Oh, the humble dandelion. Dandelions are so under-appreciated in our age of pristine grass lawns! I'll save the lawn rant for another day - for now, let's appreciate the glory of this well-known 'weed'.
Dandelions are edible and medicinal, and easy (so easy!) to find. Their uses range from wine to salads to medicinal tonics, and they are perfect to harvest this time of year.
One of spring's first blooms, down by our creek bed.
Spotlight on Dandelion
Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), gets its name from the French 'dent-de-lion' or 'lion's tooth', and is related to chicory and wild lettuce. Dandelion leaves, flowers, and root are all edible, and are also useful to make herbal remedies, especially tonics for liver and your overall health.
Here in the Rocky Mountain foothills, spring pulled a sneak attack. All sorts of growth erupted from the earth, which means I can get back to foraging for wild edible and medicinal plants
.In December, Morgan gifted me with a trio of useful books: The Forager's Harvest: Edible Wild Plants, Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants
, and a homemade native plant observation journal. Awww... so sweet. But I've been waiting all winter for our native plants to revive so I could actually use her gifts!
So, without further ado: Today's spotlight is on mullein!
Spotlight on Mullein
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) - also called Golden Rod, Shepherd's Staff, Cowboy Toilet Paper (awesome) and about a million other names - is from the Snapdragon family and is best known as a medicinal herb that aids coughs.
Lately, it's been kind of hard for me to fall asleep. Since I need 8 hours of sleep to be a happy, sane human, actually falling asleep is kind of important...
Time to open the herbal medicine cabinet! I based this tea recipe on a blend by a wonderful herbal apothecary in my area, and used what I had around the house. It makes a warm, relaxing sleep aid tea you can drink before bedtime.
~ 2 parts lemon balm leaf
~ 2 parts catnip flower/leaf
~ 2 parts skullcap leaf
~ 1 part lavender flowers
~ 1 part passionflower flower/leaf
+ 2 parts oatstraw (I didn't have any, but if you do use it!)