Tooth of Lion: Dandelion
Bitterwort. Fairy clock. Fortune teller. Swine's snout. Milk witch. Peasant's cloak. There are many names for our ever present friend, Dandelion. Flowering in the spring and fall, Dandelion marks the changing of the seasons with its triumphant yellow head popping up through cracks in the concrete and on hillsides through parks. Tenacity would be a good word to describe our friend Dandelion who flickers bright in urban and rural setting alike, thriving in disturbed soil (like roadsides and dirt patches in parking lots).
Dandelion's reputation for tenacity makes it a brilliant ally for those needing detoxification and to gently cleanse of the body of excess heat and impurities. For those who feel stagnant, Dandelion is the bold, toothy companion to help break down emotional and physical barriers to health.
Magickal Uses of Dandelion
Dandelion acts as an herbal guide through the transitional points of the year and myths tell of its affinity for the Goddess Hecate who rules over the crossroads and the plant's healing powers to defy death itself. Bury Dandelion in the northwest corner of the home to bring favorable winds at sea and drink a tea of its root to awaken the third eye. Carried on the person, Dandelion is said to bestow the wishes of the seeker. Looking to learn more about the revolutionary energies of Dandelion? Come this way.
Medicinal Uses of Dandelion
Dandelion is a general cleanser of the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, stomach, and spleen. A mild diuretic as a tea or tincture, the potassium rich leaves help prevent mineral loss and also treats urinary tract infections and gallstones. Dandelion also aids digestion, is a mild laxative, helps with the metabolism f fats, and stimulates the appetite - good for when you are recovering from illness. Our golden friend is also excellent for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, edema and abnormal blood sugar levels. As a diuretic, Dandelion increases urination but also replaces the potassium loss through urine.
I use dandelion before and around the spring and fall equinoxes to prepare my body for the changing weather and strengthen it against colds, flus, and various infections. During the early spring, Dandelion clears away the sluggishness of winter and restores my energy reserves. For fall, Dandelion helps the body store minerals and supports beneficial flora of the gut.
A balancer of emotions, dandelion helps regulate hormones for menopausal women when taken over a long period of time. While on hormone therapy or estrogen replacement, women can safely use dandelion as a liver tonic. Dandelion is also useful for those still menstruating as it relieves cramping, reduces water retention, and prevents bloating. As a powerful cleanser, Dandelion can also improve the condition of trouble-prone skin, such as acne, psoriasis, and excema. In addition to being an immune-enhancer, Dandelion strengthens vascular resistance and reduces pathologically-induced capillary wall permeability. Thank you, Toothy!
The Dandelion Personality
Retention is a keyword of the Dandelion personality. They tend towards an agitated anger and/or nervousness as well as dull-mindedness which comes about because of excess toxins in their system. They can be very good at holding onto and stuffing down emotions. Frustration is a familiar companion. There can be a history of or tendency towards alcohol and drug abuse as well as eating disorders - I think this partially stems from a feeling of struggling to take up space appropriately combined with an internal toxicity (think nasty inner voice) that hasn’t been cleared from the system. Excess sleepiness mixed with insomnia are also signs of a Dandelion person. Ultimately, Dandelion folks are operating from a lack of security and you might see a tightness around the solar plexus. The excess of fluids in their body can stem from their emotional retention - they’ve built a watery moat to protect themselves. Dandelion teaches them how to let go while still taking root - a balance that’ll be essential for them to learn for long term healing.
Using Dandelion in Your Life
As Dandelion has many names, so it has many ways of being incorporated into our lives and diet. In addition to teas and tinctures, try adding the fresh leaves to salads and juices. The leaves are great in stir-fries and soups, too! You can also roast the root in your oven to create a decaffeinated coffee substitute. I make a dandelion vinegar by mixing the root, fresh or dried, in raw apple cider vinegar and letting it steep for one cycle of the moon. I strain it and either take a teaspoon of the vinegar in water or mix it into my salads.