Spring is in the air and the Dandelions are once again popping their bright yellow heads out of the ground. Up until recently I have never looked at these pesky lawn ornaments as beneficial-only as the usual weed that I struggle to banish from my perfectly groomed lawn. But boy does my heart melt every single time my toddler brings me her gorgeous bouquet of freshly picked dandelions. I don’t dare throw them out and break her little heart. So, random cups of water, with yellow blossoms floating in them, litter my kitchen all summer long.
So what’s so great about these bouts of infestation consuming my luscious green grass? Fresh dandelions are beneficial for a variety of reasons. To my surprise, every part of a dandelion is useful including the flower, stem, roots and leaves. Dandelions are extremely beneficial for fighting bacteria and helping to heal wounds. They are a natural food source due to having a very high vitamin and mineral content (even higher than vegetables) and can decorate salads or even be eaten raw. You can boil them, or dip them in batter and fry them. Due to the fact that dandelions are such a sustainable plant and they are easily grown, they have year-round medicinal purposes.
The dandelion dates back to the early 1800’s and is said to originate in Europe. During this time, people would rid their lawn of the grass in order to make more room for dandelions and other “weeds.” The name “Dandelion” is an English corruption of the French name for this plant: “dent de lion” meaning “lion’s tooth”, a reference to the tooth-like serrations on the plant’s leaves.” (Ehrlich, 2015)
As for therapeutic properties, they are gentle, calming, and have pain relieving qualities that can be beneficial for muscle rubs and over-exertion balms. Dandelion infused carrier oil is perfect for beauty products or for topical applications due to its healing properties. It can also help reduce feelings of worry and is skin moisturizing. Dandelions are chock full of vitamins A, B, C, and D, are an appetite stimulant, and are great for upset stomach. Dandelions can also help with digestion and help fight inflammation.
Next let’s talk about how to make a Dandelion Infused Carrier Oil. First of all, there are different infusion methods you can use to extract the medicinal benefits of the Dandelion. There is the Solar-infused method, cold infusion method, and double-boiler method. This recipe is going to be for the cold infusion method.
Any carrier oil can be used for this recipe, the only thing you should keep in mind is the shelf life of the carrier oil – this will determine how long your dandelion infused carrier oil will last. I chose to use a blend of Camellia Seed Carrier Oil (12-18 months) and Fractionated Coconut Carrier Oil (2 years). Some excellent alternatives are Almond Carrier Oil, Argan Carrier Oil or Jojoba Carrier Oil (which will extend the shelf life of the carrier oil).
Before you begin picking, always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals. When you go out to pick your dandelions make sure it is a bright sunny day and late enough in the afternoon that all the dew has evaporated. You want to pick enough of them to fill up your mason jar. Shake each individual flower head gently to evacuate any small inhabitants that may be living in them.
Once the jar is full, fill your mason jar with your choice of carrier oil until it covers the dandelions completely. You do not want your dandelions to be sticking out of the oil because the air and moisture can inhibit bacteria growth and lead to molding. Once they are completely submerged in the oil, stir gently to ensure all the air bubbles have been removed and place in a sunny window. You can cover the oil with a breathable mesh such as cheesecloth or a coffee filter to be sure no foreign objects fall into the oil while it is infusing.
Let the oil sit, stirring every few days, for 2-3 weeks. Dandelions can be left in the window for up to 4 weeks if you choose to make the carrier oil more aromatic, but any longer could result in bacteria growth and mold. This method of infusion is called the “cold infusion method” because you do not use heat to extract the properties from the dandelion. Once the 2-3 weeks has elapsed, use a slotted spoon to remove the dandelion heads, then strain through a cheesecloth or fine mesh cloth to remove any small particles. Also, you will want to store the oil in a cool, dark place as you would any other carrier oil. To calculate the shelf life of your dandelion infused oi, l take the average of the shelf life your carrier oils have; for this particular recipe, it would be about 21 months.
There are so many different DIY products that this oil can contribute to. Use it to create an oil blend, salve, or butter for pain associated with age and over-exertion. Add it to a lotion for dry chapped skin. Making a facial toner is a great option as well, due to the inflammation and healing properties of the dandelions. Don’t forget that the carrier oil alone has added therapeutic properties, so making this dandelion infusion then becomes a powerhouse for therapeutic benefits.
- Always make sure the dandelions you are picking are free of pesticides and chemicals.
- Only pick dandelions once the dew has evaporated on a warm sunny day.
- Shake/tap gently to remove inhabitants.
- Check your carrier oil for mold growth and air bubbles every couple of days while it is in the sunny window. If you get a small patch of mold on one of the flower heads it should still be fine. If there is too much you may consider throwing it out and beginning again.
- Store your dandelion infused carrier oil in a cool, dark place.
- Label your container with the infusion date to ensure accurate shelf life.
- Be sure to use clean, dry containers and utensils when preparing your dandelions for infusion.
“When you look at a field of dandelions you can either see a hundred weeds or a hundred wishes.”
Ehrlich, S. D. (2015, June 22). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from Dandelion: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion