Dandelions are the epitome of cheerful resilience. Though many people inexplicably find them ugly and try to destroy them with harmful herbicides, they’re sunny little drops of happiness that offer a multitude of health benefits and even potential treatment for several types of cancer. (Check out these studies on PubMed for more information.)
The flowers are especially treasured for their mild analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, making them an excellent addition to products designed for sore muscles or other external aches and pains. They’re also traditionally used in preparations to heal rough chapped skin.
In this post, we’re going to cover 12 pretty and practical ways that you can use dandelion flowers to make things that are good and useful for you and your family.
Note: Dandelions are generally safe for most people, but if you have active gallstones, are on diuretics, are pregnant, nursing or on medication, check with a health care provider before consuming internally. If you’re allergic to dandelions, don’t use these recipes.
1. Dandelion Flower Infused Oil
Dandelion flower infused oil is often used in recipes designed to soothe and heal chapped or cracked skin. It’s also helpful for sore muscles and other aches and pains. Shelf life of strained infused oil is around 1 year.
If you don’t have dandelion flowers where you live, you can occasionally find some for sale on Etsy.
To make it, fill a canning jar about half-way with dried dandelion flowers. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp and so forth.)
For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil.
For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of dried dandelion flowers and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.
For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of dandelion flowers and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.)
2. Dandelion Flower Salve
Dandelion flower infused oil makes this salve extra soothing for:
Dandelion salve is especially ideal for those who work outdoors and with their hands a lot!
Find out (HERE) how to make and use dandelion salve.
3. Dandelion Vinegar
Dandelions are full of minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron and and one of the best ways to extract those is via vinegar.
For this project, you’ll use fresh dandelion flowers mixed with leaves and stems.
To make: Gather fresh dandelion blossoms and leaves, rinse them well, and fill a jar quite full of them, but don’t pack too tightly. Pour apple cider vinegar over the fresh plant matter until the jar is filled. Cover the top of the jar with wax paper or plastic wrap and then a lid. (This added layer keeps the acidity of the vinegar from eating away at metal lids.) Place the covered jar in a dark cabinet and store for 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain and it’s ready to use!
Here are a few ideas for using dandelion vinegar:
4. Traditional Scandinavian Dandelion Syrup
This delicious way to use dandelion flowers was sent to me by Tina, a lovely reader in Denmark!
She was kind enough to translate and share a few traditional Scandinavian foraging recipes with me, including this one for Dandelion Syrup that she makes each summer.
5. Dandelion Soap
I made my first dandelion soap about 12 years ago, wondering what would happen if I put dandelion tea and dandelion oil in my favorite plain soap recipe. I was so happy with the results that I’ve made new variations almost every year since.
Dandelion soap is a perennial favorite among friends and family, and one of my top sellers from when I sold my soaps.
Here are a few of the dandelion soap recipes that I’ve published to date:
For more soap inspiration and recipes, check out my Natural Soap Making package!
6. Dandelion Lotion Bars
I originally made these lotion bars for my husband. As a rock mason, the mortar and rough stone left his hands dry, cracked, and bleeding.
Lotion bars have a long history of helping the toughest cases of cracked dry skin, while dandelion oil is particularly useful for alleviating the chapped skin and soreness that comes along with manual labor. This combination is excellent for his skin. He rubs the bar over his hands several times while watching TV each evening. There’s no messy salve to deal with and he can use it on the spots that are most bothering him.
You can find the recipe and directions to make these sweet little dandelion lotion b....
7. Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea can be made by packing fresh flowers and leaves into a mason jar and pouring simmering water over them. Let the tea infuse until it’s cool enough to drink then strain.
Dandelion tea is a classic spring herbal tonic. It helps purify and detox the blood and and is useful for helping the secondary symptoms of a sluggish system such as acne and constipation.
While dandelion tea can be helpful for some digestive issues, use caution if you have ulcers or chronic health issues and consult a medical professional before using.
Dosage for the tea is one to three cups per day, starting with a low amount and working your way up since it has laxative and diuretic properties your body may need to adjust to.
Dandelion tea can also be used in soap recipes (see #5 above.)
8. Dandelion Magnesium Lotion
I originally designed this recipe for my 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home book.
It was an instant hit with everyone who tested it, relieving leg cramps, back aches, growing pains, restless leg syndrome and various related ailments. One relative with chronic nerve pain in her arm declared it the best thing I’d ever created!
Dandelion oil and magnesium oil are both wonderful ingredients on their own, but when combined, they have a special synergy that’s amazing!
9. Dandelion Tincture
Tinctures are one of the best ways to preserve the benefits of dandelions. While this form does contain alcohol, it’s so concentrated that the end dose is similar to the alcohol content of some cough syrups. The dosage is counted in drops instead of cups. If you don’t consume alcohol, use dandelion vinegar (see #3) for similar properties.
To make a tincture, dig up a dandelion plant – root, leaves, flower, stem… the whole thing! Rinse it well then chop it as finely as you can. Place the pieces in a mason jar (jar size depends on how much plant you’ve gathered up) then cover with an 80 proof or higher alcohol like vodka. It’s a good idea to keep a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper between the tincture and the lid, if it’s metallic. Cap and store in a cool dark place for 2 to 3 weeks before straining, making sure you shake the jar every so often. While traditional herbalists recommend a dosage of up to 30 to 40 drops, three or four times per day, I dose my family in much smaller amounts, never more than 4 or 5 drops at a time. (Tinctures are powerful things!) Use this tincture to help with constipation or a sluggish liver that leads to poor digestion and acne.
10. Dandelion Infused Honey
Raw honey is a healing food, all on its own. It’s soothing to the throat and GI tract, inhibits the growth of H. pylori (that nasty organism associated with ulcers), it can be used on the skin for acne, burns or diabetic ulcers, and daily use of raw, local honey may help seasonal allergies. The entire dandelion plant is edible and is a classic liver tonic. It’s traditionally used for joint pain, eczema and as a blood toner and mild diuretic. Dandelion root extract is even being researched for it’s cancer fighting abilities! The flowers are high in vitamin C, beta carotene and other nutrients. We’re going to combine these two powerhouses and make a super charged honey!
To make this, you’ll need fresh dandelions and some raw honey. Remove the green from the dandelions so that you have just the yellow petals. (Some bits of green might remain, that’s okay.) Now, stuff these flowers into a small jar and slowly pour your raw honey over them. Stir with a knife to remove air bubbles. Let this sit in a cupboard for several days to allow the flowers to infuse into the honey. Once sufficient time has passed, you can strain the flowers from the honey by slightly heating the mixture (don’t go above 110 degrees F or the benefits of raw honey is negated) then straining through cheesecloth or a mesh strainer. Alternatively, you can do what I do and just leave the flowers in and spoon around them. You can actually eat the honeyed flowers by the spoonful too. I find them quite yummy!
The shelf life of this honey (strained) is at around a year (or longer), but if you don’t strain the flowers be sure to check for freshness each time before consuming. Take one to two tablespoons daily to possibly help with seasonal allergies and as a general health tonic. It’s also useful for sore throats, burns and as a face wash. Dandelion is safe for most people but is not recommended if you have active gallstones or are on a prescription diuretic. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend honey for children under the age of one.
11. Dandelion Cupcakes
Pick a handful or two of dandelions then wash and dry them thoroughly. Pull off just the yellow petals (the green has a stronger bitter taste you don’t really want in a cupcake.)
Mix up your favorite cupcake recipe, stir in the yellow petals, then bake like normal.
Let cool, frost and add an edible flower or two on top for decoration. Some flower ideas for topping: pansies, violets, violas, dianthus, lilac, bachelor buttons, hollyhocks and roses.
12. Dandelion Bath Bombs
These all natural bath bombs capture the sunshiny happiness of a field full of spring dandelions.
A few drops of sea buckthorn oil gives them a pretty yellow color, but you could also add a small amount of yellow Brazilian clay for a different shade of yellow.
The cheerful scent comes from a blend of litsea and orange (or lemon) essential oils, but you could change out the essential oils (lavender is another good option) or leave them unscented if you’d like.
A thing of beauty.
I want to make them all but the only way I'm going to get to do it is if I write it down pretty much right now because I'll forget all about it. Maybe when I see them growing wild in the spring I'll remember and gather them. Most of the things I see and add I put it up and it's the last I remember of it. I "have" to write things down. I want to this tincture, make an oil for spells and this honey. I would love to make this syrup, and the moisturizer too, lol.
I'm going to try. Seeing the discussion will remind me, if the Dandelions themselves don't. Lol. I love to see the flowers in the grass.The splashes of colour are lovely.
That's so true Elspeth! I know from the conversations that we've had here and then you just adding this little comment here that when I see dandelions this spring I'll start pulling them, lol.
I would love to make wine, but you have to pick them and prep them so fast....I honestly don't know if I could. I just told gary we should get the equipment this winter so I could be ready....and he gave me, 'the look.'
I love dandelion wine, and I can't seem to find anyone around here that sells it. We had neighbors that made it every year. They made it so much, they wore out the dandelions on the whole block. the church could never figure out why they voted against weed killer every year. Yes, you guessed it, they picked the church dandelions.
I've never tasted it lol I didn't know it was available for sale. I wonder if you can order this online :) :) :) I want some lol.
Whats it taste like Linda? Anything similar you can point to?
It's sweet, like a light chardonnay, but with a bit of an underlying citrus.....
OOOOOOH! I like the sound of that!
I'll add it to, My To Do List lol :-)
I make Elderflower syrup and will be trying to organise myself into it again this year.(It's lovely with a bit of fizz. I'm wondering if it's good in Gin too? I bypassed making it last year as I was wrapped up with home and Betty. :-}
Dandelion Wine sounds good though..although the Dandelion Srup is waving at me as well..
I can't use that at this time as it warns above about consuming it with active Gall stone issues. In time for the next batch hopefully! I'm sure I've seen ready made at our local garden centre, Dobbies?
The Epsom and Dandelion Vinegar..I LOVE this Discussion! Our banking is usually yellow with Dandelions - the garden too. I used to give the leaves to our old rabbit, Leonard.
Will have to watch the local council doesn't spray them. I don't think they've been able to afford to for a couple of years, as they've been growing so abundantly, it stands out like a sore thumb. I can always use the garden ones though.
Ohh yummy :) And I would love to learn how to make elderberry syrup. Oh this stuff just sounds so good lol.