I remember my dad on his hands and knees in the front yard, digging up evil dandelions by the roots.
And I remember watching the "gypsies" when we lived in Greece, foraging for dandelions in early spring, the first wild greens of the year.
Of the two, I have always been more like the gypsies. Although I didn't eat the greens, the cheerful yellow flowers have always made me smile. From grubby toddler hands offering me a yellow bouquet to the white "blow flowers" that my children loved, dandelions have given me some sweet memories.
When our middle daughter complained about all the dandelions she was dealing with this spring, I said "eat 'em!" She didn't go for that, but when I suggested making dandelion salve she was hooked.
Dandelion-infused oil can be used as a pain-relieving massage oil or made into salve, soothing such conditions as stiff necks, sinus headaches, sore back muscles and arthritic joints. It also helps to heal sores and conditions rough, dry skin. My hands are so dry from gardening and working outside, and I really wanted to try this natural remedy.
Our daughter sent Granddaughter out to pick all the yellow blooms that afternoon and again the next morning, then poured olive oil in a jar to cover the flowers and let the jar sit on the kitchen counter until I visited them this summer.
The first step to making salve was to strain the petals from the oil. I prefer to use muslin to strain herbs from oil, so that I can squeeze the last drop of the oil from the plant material, but I hadn't thought to bring some. I tried paper towels but they tore too easily, so I finally decided to live with a bit of sediment in the oil. It all ended up in the last jar anyway, so the others are perfect and prettier.
The oil was such a pretty yellow color after infusing for over six weeks.
I measured out the beeswax that I'd brought with me, using 1/4 cup of beeswax and just under two cups of oil. I added a 1/4 cup of coconut oil too, to make the salve softer and less waxy. I guess it's more the consistency of ointment, actually.
Putting the beeswax in a glass measuring cup, we melted it by setting the measuring cup in a saucepan of simmering water on the stove like a double boiler. Next we added the coconut oil and let it liquify. I added the infused olive oil slowly, stirring after each addition because at room temperature it cooled the beeswax a bit.
Then we poured it into six 4-ounce canning jars. The last jar wasn't quite full, and was the one the sediment settled in, so it was our try-it-out jar.
Once it all cooled, my daughter applied some to her sunburned shoulders and I rubbed it into my hands. It was so luxurious; we love it! It is a bit oily when first applied, but it soaks in after several minutes. I brought two-and-a-half jars home with me and she kept three for herself.
How do you feel about dandelions? Do you love 'em or hate 'em? Will you try making this salve? Let me know in the comments.
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