Did you know an extremely useful medicine already grows in your garden? You probably consider dandelions to be a weed and spend countless hours each year waging war on them but beauty specialist, Angela Lopez from Angela’s Belle Toi in Bournemouth, says that with a bit of ingenuity and knowledge you could also be turning them into amazing and FREE beauty products, which can be used to nourish and detoxify aging and city- or sun-frazzled skin…
And if all else fails, you can simply eat the enemy!
Dandelion roots and leaves can be utilised in the skin care and hair care
Angela explains that when the skin is detoxified, the pores stay clearer and the complexion has a chance to heal giving you that all-important “healthy glow”. She recommends drinking dandelion tea to flush out toxins from the body and to get rid of that sluggish feeling and says that doing this on a daily basis will also nourish and hydrate your skin.
Dandelion root is known to be a very powerful blood purifier and is useful for fighting anaemia and is effective in lowering high blood pressure through increasing urination. You can make your own tea by simply boiling up a couple of teaspoons of ground-up root and drinking the liquid. For maximum benefits, and especially when treating acne, Angela advises that you drink the tea on an empty stomach and to not eat anything for about half an hour.
You can use the vitamin-rich dandelion sap to make a skin toner or tincture and with regular use, your skin will become brighter, firmer and wrinkle free. It is not only good for rejuvenating skin and for reducing the dark spots that are associated with aging but is also good at fighting off infections. It reduces itching and is particularly effective in treating sensitive skin, and also eczema, without any side effects.
The sap is a well known diuretic, hence the pee in the bed reference, and stimulates the hormones that cleanse the liver, stimulate bile production, and pull heavy metals from the body through sweat and urine.
The sap can also be used for soothing sunburn, nettle stings and insect bites and will even magically dissolve warts!
Follow Angela’s daily care routine and you’re on the way to looking radiant!
Boil the dandelion roots in some water and moisten a cotton wool ball in the cooled liquid and making sure that you avoid contact with the eyes, cleanse your face to remove surface bacteria and impurities.
Find a few whole flowers to make a small batch of skin toner. Pick your dandelions when they are in full bloom and give them a wash in cool water then steep them for several days in a sterilized jar of boiling water before straining the mixture and putting it into a dark glass spray bottle.
Use the toner to spritz your freshly washed face or hair daily. It’s the perfect pick-me-up on a hot summer day!
Every week or so, give your face a more intensive treatment, and especially if it’s very dry or wrinkled, by making a dandelion mask.
Blend dandelion flowers in fresh, plain yoghurt to make a smooth paste. If you prefer you can also add some honey and wheat germ essential oil to the mix before applying it to your clean face and neck.
Leave the mask on for around 30 minutes then remove by massaging with a clean moistened facecloth in gentle circular movements and wash off the residue with warm water.
Make a dandelion root infused conditioning oil by putting a tablespoon of the grated root into a cup of warm extra virgin olive oil. Allow it to infuse for a couple of weeks before using it to treat your washed hair.
After shampooing, use my dandelion hair rinse or hair tonic to remove excess grease, soothe an itchy scalp and get rid of dandruff. Pour the tepid rinse, which is simply dandelion water made from boiling either the leaves or roots, onto the scalp and allow to soak into the scalp and hair. Rinse out and condition hair as needed or simply apply hair rinse after shampooing and do not wash it out. The result – glossy, thick hair.
If you want your sexy hair to be super fragrant then add a dash of rosewater to the mix.
If you want to use dandelions from your own garden, it’s important that you don’t spray them with chemicals and be wary of any gathered from the wild.
Dandelions are beneficial for a wide range of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hover flies. They have a long flowering season too, starting from early spring, which makes them useful for hungry bees and pollinators that are awake unseasonably early and looking for nectar and pollen
Dandelion roots grow deep into the soil, often travelling up to 4m deep, transferring nutrients from the lower levels to shallow rooting plants that are growing nearby. The taproots also puncture through hard clay soils aerating it and creating drainage channels.
Dandelion’s fleshy taproots are used as a coffee substitute and the leaves, which have as much iron as spinach, are eaten as salad greens and in soup and teas by enthusiastic foragers. Even the flowers are put to good use and turned into wine and despite its reputation for causing you to pee the bed if you happen to pick the flowers for the vase, it can be used in herbal remedies to treat liver problems and heartburn.
Dandelions are power packed with the following vitamins and minerals: iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, copper, & Vitamins A, B, C & D that are good for your immune system, vision, giving you energy, healing your body, and clearing your mind
If you’re harvesting the leaves for salads and spring greens, look for young leaves, as these will be most tender and less bitter. You can also use the leaves to make a healthy and delicious smoothie – just substitute them for you usual greens and blend away!
To make “coffee”, dig up the roots when they are most potent in spring and air-dry them for a week or more before roasting in a hot oven. You may need to leave the oven door slightly ajar if they are still full of moisture to let the steam escape. When they are properly dry and medium brown in colour they can be ground and used to make a caffeine-free coffee-style drink.
Be aware that dandelion is a mild laxative and an appetite suppressant. It relieves digestive disorders by balancing the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. The high levels of fibre in dandelion also promotes healthy bowel movements, so it’s useful for rectifying both constipation and diarrhoea.
Check the clock!
Requiring no pollinators, dandelions are self-pollinating and often change from flower to seed head over several days and the seeds, which are attached to tiny parachutes, are spread far and wide by the wind, so it’s no wonder that gardeners cannot keep up with the constant growth.
An old wives tale is that if you can blow all the seeds off the puff ball-like seed head with one blow, then you are loved with a passionate love. If some seeds remain, then your lover has reservations about the relationship. If a lot of the seeds still remain on the globe, then you are not loved at all, or very little.
Dandelion blooms are also thought to be an excellent barometer, shutting like an umbrella when rain is in the air.
If you want to know the time, legend has it that the number of breaths it takes to blow off all the seeds of a dandelion globe is the hour number
This delicious spread is made from flowers and sugar and with not a bee in sight! Excellent for vegans, it can be used on toast, pancakes and to sweeten tea and other beverages.
To make your honey spread, simply pick flowers whilst in peak condition and soak them in cold water to remove any pests and debris. Remove the petals and discard the centre of the flower and stem.
Put the petals into a heavy saucepan along with some water, lemon slices, and a vanilla bean then bring to the boil. Let the liquid steep for the whole day then strain it through muslin and discard the solids.
Put the clear liquid into a pan and boil, gradually adding sugar to the liquid while stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Lower the heat and simmer until the liquid is thick and gooey – this may take several hours, then bottle and refrigerate until needed.
WARNING: People allergic to chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, ragweed and daisy should avoid consuming dandelion. Also anyone taking antibiotics, water pills, or lithium should not eat or drink dandelions without first seeking medical advice. And as with all herbal remedies, if you experience any side effects, stop using it immediately.