Dandelions; the Sun and the Moon... and Jupiter
One of my favorite plants is Dandelion. If I could have only one plant in my garden, Dandelion would be the one. As I continue to study plants (a lifelong endeavor depending how far down the rabbit hole one wants to go......), I'm intrigued by the correlations earlier herbalists made between the plants and astrology and relating them to a person's astrological chart as well as thinking about optimal times to use plants or harvest them.
There are herbalists today using astrology in relation to plants, such as Matthew Wood and Sajah Popham, whose course I covet taking some day. In the meantime, he has some interesting videos on You Tube, check them out .
Looking at the Dandelion, out growing in the full sun, with it's sunny yellow flowers, I would first say it's ruled by the sun, but the other day it was talking to me about its relationship with the moon (white ball of seeds, almost glowing in the dark).... It's interesting that the plant embodies these opposite qualities, a reminder to look beyond the most obvious uses of an herb.
It does have an affinity for the breasts¹.....if I think about its actions on the body, it's bitter and stimulates the gall bladder and liver, and it's alterative, more of a Jupiter action, but it also is diuretic and affects the kidneys, which is a Venus type action, and acts on damp, overly relaxed tissues.....however, it acts by stimulation, moving stagnation which is more Jupiterian, expansive..... overall, I'm feeling like it's a Jupiter plant, which being the largest planet, is big enough to include some of the properties of all the other planets.
In general dandelion leaves are used as a tea for the diuretic action and contain potassium, offsetting the potassium loss that occurs when the body is stimulated to urinate more, the root is used in spring and summer as a nourishing building tonic and in the fall and winter for it's alterative action. All parts of it contain minerals as it's tap root pulls minerals up from deep in the ground. ( which is why it's good to leave some in the garden, the roots pull the minerals up and the decomposing leaves make them available on the surface to other plants) It's bitter taste stimulates the pathway of the Vagus nerve², stimulating the production of bile in the gall bladder and aiding digestion. I believe many of the food intolerances people have these days are due to poor digestive function because people don't eat enough bitter and fermented foods, as our ancestors would have, which help to break down our food and make the nutrients bio-available.
It's also a great culinary plant, whose nutrition hasn't much been dumbed down by breeding as so many of our vegetables have been these days. The whole plant is edible. The flower buds can be pickled and used like capers. One of my favorites is flower fritters, but almost anything battered and fried is tasty! Oh, and dandelion wine from the flowers!
Here's a recipe:
Dandy Veloute over Polenta
6 large carrots, chopped into large bits
1 large russet potato, chopped into large bits
1 tbs. lemon juice
5 bay leaves
rest of can of coconut milk after dividing, see Dandy Veloute
3 tbsp. coconut oil
salt to taste
shells from 1 lb of shrimp
1/2 cup white wine
6-7 cups of water, you want to end up with 6 cups after simmering.
or just use 6 cups of broth of choice
5 loosely chopped cups of dandelion leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup broth
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
2 cups dry polenta
5 cups broth, 1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
For the carrot puree cloud: in steamer pan add water and 5 bay leaves to bottom. Steam carrots and potatoes until tender. Add them and the rest of the cloud ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Put into a holding container, try not to devour it while making the other parts of the recipe.
For the broth: simmer the shrimp shells white wine and water for about 1/2 hour. Strain out the shells.
For the Veloute: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Sautee the onions until they soften but do not brown. Add the white wine, then 1 cup of the broth and simmer for 10 minutes. Put them in the blender along with the dandelions and coconut milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside or in a pot on the stove on low until polenta is ready.
For the polenta: Put the dry polenta into a large saucepan. Add the broth and water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer until softened and thick. Stir occassionally to prevent burning on the bottom.
I sauteed a thinly sliced tomato and about a 1/4 onion in olive oil as a flavorful garnish to put on top. (optional)
Once all parts of recipe are ready: spoon polenta into a serving bowl; put a tablespoon of butter or butter sub on top. (optional, but yummy) Spoon carrot cloud over polenta. Spoon Dandy Veloute on top. Top with garnish if using.
I think Dandelions are my most photographed plants, lol, I love them so.....