Botanical Name: Taraxacum Officianale | Family: Compositae

Common name(s): Dandelion


  • Perennial, herbaceous, broad-leaf | zones 3-9 | full sun to part shade | 8 – 24″
  • Found everywhere, lawns, gardens, roadsides, etc. Does best in fertile soil.


Parts used: Roots, leaves, flowers

Harvest leaves anytime, but spring leaves are less bitter. Harvest roots in the early spring or the fall before they get too woody. Harvest the flowers while they are blooming (and leave some for the bees!).


Infusion: prepare the leaves as a tea.

Decoction: 2-3 tsp dandelion root to one cup water; bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3x/day

Tincture: take 5-10ml of the tincture 3x/day

Food: All parts are edible, young leaves are good in salad, roots can be roasted and ground to make a coffee substitute, or cooked and eaten like any root vegetable. The flowers are edible, too.


Constituents: carotenoids, essential oil and bitter principles*, inulin, calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, B, C, and D, trace minerals, milky latex

Actions: alterative, antirheumatic, mild diuretic, bitter, tonic, laxative

Uses: high blood pressure/edema (leaves), digestive issues (roots), warts (milky latex), Rheumatism, constipation, general tonic

Cautions: Some people are allergic to the milky latex of the flowers and stems


  • A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
  • Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • K-State on Dandelion

* each of my sources listed a bunch of different chemical constituents so I’m just generalizing some of them, as well as listing other recognizable ones.

I’ve always loved dandelions, but never ate them before, or used them medicinally. I made some tinctures this year – a vinegar-based and an alchoholic-based one. And I’ve roasted the roots and ground them to make a coffee substitute. They smell wonderful while roasting. But they are as bitter (or more bitter, according to my husband) as coffee. My son, who can’t do caffeine said they taste just like coffee, so there you go. A couple of verdicts. I tried some, man is it bitter, but I feel the same way about coffee.

As for the leaves, I’ve tried them in salads and they are also a little bitter for my taste, but I’m hoping to develop more of a taste for bitter herbs because they are so good for you! We’ve gotten so far away from our wild food over time that most of us have lost the taste for it.