This morning my hands smell like wet spring dirt mixed with sunshine and a bit of sugar… ahhhhh! It’s the lovely, sharp fragrance of dandelion sap. I’ve been outside popping flowers from their springy stems all morning. Before I began, I thanked the plant for all the help its roots and leaves gave me this past winter and asked if I could use its flower medicine (of course!). Then I hooked my first two fingers just below the bud, pulled gently, and POP, off they snap. I went all around the yard doing this, and gathered a quart of them to make dandelion flower oil.
Dandelion is such an incredibly nourishing and healing herb, it is hard to figure out where to start listing its uses. I’ve used the root and leaves extensively for things like indigestion and acid reflux, water retention, and just plain nourishment. But I’ve not yet used the flowers specifically. I’m making this oil to try it out as a breast massage oil, muscle tension reliever, and skin beautifier. Here’s what a few of my favorite herbalists have to say about Dandelion flowers:
“Dandelion flowers steeped in olive oil are a wonderful moisturizer and a great tension relieving massage oil. These beautiful golden blossoms possess the ability to help release emotions held in the muscles.” -Gail Faith Edwards, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs
“Make a dandelion flower oil and use wiz your Wise Woman touch to ease the pain and help heal those wiz stiff necks, arthritic joints, sinus headaches, back tension, and weepy, swollen skin sores.” – Susun Weed, Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)
“The Dandelion is a plant of the sun and has been associated with the sun since very ancient times. It’s color, disklike shape, and raylike florets resemble the sun in miniature, and the rising and setting of the sun influence the opening and closing of the flowers.” – Maida Silverman, A City Herbal
Since I carry almost all my emotional tension in the muscles of my back, shoulders, and neck I am quite anxious to see if Dandelion flower oil will be able to help me relieve some of that. I also am attracted to the symbolism and historical lore of this plant. In addition to being associated with the sun, the name of Dandelion means ”tooth of the lion” and its flower head has been compared to a lion’s mane. As my sun sign is Leo the lion, I do feel a certain kinship there!
I first learned to make herbal oils by the simplers method: fill the jar with fresh herb, cover completely with olive oil, cap tightly, let sit for 6 weeks or more in a cool dark place. I’m still following that for most of my herbal oils, however, I’m now reconsidering the “cool, dark” part of it in some cases. I think some plants, especially those that contain sunshine medicine, like Dandelion, may be more potent if left to brew in the healing rays of the sun. I’ve heard this over and over from different herbalists regarding St. John’s Wort (that fabulous red color of good SJW oil comes from brewing in the sunshine). I’ve also discovered that pine oil brews best in the sunshine — the warmth helps pull out all those lovely aromatic resins into the oil much better.
So, since a big part of the medicine I am trying to capture with Dandelion is its living sunshine, I think I’ll sit this one in the window to brew. I’ll let you know how it turns out!