For another entry for my Wortcunning series is the Dandelion.
Dandelion (Taraxacum) is also known as Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Piss-a-Bed, Priest’s Crown, Puffball, Swine Snout, White Endive, and Wild Endive. The common name is French for “lion’s tooth.”
The dandelion is a flowering plant in the Asteraceae family. It is native to Eurasia and North and South America. Two species of dandelion, T. officinale and T. erythrospernum, are found worldwide and both are edible in their entirety.
From Culpeper: “It is well known to have many long and deep gashed leaves lying on the ground round about the heads of the roots; the ends of each gash or jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots; the middle rib being white, which being broken yieldeth abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more; from among the leaves, which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points, and nicked in with deep spots of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flowers stood turns itself down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long reddish seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growing downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again, and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.”
Medically the dandelion is used as an allergenic, antibacterial, antidote, antiinflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, bitter, choleretic, detoxicant, degestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, laxative, stimulant, and tonic to name a few.
It can be used to treat abscesses, alcoholism, anemia, anorexia, backache, bacteria, bladder stone, boils, bruises, cancer, congestion, coughs, cramps, diabetes, dysentery, fever, flu, gas, gallstone, eczema, heartburn, inflammation, infection, kidney stones, neurosis, obesity, pneumonia, rheumatism, sores, stomachache, swelling, toothache, tuberculosis, tumors, ulcers, vomiting, wart, water retention, and yeast.
The root can be dried, roasted, and ground like coffee and made into a tea. *Caution should be taken as dandelion is high in potassium. *
Used for divination, wishes, calling spirits, psychic powers. Burying dandelion in the NW corner of the house will bring good favor.
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs Second Edition by James A. Duke