Due to the early Spring's much needed rainfall, longer days, and warmer weather, we see activity and signs of life everywhere we look. The buds on the trees have turned to leaves, and the flowers are blooming- in parks, gardens and roadsides alike. People are coming out of their homes on weekends and evenings- jogging, biking and working in their yards and gardens. The stillness and dormancy of winter has fully given way to the movement and growth of Spring. No matter what is going on for us now, or what has happened to us in the past, this season provides us all with a chance for fresh starts and fertile beginnings.
By aligning ourselves with the changes and growth all around us, we can leverage the momentum of the season to cultivate our own desires, and manifest our own wishes and dreams. What that looks like for each person will be different. Some might strive increase their energy and vitality, to enable them to get moving and take action; Others might work on exploring their desires and dreams and determining what's needed to plant the seeds of change; Others might make wishes and work magic to enable those wishes to come true. For each of these physical, energetic or magical challenges (and more!), Dandelion (Taraxacum) can be a powerful herbal ally.
Yes, Dandelion, the nemesis of suburban lawn owners, despite its reputation in this country as a nasty lawn weed, is actually a medicinal and magical herb! Dandelion is thought to originate in Asia, but spread before written history, and is intentionally cultivated worldwide as an essential plant for food and health. All of the dandelion (flower, leaf, root and stem) is edible, and high in minerals, especially potassium, and vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as beta-carotene, choline (essential for liver function) and inulin (beneficial for diabetics). Medicinally, it helps to cleanse and support the liver, blood, kidneys and gallbladder, aids in bile production and digestion and reduce gas, blood pressure, fat and cholesterol, as well as increase muscular strength.
Dandelion has a tap root that can extend up to 3 feet underground, and is an extremely hardy plant. Even if the surface plant wilts or is destroyed, it will regrow from the root. From this quality, as well as its life restoring medicinal qualities, it has been considered a magical underworld or otherworld plant, and is magically aligned as such. Dandelion is sacred to Hecate, and according to mythology, she fed this herb to Theseus for 30 days, thus giving him the strength and vitality needed to defeat the Minatoar in the Cretan Labyrinth.
Spring Herbcrafting with Dandelions:
Health & Healing: Sometimes a gentle herbal energy boost may be just what's needed to restore and revive energy and stamina to get those spring projects off the ground! In March, we talked about “Spring Cleaning” and clearing away any dark, negative or sluggish energies of winter to prepare ourselves for the fresh, new growth of Spring. Hopefully, you had a chance to work a bit with Nettles in this endeavor. If not...its not too late! However, If you have been working with nettles and you still feel like you need some additional “spring cleaning”, dandelion can be taken in combination with nettles or by itself as a nourishing and cleansing tonic.
Young Dandelion leaves clear blood and lymph and can be used to add flavor and nutrition to salads and sandwiches.
The leaves can also be taken as an herbal infusion to support liver and kidney function. To make the infusion, place ¼ cup to ½ cup leaves (either just Dandy or ½ Dandy + ½ Nettles) in 1 quart mason jar, fill with boiling water, lid tightly, and allow to steep for 4-10 hours (I find overnight to be the simplest). Strain well, composting the spent herbs, and drink 2-4 cups a day warm or chilled, as desired.
For a healthy herbal coffee substitute, the roots can be roasted, ground and brewed like conventional coffee.
The roots can also be added to soups and stews as they simmer, adding additional nutrients and healing qualities. A little goes a long way with this, as dandelion can be bitter, but it is this same bitterness that aids in bile production and digestion.
Externally, a strong infusion of the flowers can be used in the bath or as a wash for skin and hair, to ease dry skin, dandruff, excema, etc
Fertility: Spring is a time associated with fertility. Dandelion, with its own fertile nature, can be an ally for those who are trying to conceive a child and prepare their bodies for pregnancy.
Magically, dandelions can be used in fertility spells. One only has to visualize the flower in its seed form to realize the power this flower has to germinate and reproduce in great numbers. Make an offering to the spirit of the plant, blow a seed head to spread the seeds across the land, and ask for support with your own and/or your partners fertility.
Nourishing and tonifying the liver is an important part of supporting overall reproductive health. The liver helps filter toxins and waste from our bodies, including excess hormones. Taking herbal infusions of the dandelion leaf, decoctions of the root and/or adding leaves or roots to foods (as mentioned above) will help to cleanse the liver and regulate hormone levels in the body. Of course, if there is a medical condition preventing or complicating fertility and pregnancy, additional measures will need to be taken, but liver health is essential for proper hormone balance and functioning.
Divination, Communication & Wishes: Magic is in the air! The wheel has turned to Beltane, when we honor and celebrate birth, life and all things living. Fairies, nymphs and nature spirits abound! At this time (as with Samhain at the other half of the wheel), the veil between the worlds is thin. It is a perfect time for making wishes and working big magic.
Psychic Tea or “coffee” made from the root is said to promote psychic power and can be a useful ally when preparing for divination or dreamwork. For an extra magical boost, save some tea and place it next to your bed to call spirits.
A strong infusion of the plant makes an excellent wash for scrying mirrors, or you can make a scrying bowl by filling a suitably reflective bowl with this tea and gazing into the liquid.
For protection while sleeping as well as during astral and dreamtime travel, include Dandelion in dream pillows, sachets and mojo bags.
Blow on a seed head to make a wish, or use dried flowers in sachets and charms to make Spring wishes come true.
Happy Spring Herbcrafting!