Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks. Buffalo Bill and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Calendula and dandelion. <<– It’s not uncommon for notable pairs to run in families. Sometimes the resemblance is obvious – for example, Clint Eastwood and John Wayne are related – but sometimes it’s not . . . at least at first.
Although they both belong to the Asteraceae family, calendula is more well-known for its skincare benefits while dandelion is better known for its detoxification, digestive, and hormone balancing benefits.
I call this homemade calendula salve my #allthethings balm because it can be used as a face moisturizer, chapped-lip balm, baby bottom balm, owie salve, burn salve, bug bite balm, and more. But actually, dandelion also contains compounds that nourish and hydrate – making it perfect for a healing balm – and best of all dandelions can be found during the spring and summer just about everywhere . . . for FREE.
Benefits of Dandelion for Skin
Gathering dandelions is a perfect way to introduce kids to the joy of wildcrafting, or to experience it firsthand for the first time. In addition to their culinary uses (topping salads, making infused vinegars, etc), they also have properties that make them ideal for skincare.
Yep, these sunny yellow flowers are full of anti-inflammatory antioxidants, polyphenols, flavonoids and minerals that support and protect your cells, soothe skin irritations and nourish dry skin. (Ganora)
For example, this study found that both dandelion flower and leaf extracts protect against UVB-related photoaging and senescence (aging at the cellular level).
5 Ways To Use Dandelion Oil
Dandelion blossoms can be used as:
- First aid – For cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, bug bites and other minor skin irritations.
- Face and lip care – Infused dandelion oil is becoming more popular in skincare products, and can be used as a facial oil or in place of regular olive oil in this lip balm recipe.
- Diaper rash – I like to apply the oil – or a salve made from it, which I will be showing you how to make below – and then sprinkle some bentonite clay over the area.
- Dry or chapped skin – Dandelion oil is often used in gardening salves for this reason
- Sore muscle rub (If you want to include essential oils in a dandelion salve , black pepper, copiaba, and lavender are good choices for relaxing muscles)
Wondering if dandelion oil or dandelion salve is best for you? The main difference between the two is that dandelion oil is a liquid, while the salve is semi-solid and therefore easier to carry in a purse or diaper bag.
How To Make Dandelion Oil
- 2 cups freshly picked dandelion blossoms
- 1 cup carrier oil – I use a 50/50 blend of jojoba oil and olive oil, but you could also use another oil such as avocado, apricot kernel, or tamanu
- Slow cooker with “warm” setting
- Turkey baster (optional)
On a dry, sunny day, pick 2 cups of dandelion blossoms (just the flower part – leave the stem and roots behind) from an area that has not been sprayed with pesticides. Lay dandelion blossoms on a clean towel for 12-24 hours to dry out. They may still have a little moisture after the drying period, which is why we’ll be using low heat to evaporate out any remaining water.
Once the dandelion blossoms have dried, place them in a 12 ounce clean jar and cover with a carrier oil. I used a 50/50 blend of jojoba oil and olive oil to make this year’s batch, but you could also use another oil such as avocado, apricot kernel, or tamanu. Make sure the blossoms are fully covered.
Cover the jar with a piece of cloth (like cheesecloth or a cut-up t-shirt) or a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band.
Place a kitchen towel in the bottom of your slow cooker and place your jars inside. Add enough water to cover about half the jar and set to the lowest setting (warm) for 12-24 hours, leaving the top uncovered. If you leave it on for 24 hours, you may want to check the water level about halfway through and replenish if needed.
After the 12-24 hour period, you can allow the blossoms to continue to infuse for up to a week, or you can strain the oil and use it right away. When you’re ready, strain the oil through cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve and let the oil sit for several hours. If there is any water in the oil (from the dandelion blossoms) it will collect in the bottom of the jar.
If you have a turkey baster, use it to siphon the infused oil off the top, leaving the water behind. If you don’t have a turkey baster, carefully pour the oil off the top. Your dandelion oil is now ready to be used or made into a healing salve.
Store in a cool area for up to 12 months. (I store mine in the fridge.)
According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, dandelion is a Safety Class 1A herb – the safest rating possible. There are no known contraindications for pregnancy, nursing, or use with children.
As always, please check with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy.
Sources for this article:
Ancestry.com. Tom Hanks Reveals Lincoln Connection. Retrieved from https://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/tom-hanks-reveals-lincoln-connection/
RootsWeb. The Ancestry of Overmire Tifft Richardson Bradford Reed. Retrieved from https://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?db=glencoe&id=I45&op=GET
Geni. Jonathan C. Parsons Ancestry. https://www.geni.com/people/Jonathan-Parsons/6000000003513610647
Ganora, Lisa. (2009) Herbal Constituents: Foundations of Phytochemistry
Michalun. M Varinia. (2014) Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary 4th Edition