Dandelion - Taraxacum officiniale

Dandelion - Taraxacum officiniale

A Bitter Truth

To look upon the Dandelion is to be reminded of something called Big Truth. Truth, like the Dandelion, was literally all around us, but we were unable to see it for what it is. Truth, like the Dandelion, is inherently beautiful, but from our limited perspective, we could only see it as a nuisance. Truth, like the Dandelion, is mysterious and beyond our mental grasp, but it compels us to be still and marvel. Truth, like the Dandelion, wants to nourish and heal, yet still we paid no attention, for it is bitter. Truth, like the Dandelion, is perennial, it takes our persecution and allows itself to be trampled on, but it comes back again and again, trying to get us to notice it. Truth, like the Dandelion, is often found where we would have least expected it, germinating upon some of the most hardened surfaces. And finally, Truth, like the Dandelion, is a quiet teacher, revealing to us a marvelous lesson within its very structure.

"It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings."

When the Dandelion has gone to seed, pick up the cypsela and watch how the pappus moves in the wind. Its almost as if it is alive, struggling to get free in the wind. And this, is a reflection of the intelligence of the dandelion, as its very structure is designed to be aided by the wind rather than from its own effort. It works by flowing with natural processes instead of working against them. This is a visible example of the ancient Chinese idea of Wu Wei; doing without doing, or action without force.

"The art of life is more like navigation than warefare, for what is important is to understand the winds, the tides, the currents, the seasons, and the principles of growth and decay, so that one's actions may flow with them and not fight them. "

There is always some doing in the beginning of everything. Like the student who learns the notes and chords of the instrument, or the athlete that learns the fundamentals of a sport. There comes a time though, when reading sheet music or doing drills is not enough and the student will naturally begin to just play. Before long, the student releases the grip of the thinking mind and simply begins to improvise, flowing with the moment and what it brings. It is here, where the music then begins to play the student. It is here, that the athlete learns that is was always play. It is doing without doing, or action without force, what some might call magic.

"The force that is forced, is not the growing force."

Big Truth is the Dandelion and the Dandelion is Big Truth. Big Truth will show itself in every form if we are paying attention, and in the Dandelion it brings us a great reminder of how to work with the natural flow of things and not against them. We may choose to row our boat as hard as we can throughout life, and at the end, we may find ourselves exhausted from it all. But the Dandelion shows us a wiser way; the building of a sail.

"To have faith is to trust yourself to the wind and the water. When you swim you don't grab hold of the water, because ifyou do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax and float."

The Dandelion is one of our favorite plants because of how much of itself it gives. It is an enormous giver, with so much to offer that it would take volumes to catalogue it all. Every part of this plant is food and medicine to not only humans, but also to a whole host of biological beings. And now that we are beginning to see the Dandelion through new eyes, we realize that we have so much more to learn about this amazing hero of the plant world.

"Flow with whatever may happen, and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ulimate."


Every part of the Dandelion is said to be edible, and we have enjoyed all of these parts. The young leaves taste the best, but we are also beginning to enjoy the older leaves when mixed with other greens. Both are bitter, but bitter does not mean bad, it just means broadening our spectrum of taste. And there is good reason to broaden this spectrum, as Dandelion greens are apparently pretty high in Vitamins A, C, E, & K, as well as beta carotene, potassium, calcium, thiamine, manganese, riboflavin, B6, folate, and iron.

The flowers are probably the most sought after part of the dandelion, but the flower stems and root are also edible, with tons of different uses. And as our kids used to tell us, the flowering stem makes an excellent drinking straw.


We use the leaves in everything from salads to cooked greens. The flowers we use in salads and to make dandelion syrup/jelly, and tea. And finally the first year root makes a decent cooked vegetable, but also makes a fascinating and quite healthy coffee like drink.

Dandelion Coffee

Gather some Dandelion roots, clean, and let dry for a week. Then chop them up into small pieces with a knife or food processor and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Roast at 250 degrees until you reach a slightly lighter color than coffee grounds (around 2 hours). Let them cool and then place them in a coffee grinder or blender. Then simply use like you would coffee.