I know, sacrilege, right??
Really, though, this is an amazing plant. The root makes a fantastic liver tonic. The leaves, a kidney tonic. Notice, those two things go together- build up the strength of the liver and kidneys and you'll purify your blood, which will remove junk from circulating to every cell in your body and bring all sorts of goodies to them, since of course you'll also be digesting and assimilating better!
Folk knowledge says you can use the sap from the flower stems to kill warts, and to make henna-like tattoos. The flowers make a mean wine, and I've read they fritter up nicely too- I have yet to try that but will update when I do. Henriette Kress says the flowers bring joy, which is a lovely gift, and that flower syrup tastes nutty and of vanilla. She also says some other pretty great things about this hardy survivor (as do her commentors!):
- I love dandelion flowers in the lawn. The way the flowers hunker down down down everywhere the lawn mover reaches, and grow tall and proud everywhere else? Awesome!
- When my mother-in-law complains too long about my "weedy lawn," I serve her dandelion salads and frittatas and more. "What is this?" she asks. "Oh, they're dandelions, Loreen!" (and the yellow parts of the flowers look so pretty in the frittata, too!)
- I pulled at a couple [dandelions] -- no luck. "Wow... stubborn girls, you are." Then I thought of how rude and selfish I was being. I looked at the whole bed and admired all of it -- weeds and all. Then I told the dandelions that I would like to use their good energy in a tea. If anyone wanted to come along, I would love it. Without an ounce of effort, I pulled up a dandelion with a 2-foot long root system.
The second thing is that where the roots meet the rosette of leaves, the plant produces a dark purple color indicative of oxalic acid. When harvesting, I always remove that bit to prevent unnecessary buildup.
I am amazed at the tenacity this plant shows. Have you seen where she grows?? Out of solid walls, in stones, places where there's barely any soil. And with that cheerful bright yellow smile, at the same time! This tells me something about the strength of her medicine. She gives deep, foundational support to those livers and kidneys, digging way down to anchor their strength and draw up their energy and light.
All in all, though, I love my dandelions and carefully weed around them in my garden. Try it!