It's dandelion pickin time! Ya'll....Dandelions are packed full of nutrients your skin and body craves this time of year. This is why nature is providing an abundance of them right now! Winter has come to a close and most of us have been indoors a lot and thank goodness we have access to heat when it's cold...but - running the heat drys out the air so much that our skin, lungs and indoor plants struggle to keep hydrated! Dandelion oil can replinish the skin from months of dry heat and cold air. It can be mixed with coconut oil for a lip moisturizer to get those cracked lips looking luscious just in time for spring. Use dandelion oil on your scalp to sooth itchy skin and give your hair some extra shine. If you don't want to make oil, dried dandelion flowers can be steeped in hot water and drank as a tea to do a liver cleanse and detox! Early Spring is the perfect time of year to flush out the body of toxins that got stored over those cold winter months. Here is how to get this dandelion ball rollin':
First, find a nice dandelion patch that hasn't been exposed to lots of car exhaust or dog pee! Do NOT choose a local park or grassy area next to a busy road. The flowers can absorb the car pollution and definitly soaks up dog pee (heehee!). Choose an undisturbed area away from lots of foot traffic - *hint* dandelions like hill sides and part shade.
Now, get a bag or basket and get to pickin'! You will want to pick flowers that have recently opened and look healthy and bright. Gently pluck off the flower part, leaving as much stem as possible. I never pluck flowers that have bees or insects on them, just being polite. I always thank the dandelions for being a part of my products and being willing to be used as medicine to provide me and my customers with tons of vitamins and nutrients we need for full health. Truly, thank you, dandelions and all plant/animal life for being so selflessly willing to help us humans to get what we need!
Once you have a nice amount of them, you can use a dehydrater to get them dry fast. Spread them out nicely so they can evenly dry and set the dehydrater on 95 degrees for about 12 hours. Check every so often because all dehydrators are a little different. You want to be sure they are good and dry because leaving moisture in them will cause your oil extraction to go rancid. If you do not have access to a dehydrator, you can spread them out on a cookie sheet or something similar and just let them slowly air dry. It helps to put them close to a window or somewhere they can bask in the sun to make it go a little faster. This process is slower and will take a few days. There is tons of info online about methods of doing this, as well. I have fun while spreading them out and use this time to give them some Reiki and just shower them with good energy. Sometimes I even make up sweet (and probably pretty funny) songs to sing them while I'm laying them out nice and pretty. I mean, why not?!?
Once your flowers are good and dry, you will notice they have shrunk up a bit. You can either stop here and use the dried flowers by themselves (for tea and such) or continue on to make dandelion oil. If keeping them dry, be sure to place them in an air tight bag, glass jar or container and label them, making note of the date. Especially if you are like me and have drawers full of random dried flowers and herbs. I prefer to store mine in mason jars, but if temporarily using plastic, be sure it is not exposed to heat, as warm temperatures can cause toxins to be released from plastic materials.
If you are going to continue on to make the oil, place your dried flowers in a mason jar or glass container with an air tight seal. Fill the jar about half full with the flowers, as they will expand as they absorb the oil over time. Now, pour in a carrier oil of your choice until all the flowers are covered, leaving some room at the top to allow for expansion. My personal favorite is sweet almond oil because it is light and has a really long shelf life. I have used avocado oil and olive oil in the past, as well. Place the lid on tightly and label it. Now.....we wait. The jar will need to sit for at least 3-4 weeks to allow time for the oil to extract all of the nutrients out of the dried flower. Each day, gently shake the jar to make sure all the contents are staying evenly covered in the oil. This gives you time to connect with your co-creation and I always bless my jars and thank them when I'm shaking. It's beautiful to watch how the oil changes colors to reflect the flower over the weeks and just witness the transformation.
After 3-4 weeks, you can use cheescloth to strain out the flower and you are left with a beautiful, vitamin packed, nutrient dense oil that you can use however your heart desires! I have used it to cook with, make salad dressings, and of course to make skin care products! Get creative and have fun with this precious treasure from Mother Earth. Who would ever think to call dandelions weeds, anyway?!?
Until next time, happy pickin'!