You’ve probably heard that the much-maligned dandelion is more than a garden nuisance, it’s also nutritious and a popular herb for supporting digestion and liver health. Did you know dandelions can also benefit your skin?
Like its cousin , dandelion contains compounds that soothe and smooth. Dandelion also contains compounds considered useful for relieving aches and pains. Infusing dandelions in oil extracts these compounds in an easy-to-use form that can be applied directly to the skin or incorporated into homemade salves and lotions
Making dandelion oil isn’t difficult, so go harvest a big basket of dandelions and make some soothing dandelion-infused oil.
How to harvest flowers for dandelion oil
All parts of the dandelion are useful – you’ll find the root used in many delicious coffee alternatives
and the leaves in salads or tea
– but it’s the sunny blossoms you want for making dandelion oil.
Dandelions are most abundant in mid spring, when they’re suddenly out by the thousands. Gather dandelions when the flowers have just opened. Only take flowers from areas that haven’t been treated with pesticides, as you don’t want those chemicals winding up in your oil. Here’s a guide to beginning foraging
if you’re new to the practice.
Pick dandelion flowers that have opened completely. Harvest in the morning, after the sun has had a chance to dry the dew. Pinch off blossoms or use scissors to remove the flowerheads where the stem meets the flower and collect them in a basket or bowl.
How to choose an oil
The oil you use to make your dandelion oil can have additional benefits. Sesame oil
is considered especially helpful for reducing inflammation, so it’s an excellent choice if you’re planning to use your dandelion oil for soothing sore muscles.
For skincare, jojoba oil
is extra-softening. Sunflower
, and grapeseed oils
work as well.
How to make dandelion oil
Many herbalists prefer a slow-infusion method for making dandelion oil, but you can also heat your oil on the stove to speed up the process and help remove additional moisture if your dandelions aren’t fully dry. Both methods are outlined in the instructions below.
- Place your dandelion blossoms in a colander and rinse well to wash away any insects or dirt.
- Run cleaned flowers through a salad spinner to help remove water from the blossoms.
- Before infusing in oil, dandelion blossoms need to dry. Water in an infused oil makes spoilage likely, and you don’t want that! To dry flowers, spread them on a screen or clean cloth in a warm, dry place. If your air is humid, you’ll need to use a dehydrator set to a low temperature setting. In dry conditions, air drying takes 2 to 3 days, while a dehydrator takes 12 to 24 hours. The flowers may not get completely dry, which is fine for making dandelion oil as long as you follow the precautions covered below.
- Use a jar that has been sterilized or run through the dishwasher and completely dried. The size of the jar depends on how much dandelion oil you want to make. A pint jar is a good choice, yielding several ounces of finished oil. If you want more or less, choose the size of the jar accordingly.
- Fill the jar about three-quarters full with dried dandelions, leaving at least two inches between blossoms and the rim of the jar. You can press the dandelions down and add more blossoms to make a more potent oil.
- Cover dandelion blossoms completely with the oil you’ve chosen, at least an inch above the flowers. Stir gently with a sterile spoon or knife to remove any air bubbles and thoroughly coat the dandelions with oil. Ensure all blossoms are fully submerged.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cloth or parchment paper and secure with a rubber band.
Your next steps depend on whether you’d prefer to use a hands-off slow infusion method or a quicker one involving added heat from the oven, stove, or slow cooker. With flowers like dandelions that won’t be completely dry, some herbalists prefer using methods with heat to help drive out any remaining moisture.
Solar infusion method
Place your jar of dandelion oil in a sunny location for two weeks, gently shaking it every day or two. When two weeks have passed, strain out the dandelions twice, first with a sieve, and then with a cheesecloth. Pour the strained oil into a sterile, dry jar.
Do not leave the dandelions in oil longer than two weeks, or they will likely start to mold. Mark the day on a calendar or set a reminder on your phone to make sure you strain the oil at the two-week mark.
Instead of placing dandelions in a glass jar, use a sterilized oven-proof dish, making sure dandelion blossoms are covered completely with oil. Heat the oven to 120 degrees F and place the dish, uncovered, inside. Leave for 4 to 8 hours. Since most ovens do not maintain temperatures that low, you will need to use an oven thermometer and turn the heat on and off to maintain temperature. When finished, allow the oil to cool and strain dandelions as described above.
Stovetop or slow cooker method
Place your jar of prepared dandelions in oil in a slow cooker, double boiler or a metal pot, and add enough water to come about halfway up your jar. Heat the water to about 100 degrees F (or use the lowest setting on a slow cooker).
If using a slow cooker, allow to heat uncovered for 12 to 24 hours, adding more water if needed.
If using the stovetop, monitor the temperature of the water. You can turn the stove on and off as needed to keep the water between 100 and 120 degrees for 4 to 8 hours. Add more water if the water gets low, taking care not to get any water in the jar of dandelion oil.
When the infusion period is finished, remove the jar from the water and allow to cool before straining as described above.
After straining, leave your oil sitting out for a day or two to allow any remaining water to separate from the oil. The water will fall to the bottom of the jar. Use a turkey baster to carefully siphon off the oil into a clean jar and discard the water. You can repeat the process to ensure no water remains.
If you see signs of mold or your dandelion oil starts to smell off, discard and try again with fresh supplies and a new jar.
Make a label for your dandelion oil that lists the ingredients and the date. If stored in a cool, dark place, dandelion oil keeps for about one year. If you want to be extra cautious about spoilage, you can store your dandelion oil in the refrigerator.
How to use dandelion oil
- Dandelion oil can soothe many common skin irritations, like sunburn and minor scrapes
- Use as a moisturizing oil on its own, or add to healing balms for dry skin
- Use as a massage oil to relieve muscle soreness
Keep this handy-dandy dandelion oil at the ready and enjoy its soothing abilities whenever the need arises.