Herbs: Dandelion, Dill

Subject: Dandelion

Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 12:04:34 +0100 ***


COMMON NAME (English/German): Dandelion/Löwenzahn
LATIN NAME: Taraxacum officinale
TYPE OF PLANT: perennial weed with yellow flowers that turn into white puffballs

SYMBOLISM: In the Alps, they are a sign that "all danger of frost is passed," and that the cows can be taken up to the higher pastures.

LEGENDS/HISTORY: "Dandelion" comes from the French 'dent de lion' (lion's tooth), which is also the literal translation of the name in German. (Actually, the German would be "lions' teeth.") "Priest's crown, a medieval name, refers to the green and eager bud that first resembles a golden-haired seminarian and then matures into a distinguished pastor whose hair turns white and finally falls out."--Rodale's

MAGICKAL: ruling sign: I would say Leo

MEDICINAL: The juice of the dandelion root is used to treat diabetes and liver diseases. Also used for building up blood and curing anemia; as diuretic; as laxative or digestive aid and as an appetitie stimulant.

EDIBLE: Fresh flowers are used for dandelion wine, said to be an excellent tonic for the blood. Roots are roasted as a coffee substitute in many parts of the world. Young, new leaves can be added to salads in early spring.


HARVESTING AND STORAGE: Leaves taken in spring will need to be blanched to reduce bitterness. Store greens in the refrigerator as you would ordinary salad greens.

ETC.: Dyes can be made from the flowers (yellow) or the whole plant (magenta). Most farmers try to move their livestock into pastures, or mow them, before the dandelions go to seed. The flowers are loved by cows and sheep, and the puffballs just blow away.

Subject: Dill

Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 21:54:46 +0100


COMMON NAME (English/German): dill
LATIN NAME: anethum graveolens
TYPE OF PLANT: eternal (like mint), i.e. self-seeding

MYTHS/LEGENDS: Dill was believed to work as a charm against witches; mystics could combat an 'evil eye' spell by carrying a bag of dried dill over the heart.

MEDICINAL: Dispels flatulence, settles stomach, relieves colic, increases mother's milk, treats congestion in the breast from nursing. Fennel does these as well.

EDIBLE: Dill seed is used as a pickling spice; dillweed (leaves) is used to flavor fish souce and salad dressing.


HARVESTING AND STORAGE: Once the plant is well established, leaves can be harvested by clipping them close to the stem. Dillweed will last only a couple of days in the refrigerator. It is easiest to handle when frozen on its stem. As needed, simply snip some off with scissors and return the rest to the freezer. Or dry it by spreading the leaves over a nonmetallic screen in a warm, dark place for a couple of days. Then place the dried leaves in an airtight container. Harvest the seeds when the flower matures, anywhere from two to three weeks after blossoming. Handle gingerly to keep the seeds from falling off. Cut stems with enough length that they can be tied in a bunch and hung in a dark place. Spread paper underneath to catch dried seeds when they fall.

ETC.: green dye

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***Excerpted from my original contributions to an online discussion graciously sponsored by Dracona Pagan Web. {back}