I may be an experienced gardener, but I am very much a fledgling herbalist. An enthusiastic fledgling, but a fledgling nonetheless. For example, this is the first year that I’ve worked with elder. My first year making nutritive vinegars, and my first year growing a medicinal garden. I’ve been making Meadow Tea infusions for ages, but it was only two years ago that I infused my inaugural healing oil — that Oil Of Oregano that kicked off this whole herbalism love affair.
And now? This year? Well now I’m in deep with Dandelion, and I think I’ve met my herbal soul mate!
Dandelion is so unassuming — ubiquitous yet misunderstood. It’s everywhere, but it’s completely overlooked. Powerful, but easily passed over. Resilient to its core (and to many people’s chagrin), Dandelion is brimming with magic and mystery and wisdom and warmth. And yet, to most who know it, it’s written off as a weed — nothing more.
I must say, I very much relate to Dandelion. I think it is my spirit plant.
And for herbalists, Dandelion is used in every possible way, from root to tip, from food to tincture, and every possible piece or preparation in between. This oil, for example, uses the young flower heads. Dandelions flower in early spring, and dandelion oil is a great skin conditioner to help transition from dry winter into warmer, more humid summer months.
Dandelion Oil is sold commercially of course, in health food stores and herb shoppes (and also online), but it just seems silly to me to buy something that’s made from weeds that are literally growing everywhere. And it’s so simple to make at home!
To make your own Dandelion Oil, first you’ll need to procure some Dandelion flowers. This shouldn’t be too hard, as Dandelion blooms from early spring through midsummer, depending on where you live. But no matter where you are, it’s certain that you’re not far away from Dandelion. They’re everywhere.
You’ll need to collect quite a bit. They shrink down as they dry, so you’ll need more than you think. I collected a full pint to fill a small (8 oz) mason jar.
Gently rinse the dandelion flowers to remove any excess dirt or bugs. You don’t want to bruise them or rough them up, so be gentle!
Then, spread the flowers out on a cloth or piece of cardboard. Dandelion retains a lot of water, so you want to give the flowers some time to dry out. Otherwise you’ll end up with too much moisture in your oil.
Now, add your dry-ish flowers to a clean glass jar, and cover them with organic oil (I used extra virgin olive oil). Place the jar in a sunny window (the warm sun will help your infusion along) and let it sit for, eh, 4-6 weeks or so. I like to turn mine over every few days, or give it a good shake now and again. Really keep things moving and mixing and breaking down. Releasing all that medicine!
Finally, your infusion will be ready. All you need to do is strain it through cheesecloth to separate the oil from the flower bits. Easy peasy.
Look at that lovely golden color! It’s so gorgeous.
Strain it into a new jar, cap it, and keep it safe. That’s precious magic!
Dandelion Oil is an ancient traditional remedy used for achy joints and arthritis, sore muscles, and rough dry/chapped skin. I made this oil specifically for my housemate, who has chronic inflammation and joint pain, and for Jeremy, who is constantly sore in one way or another. I’ve got them both using it now, so I’ll report back to you and let you know how it works for them.
Do you have a spirit plant? Some herb that you adore and love to work with? What’s your favorite way to use it?
I’m pretty much obsessed with herbalism right now, and quickly building my own little home apothecary. And I know that so many of you out there share my passion, so I’d love to hear your wisdom, insight, and experience!