The Under-Appreciated Dandelion
Every spring dandelions pop up in lawns, along the side of the road and in public parks. Many people consider this adorable little flower a nuisance which is a shame. In my research about natural additives in soaps and lotions, I came across a few people who have harnessed the wonderful benefits of the dandelions in their bath & beauty products and I decided to join them in that quest.
Fortunately, I decided the start this venture when there were more than enough dandelions around my house. I harvested just the flower portion and removed as much of the stem and leaves as possible. The plan was to make an infusion of the yellow part of the flower.
The dandelion (when used in soap, lotion or salve) is reputed to help ease inflammation, sore joints and muscles and ease dry, chapped skin. Those all sound like great benefits to me, so I infused the dandelions in grape seed oil so that I could make a soap as well as a healing salve.
You could place your infusion in a dark pantry for weeks, or do what I did and gently heat it in a crockpot for 6 or so hours. Once done, I strained out the flowers and used the oil to make the healing salve. In addition to the dandelion oil, I also created an infusion with calendula petals and lavender buds, as they both have health benefits and I was having fun with infusions.
The soap was a remake of one of my most popular - the carrot goat milk soap. In addition to carrot juice and fresh goat milk, I used the dandelion oil to create a wonderful new soap. I naturally colored the soap with cocoa powder and red clay. It still needs to cure for a few more weeks but it smells wonderful (I lighted scented the soap with vanilla and orange essential oils).
The healing balm is available in my Etsy store now, and the soap will be added around mid-April 2015.
Think twice before you mow all the dandelions in your yard because they can be useful!