotted, well-known, wide spread herbs in the world. In the United States, where we live, EVERYONE knows what a dandelion is. That said, only a small percentage of those people know that this “weed” is actually a beneficial ally to mankind.

Cautions

Avoid if you are allergic to members of the Asteraceae family.
People with eczema seem to have a higher chance of having an allergic reaction to dandelion.
Dandelion might slow blood clotting. Discuss with your health care practitioners if you are or will be taking a blood thinner and plant to take Dandelion as a daily supplement. Stop taking Dandelion supplements 2 weeks prior to any surgery.
Dandelion might reduce how much oxalate is released through urine. In theory, this might increase the risk for complications in people with kidney problems.

Dandelion Taxonomy

Anglo-Saxon: Ægwyrt (egg plant)
Old Norse: Fifill
Irish: Caisearbhán
Welsh: dant-y-llew
Folk Names: blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown, and puff-ball; other common names include faceclock, pee-a-bed/piss-a-bed/wet-a-bed, swine’s snout, white endive, and wild endive.

The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion meaning “lion’s tooth”, referring to the coarsely toothed leaves.

Associations

Gender: Masculine
Planet: Sun, Mars
Element: Warming, Moistening, Fire and Storm magical elements.
Taste: Bitter
Deities: Those of the Sun including Sunna (Norse), Apollon (Greek), and Ra (Egyptian)
Powers: Cleansing, Visions
Acupressure: UB 19

History

Dandelions are thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia. Fossil seeds of Taraxacum tanaiticum have been recorded from the Pliocene of southern Russia. Dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and are recorded in traditional Chinese medicine for over a thousand years.

Medicinal Uses

Dandelion has been used in traditional medicine in Europe, North America, and China.

Raw dandelion greens contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K, and are moderate sources of calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese.
The raw flowers contain diverse phytochemicals, including polyphenols, such as flavonoids apigenin, isoquercitrin (a quercetin-like compound), and caffeic acid, as well as terpenoids, triterpenes, and sesquiterpenes.
The roots contain a substantial amount of the prebiotic fiber inulin. Taraxalisin, a serine proteinase, is also found in the latex of dandelion roots.

The folk name piss-a-bed (the equivalent contemporary French pissenlit) refers to Dandelion’s powerful diuretic effect. Because of this it is often used for flushing the system especially during urinary tract infections and when the body is retaining water. Dandelion is also used for treating gout, bloody purification, aiding the liver, and (as a bitter) an ally for the gallbladder.

Full of minerals, Dandelion is a great addition to herbal protocols when bones have been under attack from infection or chronic conditions.

Dandelion is slow acting and nourishing and is best used in long term protocols for healing.

Hearth Crafting

With a wide range of uses, the dandelion is cultivated in small gardens to massive farms. It is kept as a companion plant; its taproot brings up nutrients for shallow-rooting plants. It is also known to attract pollinating insects and release ethylene gas, which helps fruit to ripen.

All parts of the plant are edible. Greens can be eaten raw or cooked. The buds can be pickled or fermented and used like capers. The flowers can be eaten in baked goods and are often used in wine or mead making. The roots can be roasted and used in coffee substitute blends.

The yellow flowers can be dried and ground into a yellow-pigmented powder and used as a dye. The roots yield a magenta dye.

Dandelion Magic

Blow the seed heads into the wind to carry your messages.
Make wishes on the seed head before blowing and if all are gone after the first blow, your wish will come true.
To tell time, blow on the seed head three times. The number of seeds left is the hour.

The roots are said to reach down into the underworld and are used in necromancy and other death magic.
As a Dandelion how long you will live and blow on the seed head. The number of seeds remaining indicate the number of years left in your life.

Dandelion root decoctions are said to bestow or strengthen psychic abilities. It is also placed out to call on spirits.

Bury Dandelion root in the northwest corner of the house to ensure favorable winds.

Dandelion is a great green ally for those who need resilience in the face of modernity, a world moving on without you, or when you feel like you are being bull-dozed and paved over. Look at the cracks in the sidewalks of major cities – Dandelion grows in the most unlikely places. Use him in spells that require wide-spread change and fighting eradication of a group. The perfect ally for protestors.

Dandelion

Resources

Disclaimer: the following contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps us keep Pagan Homestead going and able to provide free resources like this one you just read. Thank you.

The Northern Shamanic Herbal by Raven Kaldera

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

Herbal Roots Zine – Diggin Dandelion (Great for kids and families)