As a child, your eyes may have scrunched up with determination while blowing the seeds of a dandelion off to mystical lands where dreams come true.

Perhaps your mouth has munched on some crunchy dandelion greens in a salad or puckered up with a rich cup of dandelion root tea.  Somehow, in some way, this herb has most likely touched your life.

From roots, leaves, and flowers, healing flows forth. Each part of this hearty plant offers nourishment, and she readily gives solace to the body. Although not a native plant of North America, she has dug her roots into this continent and created an everlasting home. With stories stating origin out of Asia, Egypt, and Arabia, and finding her way to Europe many moons ago, the dandelion’s uses are well-documented in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, tracing back well over a millennia.

Medicinal Mixology: Dandelion

Medicinal Mixology: Dandelion

Photo by Madeleine Steinbach/Shutterstock

The English name “dandelion” is derived from a reference to the leaves of the plant dent-de-lion, explaining the jagged leaves as the teeth of a lion. The scientific Greek name of Taraxacum officinale stems from the words “disorder” and “remedy,” offering great insight into the intended journey for this plant.

For many, dandelion is a cure-all for a body that is generally overrun by toxic living. For our purposes, I am focusing on the leaves and roots. Bitter, cooling, and drying, the primary application of this herb is blatant: to clear out toxic heat from the body. The liver screams for this herb because its job is to filter the excesses our bodies struggle with processing. The roots in all their strength can help simply detoxify the liver and blood and have been administered as treatments for liver conditions as severe as hepatitis, jaundice, and cirrhosis.

I merely want to showcase the powerful benefits of this herb and how expansive she can be in the realm of herbal healing. For digestive stagnation and unrest, as well as unbalanced blood sugar levels, the dandelion root is an effective ally. The leaves are chock-full of nutritive healing that offers the body beneficial amounts of vitamins such as K, A, and C, as well as iron. When both parts of the plant are used in tandem, there is a wonderful balancing of the body that happens. And that is exactly what we are going to do in this month’s Medicinal Mixology cocktail.

There are so many ways to incorporate dandelion into cocktails, and most definitely into preventative healing protocols for the body. Playing with tinctures, bitters, teas, and syrups can offer new ways to up your medicinal game, but don’t forget to find the magic in blowing the seeds, assisting in pollinating this truly beautiful plant!

Please remember this is not a note of treatment. If you have severe ailments of the liver, seek advice from your health care provider.


Over the Moon for a Dandy Lion, cocktail with flower garnish

Over the Moon for a Dandy Lion

Over the Moon for a Dandy Lion 

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz. Golden Moon Gin
  • .25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • .25 oz. Dandelion Root Tincture*
  • .75 oz. Dandelion Leaf and Tangelo Peel Syrup**
  • Scrimshaw Pilsner (to Top)
  • Tangelo Peel or Edible Flowers (for Garnish)

Preparation: Fill a mixing tin with all ingredients except for the beer and garnish. Shake with ice and a smile and gently strain the dandelion concoction into a pilsner glass. Top with the beer. Garnish with a fresh tangelo peel or edible flowers, or choose a creative ingredient that calls your name (I used a heuchera blossom to emphasize the element of springtime).

Dandelion Root Tincture*

Using a high-proof spirit of your choice, macerate dried dandelion root at a 3:1 ratio of root/spirit for at least three weeks.

Dandelion Leaf and Tangelo Peel Syrup**

Bring equal parts sugar and water to a near boil, and simmer equal parts dandelion leaf and tangelo peel until desired flavor arises. The portion of leaves and peel should be left up to the desired taste—it can vary greatly dependent upon quantity.