“Lion of Summer,
I roar across the sunny fields
and shake my snowy mane
casting wishes and beginnings upon the Winds!
With healing waters brewed,
illnesses and toxins are subdued.”
Who sings now?
“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love and something to hope for.” Joseph Addison
“No vision and you perish; No ideal, and you’re lost. Your heart must ever cherish some faith at any cost. Some hope, some dream to cling to, some rainbow in the sky. Some melody to sing to, some sevice that is high.” Harriet Du Autermont
“But a weed is simply a plant that wants to grow where people want something else. In blaming nature, people mistake the culprit. Weeds are people’s idea, not Nature’s.” Anonymous
Persistant Dandelion has been known by many names over the years: blowball, cankerwort, lion’s tooth, fairy clock, wild endive, priest’s crown, piss-a-bed and Irish daisy to name a few. Unlike many other plants, considering Dandelion a weed is nothing new. However, this little Teacher has many lessons for us and many uses. There are about a 100 different species of Dandelion, and the name is a corruption of the French “dents de lion” or “teeth of the lion”, so called for its saw-toothed jaw-like leaves.
Dandelion has been used as a treatment for fevers, boils, eye problems, diarrhea, fluid retention, liver congestion and diseases, heartburn, as a laxitive and natural diuretic, breast cancer and inflammation, lack of milk in breastfeeding mothers, appendicitis, digestive ailments, and is one of the best detoxants available to us. Its roots enhance bile flow, which is what makes it useful in combatting liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones and jaundice. It causes the liver to increase bile production, betters the flow to the gallbladder, causes the gallbladder to contract and release stored bile. Its high choline content is what makes it effective against hepatitic tonic, and it cleans the blood of toxins most effectively.
“Many things love to come and live off your plants, including bacteria, bugs, birds, and bunnies. If you don’t control them, entire crops can be ruined. The result of your careful cultivation, in your garden and in your life, can be lost to predators in a short time. … Take a look at your life, what toxic relationships, substances and emotions are feeding on your energy and taking away from what you have to give to others. Eliminate them.” Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, 1997
Dandelion leaf is also a good natural source of potassium. The fact that it will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the herb’s diuretc action on the kidneys makes it safe to use in cases of water retention due to heart problems, and is gentle enough for children or the elderly. Also useful in cases of anemia, it may lower elevated blood pressure. Dandelion also provides relief for rheumatism and arthritis. Doses of dandelion preparations taken over time, have helped reduce stiffness and increase mobility in situations of chronic DJD (degenerative joint disease).
A 1938 Italian study involved 12 patients with severe liver imbalances, and after receiving one 5ml injection of dandelion extract per day for 20 days, 11 of the 12 showed a considerable drop in blood cholesterol! In another study, dandelion was used successfully to treat hepatitis, swelling of the liver, jaundice and dyspepsia. Certain PMS symptoms are believed to be caused by decreased hepatic clearance of estrogen and other hormones. Since dandelion can deoxify these hormones, it would make an effective treatment in those cases.
“You fight dandelions all weekend, and late Monday afternoon there they are, pert as all get out, in full and gorgeous bloom, pretty as can be, thriving as only dandelions can in the face of adversity.” Hal Borland
Sturdy Dandelion has been beloved by children for generations. Every child I have ever known cannot resist tossing their wishes upon the winds by blowing Dandelion puffballs. Being a common meadow herb so closely associated with youth and wish fufillment gives Dandelion a link to the Faerie realm and its inhabitants. Dandelion wine, once popular across Europe, was regarded as a magical drink that the Fae lent a hand in making! Families would get together to collect all the best Dandelions during late spring or early summer. The wine would be aged til around the end of autumn or beginning of winter, and the goal was to make enough to see everyone through until next Spring. This sweet wine is still made today.
Dandelion roots, like chicory which is it’s close relative, make a decent coffee substitute, and young leaves are a wonderful addition to salads. It was believed to be good luck to carry a few dandelions in your wedding bouquet, as it would bring prosperity to the marriage, many children, and good health. They made necklaces of good fortune for young maids who chained them for themselves, but not if they were given to them by someone else. While it is alright to place Dandelions on someone’s grave, it is ill advised to pick them in any graveyard! In Ireland, Dandelions were used to treat faerie shot and heart ailments. Folk beliefs revolving around this tiny flower are nearly as plentiful as Dandelions themselves!
It’s yellow color links it to Solar energy and the Sun. People used to rub the flower’s yellow color onto their hands and then onto whatever part of the body was in need of aid. This link to the healing Sun and Dandelion’s amazing tenacity mark it as a vigorous Healer. Being a lover’s oracle, Dandelion is associated with Coquetry in the language of flowers, and can also represent Happiness or Faithfulness. There are Dandelion cook-offs, recipes, and even festivals!
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fortune of the Republic, 1878
The fleshy roots should be gathered in the fall, washed, split and dried out of the sun before being stored in sealed jars. Dried, of course, is not as potent as fresh, but this handy Healer is good to have around the house. A simple infusion can be made by taking 2 ounces of fresh leaves (less if dried) and adding 2.5 cups of (non-chlorinated) boiling water in a glass container. Cover and steep for about 15-20 minutes, strain and drink hot or cold. Don’t exceed three cups in a day! This mixture will last about two days in the refridgerator.
Likewise, Dandelions should never be used by someone with blocked biliary ducts or other biliary ailments. Also, Dandelion stems contain a liquid latex substance that may be irritating to the skin of senstitive persons. Being one of the first flowers in Spring, Dandelion helps Bees and other nectar and pollen eaters to survive before everything else is available. Their transformative nature reminds us of the need to accept change in our own lives, and shows us how to transform ourselves or our lives with grace.
Dandelion people tend to be cheerful, resilient, tenacious and youthful. Those with unbalanced Dandelion energy might be “mood-killers” turning bright situations bleak with their bitter attitudes. This Teacher challenges us to re-examine how we look at our lives. Perhaps those “weeds” in our lives were only our perception of them, and have been there all along to help us! Dandelion might be telling you to weed out the toxins in your life, or warning you that something you viewed as a weed would be better left alone! Recall the happiness of an innocent heart, and Dandelion will surely be there! With all that Dandelion gives to us, isn’t it amazing how many consider it only to be a bothersome weed?! How do Dandelions appear in your life?
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them” A. A. Milne, Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh
“If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.” Andrew V. MasonLittle Dandelion
Bright little Dandelion
Lights up the meads,
Swings on her slender foot,
Telleth her beads,
Lists to the robin’s note
Poured from above;
Wise little Dandelion
Asks not for love.
Cold lie the daisy banks
Clothed but in green,
Where, in the days agone,
Bright hues were seen.
Wild pinks are slumbering,
True little Dandelion
Greeteth the May.
Brave little Dandelion!
Fast falls the snow,
Bending the daffodil’s
Haughty head low.
Under that fleecy tent,
Careless of cold,
Blithe little Dandelion
Counteth her gold.
Meek little Dandelion
Groweth more fair,
Till dies the amber dew
Out from her hair.
High rides the thirsty sun,
Fiercely and high;
Faint little Dandelion
Closeth her eye.
Pale little Dandelion,
In her white shroud,
Heareth the angel-breeze
Call from the cloud;
Tiny plumes fluttering
Make no delay;
Little winged Dandelion
Helen Barron Bostwick
Potential Balancing Energies:
Rabbit, horse, cattle (cow, sheep, goat, etc), bison/buffalo, deer, birds like Redtail hawk, Eagle, Crow/Raven, sparrow, chickadee, robin, or canary, stones like opal, Lions, insects like lepidoptera, ants, bees, and grasshoppers/crickets, other plants like grasses, daisies, plantain, violets, or asclepias, the Sun
Associated with: Hecate, Dagda, Lugh Lamfada, Apollo, Hera, Taranis, Green Man/Woman, Cernunnos, Pan, Osiris, Ra, Jupiter, Zeus, Ceres/Demeter, Belenus, Brigid, Epona, and other dieties associated with the Sun, fields or healing.
Key Concepts: Solar energy, Cleansing/Purification, Healing/Health, Wishes, Beginnings, Grounding, Dreams/Dreamtime/Vision, Faeries, Happiness, Childhood joy/memories, tenacity, regeneration/renewal/rebirth, Divinity, letting go in a healthy/timely way
Each Who Sings Now? poem is inspired by a Teacher found in Nature; tree, stone, animal, plant, etc. All Our Relations are still willing to teach anyone willing to gratefully listen. Nothing is ever truly lost as long as there is still someone willing to look for it. Can you guess who is singing?