Did you know that fall is the best time of year for wildcrafting herbal medicinal roots? All spring and summer long plants such as burdock, valerian, chicory, comfrey, and dandelion are growing long taproots. Once fall comes and the plants start to die back after a frost, that taproot stores all of the plant’s nutrition and medicinal potency. These roots have a variety of different uses, mostly medicinal, but also culinary. Today I am going to tell you all about how to go foraging for dandelion root, one of the easiest to find and most common of all the medicinal plants.
We all know what dandelions are, right? They are the best example of a super easy to forage, edible and medicinal plant. I’ve written a post all about foraging for dandelions, but I didn’t say too much about the roots. They deserve a whole post on their own!
First, you have to actually get to the roots, which is no easy task. There were a few dandelions still hanging around on our property, so I went out to try and harvest them. In the fall there usually won’t be many flowers left, although ours were still blooming fairly recently. It all depends on your climate, but it is still pretty easy to recognize them from their rosette of leaves (make dandelion pesto with those leaves).
Try harvesting dandelion roots that are growing in softer soil rather than compacted if possible, it will be much easier. A garden shovel can help, or this awesome Hori Hori Garden Knife. A lot of it will be done with your hands so you may want to wear some garden gloves. Many times I will only get part of the root, but that’s ok. That means that the dandelion will still come back next year!
How to Use Dandelion Root
Dandelion root has many health benefits, including being a tonic for the liver and a powerful antioxidant. It also has a positive effect on the digestive system and contains several vitamins and trace minerals. It makes a nice tea or tincture, or even better, turn it into dandelion root bitters for digestion.
Once you get your foraged dandelion roots home, you will want to trim them up and rinse them well.
Dandelion really is the wonder plant in so many ways, and the root is no exception. It’s definitely an herb you should have on hand!