5 Surprising Uses for Dandelions

dandelion salad with cucumbers

Think twice before you weed a dandelion. Not only are these bright-blossoming, wish-granting wildflowers ethereally gorgeous, they've been prescribed by healers for thousands of years, and modern science has confirmed their medicinal value.

So instead of plucking out and composting these free herbs, why not keep them around? Here are a few of the most popular ways to use them.

1. Make Healthy Dandelion Tea

First, you can make a tasty brew by steeping the fresh flowers in boiling water. Two cups of dandelion to four cups of water is a good place to start, though any ratio will offer some health benefits. Drink right away or steep overnight and filter for later use, either hot or cold.

Alternatively, more mature plants can be pulled in full, then diced, roasted, and dried to use like coffee grounds.

dandelion tea

2. Eat Them Like Herbs

Dandelions make a good addition both to sweet treats like lemonade and ice cream, and savory dishes like soups and salads. The blossoms saute deliciously in butter, and make a great healthy, satisfying meat alternative fried in egg and flour.

All the parts of the plant are edible, just be aware the green bits are particularly bitter, particularly the base of the blossom.

3. Take Them as a Digestive Aid

No worries, though—the same stuff that makes dandelions bitter encourages digestive enzymes, which is why dandelion has been used for generations to boost appetite, reduce gas, and detoxify the intestinal system.

The flower stimulates the production of pancreatic hormone, which stimulates the spleen, and can be used to solve or soothe a wide range of tummy problems. This flower also helps promote bile duct functions and repair the gut wall from the ravages of inflammation.

dandelions with oil and flakes

4. Make Skin Cream With Them

Dandelions contain natural latex in their sap, which can ameliorate or cure some warts, moles, pimples, and canker sores. However, the process is a little time intensive.

After harvesting the natural latex from the flower, you'll need to apply it on any affected areas three to five times a day for about three weeks.

5. Fight Harmful Bacteria

Several studies suggest dandelions offer antimicrobial properties that support healthy gut bacteria while discouraging some harmful types. You can even brush your teeth with it in a pinch—the flower appears to be effective in controlling plaque.