Springtime brings an abundance of flowers back to the soil. Amongst the lilacs and primroses is an unassuming bud that many mistakes to be a simple weed. Dandelions stand as a powerful symbol of faithfulness and love, and throughout centuries it has littered our gardens and parks with promises of a bright and floral springtime.
Dandelions and Symbolism
Like all flowers, dandelions possess many symbolic qualities. Beyond the obvious meaning of transformation, as shown through a dandelion’s shift from full yellow petals to the feather-like puffballs they become, is an emphasis on intelligence, heat, and healing. Sending someone a dandelion bouquet shows you value their emotional intelligence. Harvesting dandelions and decorating your house with them may imply a wish to heal or be healed. Dandelion leaves and flowers are edible and healthy when prepared correctly, increasing their symbolism by tenfold.
Dandelions can preserve through anything. Thus, perseverance in the face of adversity is another part of the dandelion’s image. It gives inspiration to those witnessing it growing despite what may surround it. Like its namesake, the lion, a dandelion, will rise daily and push through whatever life throws at it. Thus, it is a flower of great courage and renown.
There are many well-known traditions that feature dandelions. Among the most famous, of course, is the tradition of making wishes with dandelion puffs. No one knows why people use dandelions for wishes, but the tradition persists. It could be a byproduct of another tradition that dictates that if you blow off all the seeds in one breath, your desired person truly loves you back. Plucking one petal after another while reciting the chant “he loves me, he loves me not” is a popular fate-based love tradition that continues to appear in television, stories, and real life to this day.
Most of these traditions are said to be from the Celts or French, though it is impossible to pinpoint an exact origin. In the end, though, origin doesn’t matter so long as a tradition persists, right? And for years to come, children will blow away the dandelion seeds, and lovesick individuals will pluck away the yellow petals, hoping for a joyous outcome.
Uses for Dandelions
When times are tough, people often turn to what is growing around them to sate the hunger urges or illnesses which may plague them. The dandelion shines at the top of the forager’s food list as both an herb to help with a select few ailments and a delicious green to add to any dish. The entire plant is edible.
Dandelion root makes teas that help with digestive issues and bloating. Simply chop up the roots and steep them in boiling water for two to three minutes. Be careful not to over-steep as the bitter flavor can become stronger longer in the water. Sweeten with honey.
Dandelion flowers can be eaten raw but taste better fried or baked with a tempura batter or just a healthy pinch of salt. Adorn your desserts and salads with dandelion petals for a dash of color. Dandelion leaves can be added to salads or sauteed in oil with other veggies for a healthy meal.
Oils extracted from dandelions can aid skin care, inflammation, and digestive issues. Look into soaps and tinctures made with dandelion oils to experiment with their health benefits. Dandelion essence is also incredibly useful in releasing tension and calming the soul.
Be sure to wash all harvested dandelions well. Leave them to soak for as long as you like to ensure no insects come in with the flower. Certain Asian grocery stores or botanical shops can also carry dandelion roots and leaves.