Tag Archives: Herbal Tea

Dandelion, an herb or a weed?

This little distinct yellow flower (dandelion, taraxacum officinale) with its tooth shape leaves is usually consider a pest, a weed, a nuisance, but in the herb world, it is considered an herb.  Dandelion has a flat daisy like bright yellow flower with bright green leaves and a huge, fleshly taproot.

When you want to take a picture of dandelion don’t wait until after the lawn is mowed, which is what I did, so I had to find a part of my garden that needed weeding.

History: In the 7th century it was mentioned in Chinese herbals and in Europe it appeared in the 15th century when a surgeon compared the leaves to the teeth of a lion and coin the name of the plant which came from French dents de lion. In the 16th century, dandelion was known as Herba urinaria because of the strong diuretic effect.

Dandelion was brought to the new world by the early colonists. Some of the common names include fairy clock, blowball, piss-a-bed, lion’s teeth, priest crown, puffball, white endive and swine snout. According to some experts, dandelion was the first green food Adam ate, after he was banished from the Garden of Eden.

When you were a kid you properly blew the round seed heads to watch the seeds fly, which is one of the reason dandelion is so prevalent. Believe it or not but some people actually grow dandelion in their garden as an herb and salad green. The whole plant can be used from the flower to the root.

Growing: Dandelion grows in cool to warm climates and like rainfall with full sun. If you look around you and find the plant it usually grows in any kind of soil, but the better the soil the less bitter the leaves of the herb. In the early spring dandelion is more prevalent than in the hot sun.

The roots will grow extremely deep and if you allow the seed heads to develop they can become an invasive weed.

Harvest: Fresh spring leaves can be picked when they first start to grow and are young. The older the leaves the taste can become very bitter. To help reduce the bitter taste, soak the leaves in water mixed with salt, or sauté the leaves in oil. The leaves are better fresh rather than dried.

The roots can be dug up and roasted or dried to use in a variety of ways. For lasting freshness store the roots in the freezer like you would fresh coffee.

To make the dandelion “coffee”: Use either dandelion or chicory root. Wash the root carefully, try not to damage the roots, and spread out on a large cookie sheet and place in the oven at 180 to 200 degrees F. for up to four hours. Turn the roots to ensure even and consistent drying. When the roots are completely dry and cool, store them and grind fresh each time you make a cup of “coffee”.  Some like to mix half and half, half coffee and half dandelion roots. One level teaspoon per cup.

As a Dye: The whole plant will dye wool a magenta color and the flowers can be used to make yellow.

Culinary: Add the spring leaves to garden salads and smoothies for cleansing and for diuretic action. The roots which are cleaned, chopped and roasted until dark brown, are ground and used as a healthy caffeine-free coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee has the opposite effect of caffeine coffee. Use the flowers in jelly, beer and homemade wine. Try adding dandelion greens when cooking green beans.

Medicinal: As an herbal medicine, dandelion root has been held in high esteem in Europe for centuries. Folklore has using the sticky white sap of the dandelion to remove warts. Dandelion root coffee is known to help with sleep and is good tonic for the kidneys and liver. It is considered cool, bitter, and sweet. Dandelion contains vitamins A, B, C, D, potassium salts, iron, thiamine, niacin, calcium, sodium, pectin and carotenoids.

The roots will promote bile flow and is mildly laxative. As a diuretic, the leaves are high in potassium. Because of this potassium content it is said to be good tonic for the heart as well. The whole herb is used to clear heat and toxins from the blood and used for boils and abscesses.

The root can be made into a tincture or a decoction. Dandelion helps to remove poisons from the body and is known to be good for diabetics and for someone suffering from anemia. It is considered a natural spring tonic for the liver and gallbladder. Dandelion is considered a good blood cleanser and especially in cases of skin diseases. Dandelion makes a good digestive tonic for constipation.

When searching for medicinal recipes using dandelion, many of the recipes will include other herbs. A blood builder recipe mixes equal parts each of dried comfrey, fenugreek seed, along with dandelion. Dandelion sleep remedy contained equal parts of dandelion root, chamomile, and valerian.

For the above recipes, steep one heaping teaspoon of herbs per cup of boiling water for 10-20 minutes, strain and drink with lemon and honey.

So is dandelion an herb or a weed, well it depends on what you plan on using it for. If you want the perfect lawn, then dandelion is a weed, if you want to improve your health by making tinctures, dandelion teas, adding to salads, making jelly or many of the other uses culinary and medicinal then dandelion is an herb.


Dandelion herb or weed?

Why I haven’t been blogging

To all my friends reading my blog, I apologized I haven’t been blogging in several days. It is not my intention to go so long between blogs. We had a big family reunion on Memorial Day which kept me busy as well as working in my garden.

I have included some pictures of my garden. As my garden changes and things start growing, I will keep you up to date.


Hosta’s gardens

These hostas I want to move because they really get too much sun, I want to plant more herbs in this area.


My newest garden

This is just above the hostas and to the right and is my newest garden. I want to move my thyme here and allow it to hang over the retaining wall.

Day lilly bed

My oldest garden

This is my oldest garden and I have planted lots of different herbs in this bed, some reason I have trouble growing. In front you can see sage and the yellow is yarrow. To the right of the rock is oregano. The plants in the middle are daylillies.

Mint bed

Mint bed

I like to plant mint all by itself so it can be mowed around and will not spread in the garden. I put the brick around the mint because, last year it was attacked by the weed eater. My weed eater uses thought it was a weed. Mints will mixed in flavor so it is better to plant one kind.


chocolate mint

Chocolate mint

Here is another example of mint in a bed by itself.

raised beds

Raised beds with vegetables

This is a picture of two of my raised beds with vegetables. The one on the left has beets and onions and the one on the right has potatoes and peanuts.

vegetable gardem

vegetable garden

This is the vegetable garden with grapes in the background. The large black pots will have plants good for companion planting.



What is any garden without tomatoes. This tomatoes is planted near onions as companions.

beets and onions

closeup of beets and onions

I hope you have enjoyed a tour of part of my garden. This is not all.

I have a garden tour plan soon, and need to get most of the weeds out of the garden. I tell everyone I grow fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and weeds.

Stick with me because I plan on several new blogs. I want to teach you how to make your own herb remedies from making a cup of tea to tinctures.

Crafts will include leaf printing, paper making, potpourris and perfumes. Lots of new recipes for using herbs in your cooking.

Other things I have planed include making all types of cosmetics and cleaners for your home as well as ideas for using herbs in your home.

One of my latest passions besides herbs is art printing on fabric and I want to try and use some of these ideas on my homemade paper. I won’t know if they work until I try some of the ideas I have been reading about.

I will teach you how to dry and freeze your herbs and what the herbs are good for and what to watch out for.

Medicinal subjects will include herbs to slow down aging, herbs good for indigestion and all kinds of everyday ailments. We will talk about food allergies and herbs to take to help with inflammation which can cause pain. For example, I heard the other day on the Dr. OZ show, that almond milk, Swiss chard, and tart cherries for anti-inflammatory. There are herbs that can be used for this as well.

If anyone wants to learn something special just leave a comment and I will try and research the subject. Sharon



Herbal Teas

Herbal teas made from flowers, leaves and roots was at one time, one of the most consumed beverages other than water since ancient times.

Herbal teas do not contain caffeine and in most cases offer additional benefits. When an herb tea is used for medical purposes, it often taste bitter and will will avoid it at all costs.

Pleasant tasting herbs can be added to the tea to improve the taste and in most cases it will add to  the health benefits. Raspberry leaves and peppermint leaves will improve the taste of most teas and add health benefits as well.

Basic Tea Recipe: Warm the tea pot by adding boiling water and rinse the pot. Place herbs in the teapot and pour almost boiling water over the herbs and let it steep for three to five minutes. In most cases one to two teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water. Covering the teas as it brews is important because it holds in the valuable properties of the steam especially if it is for medicinal purposes. Covering the tea will also help the flavor of the tea along with adding honey or stevia.

Just a note these tea combinations are not meant as medical advice just the traditional uses of the herbs.

Some examples of herbs used in tea:

  • Chamomile: use to calm the nerves and help with sleeping
  • Peppermint tea is used as a pick-me-up and for stomach disorders
  • Borage tea is used in tonics
  • Yarrow tea is used to reduce fevers and as a digestive tonic
  • Lady’s Mantle is used for gastroenteritis and diarrhea
  • Marshmallow is used for bronchial and urinary disorders.
  • Hibiscus is thought to help with blood pressure

Tea Recipes:

Get You Going  Morning Herb Tea

  • 1 oz. dried crushed rose-hips
  • 1 oz. dried hibiscus
  • 1/2 oz. dried lemon balm
  • 1/2 oz. dried peppermint
  • 1/4 oz. dried borage flowers

Tea to sooth the Tummy

  • 1 oz. dried peppermint
  • 1/2 oz. Lady’s mantle
  • 1/2 oz. dried lemon verbena
  • a few fennel seeds
  • 1/4 oz. dried rose petals

Hibiscus Blend Tea

  • 4 tsp. hibiscus flowers
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 tsp. spearmint leaves
  • 1 half stick cinnamon
  • 1 half vanilla beanBring 4 cups of water to almost boiling and pour over herbs and steep for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or Stevia. Serve hot or cold.

Water plays an important role in making tea. It extracts the properties of the herbs and is a carrier of the dissolved chemical ingredients found in the herbs. Water will also help the body to flush out unwanted toxins in the body. When drinking tea for medicinal purposes, it is recommended to sip the tea every 10-15 minutes throughout the day. Make enough tea to last the day.

It is best to use stainless steel or glass when making tea. Avoid aluminum pots.

Growing your own herbs and drying them for teas is a great way to enjoy them all year long. One of the questions I am asked almost every time I give a talk is what do I do with my herbs? My answer is, you don’t have to do anything with them, they look and smell wonderful in the garden. We can enjoy them just as they are. My second answer is dry your herbs for tea, it is one of  the easiest way to use your herbs. Make sure you know what herbs you have in the garden and which are safe to use in teas.

Happy Herb Gardening