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Harvesting and Using Dandelion Roots (with Root Tea Recipes)

Dandelion roots have long history of use as food and medicine. We’ll share the best time to dig dandelion roots, tips for preserving them, and dandelion root home remedies.

Note: Never harvest dandelion roots from lawns or other areas that have been treated with herbicides or pesticides. The roots accumulate whatever has been sprayed on the soil.

pile of dandelion roots
I dug up this pile of dandelion roots while harvesting other fall root vegetables from the garden,

When Should I Harvest Dandelion Roots?

Harvest dandelion roots from late fall through early spring, when the plant is dormant and has stored up energy in the root. 

For medicinal use, most sources say fall harvest is best. In fall, the levels of inulin (insoluble fiber) are higher and the fructose levels are lower.

The freezing of winter converts the inulin to fructose, which makes spring roots more palatable for eating. Spring roots are less bitter and chewy – just make sure you dig them before the plants start to blossom. Spring roots are also higher in taraxacin, which stimulates bile production.

What’s the Best Way to Harvest Dandelion Roots?

To dig roots, use a dandelion digger or a sturdy fork.

You want to break/damage the root as little as possible so you don’t lose much sap, which is where the medicinal properties lie. Deep, rich soil will produce the thickest, easiest to harvest roots.

I always let a few dandelions go in the garden, as they are great for reaching deep into the soil to bring up nutrients. Make sure to harvest from areas that have not been sprayed/treated with anything noxious.

Select large, vigorous plants – small, spindly plants will have small roots that are not really worth harvesting. One session of garden digging produced the root in the photo at the top of the post.

How do I Dry Dandelion Roots?

For long term storage, drying roots works best. Scrub roots well before cutting.

Taraxacum officinale root
Taraxacum officinale root, cleaned and ready for use

Slice thick roots lengthwise into strips of uniform thickness to decrease drying time and encourage uniform drying.

chopped dandelion root
Cutting dandelion root into slices for drying

Use a dehydrator to dry the roots at 95°F  (35°C) until brittle.

Alternatively, spread on a screen and place in a cool, dry location with good air flow, and dry for 3 to 14 days (until brittle). Dried roots will keep for about a year.

drying dandelion roots
Drying cleaned and sliced dandelion root in the dehydrator

Don’t have time to dig or a clean spot to harvest?

You can buy clean and prepped roots, teas, and extracts online, ready to use, including:

Starwest Botanicals Organic Raw Dandelion Root Tea [1 Pound] Bulk Cut & Sifted (C/S) Loose Tea
Traditional Medicinals Tea, Organic Dandelion Leaf & Root, Supports Kidney Function & Healthy Digestion, 96 Tea Bags (6 Pack)
Herb Pharm Dandelion Alcohol-Free 1 oz Liquid
Starwest Botanicals Organic Raw Dandelion Root Tea [1 Pound] Bulk Cut & Sifted (C/S) Loose Tea
Traditional Medicinals Tea, Organic Dandelion Leaf & Root, Supports Kidney Function & Healthy Digestion, 96 Tea Bags (6 Pack)
Herb Pharm Dandelion Alcohol-Free 1 oz Liquid
Starwest Botanicals Organic Raw Dandelion Root Tea [1 Pound] Bulk Cut & Sifted (C/S) Loose Tea
Starwest Botanicals Organic Raw Dandelion Root Tea [1 Pound] Bulk Cut & Sifted (C/S) Loose Tea
Traditional Medicinals Tea, Organic Dandelion Leaf & Root, Supports Kidney Function & Healthy Digestion, 96 Tea Bags (6 Pack)
Traditional Medicinals Tea, Organic Dandelion Leaf & Root, Supports Kidney Function & Healthy Digestion, 96 Tea Bags (6 Pack)
Herb Pharm Dandelion Alcohol-Free 1 oz Liquid
Herb Pharm Dandelion Alcohol-Free 1 oz Liquid

How do I Use Dandelion Root?

You can use dandelion roots fresh for cooking and medicine, or preserve them for later use.

To cook dandelion root, you can boil or roast them. Peel roots from older plants before cooking. Younger roots are fine with a good scrub.

Bake root at 375℉ (190℃) for about 30 minutes, until fork tender. Boil roots for about 10 minutes with a pinch of baking soda in the water. Change the water and boil for 10 minutes more. Eat the cooked roots warm or chilled.

fresh dandelion root
This is a nice sized dandelion root that I harvested from my garden beds.

Medicinal Use

Dandelion root is well known as a detoxifying agent, but has also been used to treat everything from arthritis to hangovers. Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal medicine if you are on prescription medications or have a serious health condition.

In traditional medicine, dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root is used many ways, including as a:

  • Liver ally and diuretic
  • General tonic
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Digestive stimulant
  • Deobstruent (clears and opens ducts)
  • Sedative

Most scientific studies have been in vitro or animal studies. Dandelion root extracts show promise against cancerous cells, type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and more. As a diuretic, dandelion clears excess fluid, lowering blood pressure.

In “A comprehensive review of the benefits of Taraxacum officinale on human health” the authors review 54 studies. They found that the most commonly reported effects of dandelion were hepatoprotective, antioxidant and anticancer activities.

To extract the medicinal compounds from the roots, use a decoction or tincture. Decoctions are water based, while tinctures are generally alcohol based.

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Side Effects and Allergic Reactions

While rare, dandelion sap can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. As a diuretic, it may flush medicines out of your body faster. If you are allergic to plants in the daisy family, you may react to dandelion.

Do not use dandelion root if you have irritable stomach or bowel, or if you have an acute inflammation. (source)

If you suspect you have gallstones larger than 1.5 millimeters, avoid using dandelion root. You might accidentally flush the stones into the bile ductwork. There they can get stuck and cause a lot of pain.

Make a Dandelion Root Tincture

To make a tincture, place dandelion root in a jar and cover with 80 proof (40%) vodka. Cover tightly and allow to steep 4-6 weeks, shaking daily.

Strain out plant material and store in a dark glass bottle. Label and date.

dandelion leaf infusion
A dandelion leaf infusion sitting in a sunny window

Make a Dandelion Leaf Infusion

Herbal infusions are steeped for a longer time at lower temperatures, and are typically used for leaves and flowers.

To make a strong herbal infusion tea, use 1/2 ounce by weight of dried dandelion greens or one ounce by weight of fresh leaves per cup of water.

Place the ingredients in a glass canning jar. Cover with freshly boiled water. Put the lid on and steep overnight. Strain and compost solids.

For medicinal purposes, drink 3-4 cups per day. Alternatively, use a French press, or steep (covered) for at least 20 minutes before straining.

Make Dandelion Coffee (Roasted Dandelion Root Tea)

To make dandelion coffee, start with dried roots. Chop or break into small, even pieces, roughly 1/4″ across.

Spread on a roasting pan and bake in a warm oven (200°F, 93°C) for around 4 hours. Stir occasionally.

The dandelion roots should be browned and dried completely through. Cool roots completely before use or storage.

Grind and use as you would regular coffee, or place 1 heaping teaspoon of ground root in a cup of hot water, steep for 10 minutes and strain.

Store roasted roots in an airtight glass jar and grind just before use for best flavor.

Make a Dandelion Root Decoction

A decoction uses water and extra heat, and is generally used for tough materials like roots and bark.

To make a decoction, place one ounce of dried roots or two ounces fresh roots (by weight) in a pan with one pint of water.

Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and compost the spent roots.

Sip this simple healing tea to aid digestion, promote urination, and as a general tonic.

Dandelion Root Tea Recipes

Here are two recipes from Dandelion Medicine:

I’m-Sick-of-Cellulite Tea

Help your body metabolize fats and improve elimination of wastes with these cleansing herbs.

Start with 1/2 ounce each (dried), or 1 ounce each (fresh):

Cover the leaves with 1 cup boiling water. Put a lid on an steep for at least 15 minutes (you can steep longer for a stronger infusion).

Start with 1/2 ounce each (dried), or 1 ounce each (fresh):

Place the roots in a pan with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and compost the spent roots.

Combine the dandelion leaf infusion and the dandelion root decoction to make the anti-cellulate tea. You can serve tea warm or cold, with a dash of honey for sweetening. Refrigerate any leftovers and use within a few days.

Decongestant Tea

This tea helps the body to clear phlegm and open the lungs and sinuses.

Start with 1/2 ounce each (dried), or 1 ounce each (fresh):

Cover the leaves with 1 cup boiling water. Put a lid on an steep for at least 15 minutes (you can steep longer for a stronger infusion).

Place 1/2 ounce dried dandelion root or 1 ounce fresh dandelion root in a pot with one cup of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and compost the spent roots.

Combine the leaf infusion and the root decoction to make the decongestant tea. Best served warm, with a bit of honey or lemon.

I hope you’ll give this humble weed a second look. 

Harvesting and Using Dandelion Roots (with Root Tea Recipes)
Dandelion roots can be a tangled mess, making them difficult to dig intact

More Information on Dandelions and Using Wild Plants

Don’t forget to check out the other Herbs and Wildcrafting posts, too, including:

This article is for general information, and is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent illness. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice.

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  1. Very interesting article. I had some inflammation over the last week and had a dandelion salad yesterday that helped some. I think I’ll have a few more while they’re in their best season. My chickens eat our nettle before I can get to it, but I do have plenty of burdock and dandelions. My husband and I noticed we have fewer dandelions in our pasture (NW WI) this year, which we thought was odd. We’ve never sprayed because it is cut for hay. Thanks for the great info.

    1. Wild plant populations ebb and flow with the soil and weather conditions, so it may be that your pasture is changing over time, or it’s just not the best year for them. Cooking mellows out the bitterness a bit as the leaves age, but yes, the spring greens are the most palatable.

    1. Every person is different, and pills come in different dosages, and dandelion is used for many different ailments, so that’s a very open ended question. If you work with a healthcare provider/herbalist who knows your medical history, they may be able to give you an estimate of when they would expect improvement in whatever you are attempting to treat.

  2. Where can I purchase fresh not dry dandelion root? I am in Texas and the root never gets that big. I love the way they taste.

    1. I’ve never seen fresh root offered for sale, probably because most people treat them like a weed and they wilt quickly after harvest. You could try having a friend ship some from a different area, but I don’t think they would hold up well during shipping.

  3. Just wondering how concerned i should be if a neighbor two doors away from me is using heavy chemicals on his lawn. I do harvest dandelions & other herbs from my property. Should i do a soil treatment to help the soil cleanse & become healthier…. just as a preventative. Im not sure how i can test to see if the chemicals are reaching my yard. Its fairly flat here but on the wet side.I live in a swampy area. Appreciate any advise!
    Thank you…i am a huge fan of the dandelion & enjoyed all of your shared info!

    1. Without testing, it’s impossible to say if or how much anything your neighbor uses is reaching your yard.

      Some possible remediation options for protection:

      Planting deep rooted plants that you don’t intend to use as a buffer between you and the neighbor.

      Continuing to improve your soil structure by adding clean organic matter (straw, wood chips, compost, leaf mulch – nothing with herbicide or pesticide residue).

      Using bioactive surface treatments like compost tea or EM-1 Effective microorganisms to boost activity of the microbes that break down and eliminate soil toxins.

  4. Can you tell me should dandelion root extract be dark? Should it have a smell?
    Lina Alford

    1. The decoction normally uses raw or dehydrated roots, slow simmered, which allows more of the compounds from the root to infuse in the water. The roasting process for coffee may cook off some of the volatile compounds, and coffee is not typically slow simmered, so there’s less time to transfer compounds into the water.

  5. Is that first picture really a dandelion root? Where on earth did you find one that big? That’s amazing :O I’d love to have seen the plant it was attached to.

    1. I’m growing dandelions in a pot. Saved a single plant that was growing in a rose bush pot and transplanted it into its own pot. After a short time of stress (wilty leaves and such), constant watering revived it and its VERY healthy now. Popping out so many blooms/cotton balls, I’m sure my whole back yard will be full of dandelions… and it’s all gravel! :-D.

      I’m growing them for the roots mainly, but would like to know how you get the dandelions to produce those long slender leaves (like you see in stores) and not just turn into a squat green plant (like you see most in yards). It was tall and slender in the rose pot, but turned into a squat green thing in its own pot. Hmm.

      1. You’ve hit upon your own answer – those long, slender leaves result from conditions where the plant is crowded into a smaller space but other plants competing for the same space. In the yard or a pot by itself, it spreads nice, fat leaves above the grass and pot. When it has to compete with other plants (like the rose, or other close planted dandelions), the greens stretch up instead of spreading out.

  6. Want a wonderful, natural, free side dish or appetizer? Since I was a young girl my dad would pay us .25 cents a bowl for dandelion heads. Mom would batter them like chicken and deep fat fry them. I have done this since I was old enough to cook I’m 50 now. My neighbors always know if I am out picking flowers in m pajamas I’m fixen to fry dandelions lol. My sons on a Saturday morning would hear, smell or have radar not sure would come busting out of their rooms and get excited for dandelions!! One sure way to get them up early!!! Its as natural for them as having French fries. They remind me of mushrooms and my sons love them with ranch dressing!

  7. Great article, Laurie. Thank you for writing such an informative piece and updating through the years. While harvesting potatoes at our CSA, my son brought me a huge root and asked what it was. Realizing it was dandelion I decided to start collecting the roots to bring home. They have now sat for two weeks uncleaned. Would anything have been lost during this time or can they still be processed as if fresh? To date I have only consumed the leaves and flowers or purchased dandelion “tea”.

    1. Ideally it’s best to process them as soon as possible after digging. If the green are still attached, the roots will do their best to keep the greens alive, sending up nutrients out of the root. If the greens have been clipped, the roots are likely in better shape, but they will be wilted and much more difficult to clean. Might as well try working with them if you have time. Nothing to lose.

  8. Hi Laurie,

    Great article! For those of us in the north with snow in the winter, should we harvest roots in the fall as well? Right now we have lots of dandelions blooming. I’d like to pick the heads to infuse. Is this a good time to do that? Should I be leaving the roots alone? I’d like to try making the ‘coffee’.

    1. I often dig dandelion roots in fall when I’m harvesting other root vegetables. Roots are best harvested in fall or early spring before blossom time for maximum nutritional/medicinal value, but if you want to experiment with dandelion coffee now for the heck of it, we both know there will be more later to harvest at the “right” times. Pick the blossoms when they show up and use promptly, as blossom season is come and gone in a flash.

  9. Hi, i’ve just gathered a load of dandelion roots to make powder. The flowers are in full bloom (may 4th) will these be ok to ingest?


    1. It won’t hurt you to eat them, i.e., they don’t suddenly become toxic. When the plant flowers, it pulls energy and nutrients out of the root. This may the root tough, with less nutrients and lower medicinal quality.

    2. I make a powder all the time. Keep it in the fridge. Use it to clean out my liver and kidneys, I dehydrate, put in blender and make a powder. can use it for tea. Or just take a little on a teaspoon with water. Great stufff!!!!

  10. I love the little sun ball flowers of the spring. I eat the flowers raw in salad make fritters and infuse into olive oil for breast massage oil. The greens I add to salads or even grab and mouth full straight off the plant and chew while working in the yard. The roots are dried and made into a nice brew. But into a coffee? Or tea? Not so. Coffee is an actual plant not just a drink and tea is an actual plant just as dandelion is an actual plant. Really wish bloggers would get this right. So I have a nice cup of hot dandelion while hubby has a nice cup of hot coffee. Never have eaten the root tho. Think in will try this out. We don’t get to many bumblebees bees but plenty of little bees and this year we got amazing amounts of hummingbird moths all over our dandys and it was an amazing sight! Nice article.

    1. While coffee and tea are indeed specific plant species, the terms “coffee” and “tea” are now regularly used to describe beverages with similar flavor profiles, whether or not the original plants are involved. It’s not a mistake, it’s a common usage of the terms.

  11. Hi, Great reading. I’ve just made my first litre of tincture (Dandelion virgin) I will leave it for 100days and then strain out. I was wondering if it would be useful to also use dried root ground to a powder in a coffee grinder to fill capsules with or would it be a waste of time because no heat will have been applied? Does it have to be heated to be effective?

    1. As I understand it, heat or alcohol do help to make the nutrients and compounds more available, but given the large number of dandelion root capsules available for purchase, odds are you’re still getting something out of the powdered root.

  12. Unless you have another blog, you copied this article Word for Word from another person who published the same article in 2014. Is that you or is this just copied?

    1. I’d like to know who I supposedly copied it from, given that I originally wrote the post back in 2012, and updated it again in 2014 and 2017. That’s my counter top, my window, my cutting board (if you look really closely, you’ll see that it’s unusually narrow because one of the sections of wood broke off), my pink plastic bowl in the top photo that was given to me as a Christmas fruit basket from my sister, and most of all, my dandelion roots. Maybe you read a copied post previously?

      1. I’m talking content not photos. I was searhing a key term yesterday and happened upon your blog as it was first in Google results. I then went back to look at some of the other articles and noticed there was another post from 2014 from another blog that had the exact same wording. After reading your reply I highlighted one paragraph of your post and pressed “look up” on my phone. There are currently three other blogs that use this exact same wording. So somebody copied somebody. Perhaps they all copied your article from 2012? If so it’s good to know that you are still first in Google results….and this article is great btw! Apparently enough to be reprinted by others.

  13. I dig dandelions in the late autumn and fall to make dandelion coffee. I put the roots on a wire mesh and wash them clean with a domestic power washer. It will remove all the soil and debris from the roots, but use the fan instead of the jet as the jet may peel the skin off the roots. Slice them in a food processor. spread the slices on aluminium foil and put in the oven at about 100 deg. C until crisp. Remove half and continue to roast the other half at a higher temperature until chocolate brown colour.
    Mix this half with the other, light coloured half which will contain more medical qualities and grind the lot in a coffee grinder and store in a glass jar. To make a cup of coffee boil a cupful of water in a small pot and add about one teaspoonful of the coffee and continue to boil for about half a minute or so. Strain into a cup, and add milk and sugar if you like. Have as many cups of this coffee-like drink as you like as it is very good for liver, kidneys stomach, and much more.

  14. I was wondering just how much dehydrated roots to take on a daily basis. I usually take about a teaspoon, more or less a couple of times a day. I usually do this for a couple of days, go a week or more. Am I taking enough? Thanks for any information you can help me with…. linda

    1. If you have a specific health condition that you are trying to address with dandelion, you should work directly with a trained herbalist to determine the proper dosage, or try adjusting your dosage incrementally and see how you feel.

  15. hi,
    Thank you for the great information. In our area of California, there is a ton of what we call dandelions, their leaves are fuzzy, not thorny, just a bit more leathery than the classic dandelion described in many herb books, is it still ok to harvest for flowers and roots?

    1. It would be best to get a confirmed identification before using the plant. You should be able to take a sample into your local cooperative extension office for an ID.

  16. Hi, I’m interested in using dandelion root to help treat my daughters leukemia. It sounds like many people make teas and I’m wondering if cooking the root destroys any of the medicinal properties? Also I read somewhere that the dried root can be pulverized and put into water to drink. Any thought?

    1. Roots tend to have constituents that can only be extracted using heat. It would be safest if you worked directly with a local herbalist so they could help you develop a full treatment protocol.

  17. What is the difference between dandelions who’s leaves are smooth and dandelions that appear to have really thorny leaves and less flowers?

  18. Pick the tiny dandelion buds while still firmly closed and toss them into your soups. They are quite tasty.
    When dandelion leaves get too large and start to turn bitter, simply cover the plant with a piece of cardboard or something to keep the sun off for around 4 days. When the leaves turn a pale greenish-yellow, you will find them quite tender and sweeter again without the bitterness.
    You can pick newer leaves all season for salads without doing the blanching with a cover trick….
    Simply by picking out the newer leaves while leaving the whole plant, it will encourage the plant to keep putting up new leaves.

  19. I tried Dandelion tea for the first time this morning and my blood pressure dropped from 153/89 to 136/69 in about an hour. Instead of composting the leaves and roots I ate them with my Ramen noodles and egg. I’m hooked; no more aspirin for me. Will dry plenty for winter months.

    1. That’s what I wanted to know! I did a search for “can you eat rehydrated dandelion leaves” since I bought a huge bag of dried leaves from Frontier. I have eaten fresh leaves that were steamed or sautéed. I just didn’t know whether you could eat the reconstituted version. Other places say make tea and compost the used leaves.
      My search landed me on this webpage which obviously didn’t address the query, but it looks like this comment answers it. Thank you.

      1. This post was focused on the roots, but it’s absolutely safe for you to eat rehydrated dandelion leaves, just like any other edible green. The texture isn’t like fresh greens, but if you use them like Roy as a “mix in” to other dishes, they work just fine.

    1. You can, but they don’t taste very good. They are quite bitter. Some people shred them and ferment them with cabbage in sauerkraut, too. Of course, if you really like bitter food, you could try and grate some and sprinkle them on a salad.

      1. We usually put dandelion roots in our morning smoothie. Tastes fine to us. I’ve been trying to make sure it’s OK to eat the roots raw, but until now have never been able to find the answer. I assume if there were any problem (other than some people not liking taste of raw dandelion root), u would mention it?

  20. Hi Laurie,

    Good day to you.

    Please advise me with my questions below. Thank you.
    May i know, what is the average numbers of flower in a single dandelion ?
    What can we do with he flowers ? Are there any ways to preserve them ?


    1. You can dry the flower petals and leaves for later use. Flowers can also be infused in oil to make a dandelion salve base, or used to make dandelion wine.

      Oh – and the number of flowers varies by the size of the plant and growing conditions. There is no “average” that I am aware of.

  21. Thanks for sharing such great information! What are your thoughts on using dandelion infused oils using the flowers? Would using the roots be more effective? What applications would you suggest? Please reply and Thank you so much!

    1. Different parts of the plant store up more of certain compounds, but the entire plant is useful and edible (maybe not so tasty at times, but edible). I know the flower infused oil/salve has been used to treat sore muscles, dry skin, arthritis and joint pain relief and more.

  22. A local restaurant, Kismet (Montpelier, VT) makes a delicious dandelion latte with milk (cow’s or soy, your choice) and maple syrup. It’s wonderful. I’ve made my own by digging roots, scrubbing them, roasting them whole until dark brown, and then grinding in a coffee grinder. I use the ground roots just like ground coffee. You can also do this with chicory roots. Thanks for the great information– we have a huge field of dandelions near our house and I’m looking forward to making your dandelion wine!

    1. And for those who don’t have their own stock of dandelions or chicory, Frontier sells bulk bags of both, ground and roasted. I think I’m going to miss dandelion wine season again, as we’re rather behind in the garden due to all the permaculture plantings this year.

  23. Hi! I have been wanting to purchase a dehydrator for some time now, to dry medicinal herbs and make homemade dried fruit. I’m on a very tight budget, due to major health problems and several surgeries. Could you please suggest a model that’s not too expensive, but will work well for my needs? I’ve read that it’s possible to dry herbs and fruit in the oven at a low temp, but I’m concerned about needing to have the oven on for an extended period of time (with little ones running about) in order to dry everything correctly.

    Thank you ahead of time for your help! Have a lovely weekend!

    Tracy Spangler

    1. I bought my no frills 4 tray Nesco Snackmaster Dehydrator (pictured in the post) over 15 years ago, and it’s still going strong. Over the years I added two trays , mesh inserts and additional fruit leather inserts. A couple of years ago I bought an Excalibur 9 tray because the Nesco was making weird noises, but whatever was causing the noise must have come unstuck, because now it’s running fine again. Now I use the Excalibur for big jobs and the Nesco for smaller jobs. The current Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Express 4-Tray Food Dehydrator is only $58.42 and qualifies for Prime shipping.

  24. I planning on making some dandelion tea/coffee. Last year I spot sprayed dandelions in this area of my yard. Would this years dandelions be ok to use for making a drink?

  25. Lovely article on harvesting and using dandelion roots! I received a lovely gift bag with chocolate in various forms, plus a recipe (& ingredients!) for dandelion cocoa!
    3 Tbsp roasted dandelion root
    2 Tbsp cacao nibs
    1 Tbsp cinnamon chips
    1/2 ” sliced fresh ginger
    decoct (30 minutes) in 3 cups water
    for a cup: 2 Tbsp coconut (or other) milk
    Garam Masala or other herb blend
    bit of vanilla
    honey to taste

  26. I’m interested in harvesting dandelions from our lawn. We used a lawn service a few years ago. How many seasons would you say a lawn needs to be “chemical free” before it is clear for harvest, or is it ever?

    1. Organic certification requires three years, but it’s hard to say exactly how long certain chemicals may persist. As strange as it might sound, you may want to consider dosing your lawn with some version of effective microorganisms, which effectively act somewhat like probiotics for plants. This will speed the growth of healthy bacteria and other soil “good guys”, which help break down and eliminate the “bad stuff”. You can read more about creating healthy soil in :

  27. You mention that they shouldn’t be harvested after they bloom. Is this just for flavour or are the medicinal properties reduced? Would like to harvest but mine are almost all in flower. Also we rarely get a freeze, never had one this year, would this mean that they would be the same or more similar to autumn roots. Thank you for a great article!

    1. Once they’ve gone to flower, most of the mojo has left the roots. They use up their sugar and nutrient stores to produce those bright yellow bumblebee magnets, and roots at this point will be woody and lower in medicinal value. Even without a hard freeze, the plants still go through their annual cycles, pushing nutrients up during flowering time, and packing them into the roots heading into dormancy. Without the hard freeze, spring roots would not be as sweet, but the medicinal value is still there – before they start putting up flower stalks. You could make dandelion wine with the blossoms: 🙂

  28. Dandelion is my favorite herb! I roast the roots for a hot drink that’s better than coffee – and I love coffee! After washing well, I chop them in a food processor before drying. Once dry, spread them out in a roasting pan and roast in a 300 degree oven until quite dark, which can take awhile depending on the thickness of the layer. (I keep it less than a 1/2 inch thick) Be sure to stir occasionally. Simmer about a tablespoon to 2c water for 10 minutes or so. Adjust to taste. Serve with a bit of stevia and milk (or a nut milk)
    May I mention also that it’s thought that herbs grow where they are needed. As dandelion is a good liver purifier, is it any wonder is grows so profusely in this country? And may I suggest when harvesting the roots, do so with love, intent and gratitude. When I do that, they release their grip in the ground and come out whole when pulled by hand, as if they are giving a gift to me. Which they are…

  29. My Mother used to dig up dandelion plants every year to make for us to eat. she would cook the leaf’s and drain them then she would take fried bacon and cut up hard boiled egg’s she would put them in a pot together. Then she would mix sugar and vinegar together and pour it over the dandelion it was very good. She also took the dandelion flower and she would wash them and then take and dip in egg’s and flour and fry them they are so good. My Mother was a good cook.

    1. That’s how my grandma would cook them in the spring too. She said that you had to eat five messes of dandelion leaves before it flowered. It was wonderful. Never heard of flowers being breaded and fried. I can’t wait to try it.

  30. During ww2 my uncle roasted the roots to make a coffee substitute. As I was a child I have no idea how it tasted.

  31. Thanks for this. I also have a homesteading type blog where I present our adventures as outlier suburban farmers here in North Texas, growing seasonal veggies and a wide selection of medicinal herbs.

    I have a bed dedicated to dandelions, and I’ve been tincturing leaves and roots all season. But now that we’ve had a couple of deep freezes, I was wondering whether to continue to harvest my 2+ year old roots, or wait til Spring.

    I get the sense that I’m best waiting til early Spring to maximize medicinal content.

    Thanks again and I’ll be a frequent visitor to your wonderful blog.

    1. Hmmm…as I understood it, fall is better for medicinal properties, because the plant has stored up “the good stuff” for winter, while flavor was better in spring because of the additional starches converted to sugars by the freeze thaw cycle. I know The Practical Herbalist mentions fall digging for medicine:

      I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make, though. I’m sure all are good when grown in reasonably healthy soil.

    2. Somehow I trust the wisdom of nature. True the root changes with the seasons, however people’s needs do too. Perhaps we need spring roots in the spring and fall roots in the fall.

  32. I am thinking of investing in another dehydrator and am wondering what brand is yours, where you got it and what ‘extra’ pieces did you purchase with it, and most importantly given the chance what one would you purchase? Same one or a different one? (Right now we are doing apples with cinnamon and the whole house smells like apple pie!) Thanks for your time in doing all you do. Love the web site and ‘like’ you on FB!

    1. The one in the photos is an American Harvest Snackmaster, and it has been a good workhorse for many years. I bought extra trays, and mesh inserts, and extra fruit leather trays. I bought it at the local hardware store (FleetFarm).

      Recently, I bought a nine tray Excalibur, along with fruit leather sheets, from (free shipping). It dries foods faster and holds more, and you can culture yogurt in it in mason jars. If I had to only choose one and had the budget for it, it would be the Excalibur.

      1. Love my Excalibur… I have 2 of them. Don’t know what I would do without them. Then I have a couple of smaller round one. Sometimes I have all 4 going at one time…..

  33. I’m hoping to dig a few fresh roots here as soon as the first hard frost comes through. Fresh works best for tinctures, according to Susun Weed. She (and most other herbalists I’ve read info from) suggest 80-100 proof vodka or alcohol. 40 proof is only 20% alcohol, not enough to draw out the medicinal properties.

      1. As mentioned in the description for the “I’m sick of cellulite tea”, dandelion and other herbs may help your body metabolize fats and improve elimination of wastes, which can lead to weight loss. Typically medicinal doses for teas are 3-5 cups per day. Tinctures (steeping the herbs in alcohol) may be used in small amounts as a daily tonic. Some herbalists strain after 4-6 weeks, some let the herbs remain in the alcohol and draw off what is needed. There are many schools of thought on how to use herbs, and each person responds differently.

  34. I love reading about ways to supplement food with wild plants….. I am encouraging my scouting friends to try wild plants as a survival plan… I enjoyed your review and will keep looking into bettering my knowledge on the subject… I already eat dandalion leafs in salads….they are very tasty …. Keep up the great reviews…..

  35. I love reading everything on your site! Could you please tell me the difference in infuse and decoct? I’m interested in trying those for decongestion and cellulite tea…. but am not familiar with the terminology, so I’m not sure how to go about it.

    1. Beth, I’ve highlighted the start of the decoction and infusion instructions in the post. A decoction requires boiling, and is used for tougher materials such as roots, whereas an infusion uses boiling water poured over the material (basically tea).

  36. I love the post on dandelions. This spring, once the young leaves and first flowers were picked, I just let the plants get mowed with the rest of the lawn. We don’t have a specific spot for them, per se. Keeping the uses in mind, I am going to leave a patch for fall harvest, too. Thank you for sharing these tips and for hosting this link-up!

      1. As a huge Dandelion fan my whole life, I have hunted down the sweet weeds that tend to grow in remote place and off the beat places.
        I have noticed that the inner city dandelions have been wiped out! They are still growing here and there, smaller and weaker from the assault on them by big phama and weed killer for too long now.
        Finding and bring home the large rooted and very mature plants to my home garden has been a wonderful experience for us here in Oregon.
        Remember the ” Rolling Stones ” song ” Dandelions will make you wise, tell no lies.
        The world around us wants them dead.
        Shows the real power that this weed has.
        Uses are many and benefits are profound and long lasting.
        I have more respect for the Dandelion. then the Rose!

          1. Jari, thanks for insights into dandelion harvesting and use. Yes, Pharma does not have my best interests in mind, root herbals seem to be the safest and sacred of all medicines.
            Warren Schaich

        1. big pharma wants to get rid of anything that they can’t make money off of. dandelions are a super plant.. that is why it’s so hard to get rid of them. they are wonderful for soooo many things and they are mother natures creation. big pharma only cares about you being sick so they can make you buy pills. if we all used what the planet has provided for us from the beginning of time, big pharma would be no more. THEY are the ones that pay scientists to post studies that dismiss or even demonize mother nature. they are evil. mother nature gives us all that we need to be healthy and thrive.

        2. It’s wonderful to know that you can cure so many serious illnesses for free with that simple little plant growing wild everywhere including one’s own garden. Sometimes I see people in their garden killing these plants with Roundup or similar and it’s so sad because these same people go to their doctor ( or vet ) and get prescribed dangerous drugs to line the pockets of big Pharma. Just like weedkillers line big Pharma’s pockets. And yet these people are ignorant of Nature’s gifts all around them that can help them, they choose to kill them instead. So sad !!!

          1. I have actually found the “government research papers” contain supporting evidence that the Industry who upon receiving this research, tailor it to Fit Their Means, to pick and choose what to share with us and proceed to add on words of anthropomorphism, thus manipulating our subconscious Emotionally, and thus proceeding to create an Environment of FEAR/False Evidence Appearing Real. resulting in getting us to set our sights on seeing only half the picture of what Actually is occurring, and calling the other half of creation a Disease.

            The Research language from the Source [the gov.] to us, the Receiver, is being manipulated by the medium in-between ….{i.e. The Industry.}
            under the words we all love to hear “We Care for you”
            Upon reading and comparing research papers of the Gov, to those formulated by the Industry will show you exactly what I am referring to. Anthropomorphism has no place when describing actions/ reactions occurring within the body.

            Microbes ADAPT to their Environment, They do not Invade, Attack or Steal, and Hijack their Host. Since they live within us, that makes us their environment and therefore they are Adapting to each Individual’s frequency matrix. [i.e. Energy field/Aura].