You know spring has arrived when the dandelion flowers start to bloom. These are usually the first flowers to bloom in the spring. Dandelion flowers are an important food source for honey bees after the long cold winter ends. Did you also know that this “weed” is actually a superfood that is packed with vitamins and minerals?
It’s not just the dandelion flowers that are beneficial. The whole plant can be used and is edible and nutritious. I’ll be posting a more in-depth article on the many uses for dandelion in a coming post. In this article I want to focus on using the flowers in an oil infusion. This will be used to create a soothing and healing balm that you can use to treat sore joints and muscles, as well as treating dry, chapped skin.
Dandelion flowers contain high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. They also contain smaller amounts of vitamin E and other B vitamins. They contain essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They also contain antioxidant compounds and may have analgesic properties. This is what makes this infused oil so beneficial for your skin, as well as being useful to help with sore joints and muscle pain.
You’ll want to make sure you have the following supplies on hand before you harvest your dandelion flowers. If you don’t have all the supplies on hand you can harvest and freeze them until you do.
- Quart Glass Jar
- Food Processor or Blender (Optional)
- Crock-Pot (To Heat The Oil)
- Small Jars or Tins (For Storing Your Balm. Buy Here)
- Bees Wax Pellets (Buy Them Here)
- Shea Butter (Buy Here)
- Carrier Oil (Your Choice)
- Measuring Cup
- Reusable Coffee Filter (Optional- Useful for pressing the oil out of the leaves when you strain the oil.)
- Cooking Thermometer (To Monitor The Temperature Of The Oil)
- Essential Oils (Optional)
Harvesting Dandelion Flowers
To harvest dandelion flowers you can simply cut them from the stem right below the green part underneath the yellow flower head. Rinse them to remove any dirt or debris. Shake off as much water as possible and then lay them out on a towel to dry. I use a small fan on low blowing over them to help with drying.
Below is a photo of the dandelion flowers I gathered over a couple of days around the Lost In The Ozarks home base. Once the flowers are dry, and they have wilted somewhat it’s time to start our oil infusion.
Making Dandelion Flower Infused Oil
Now we are ready to start infusing our oil to extract the goodness from the dandelion flowers. Simply place the whole flowers in a jar as shown and then add enough carrier oil to cover the flowers completely.
Once you have transferred the dandelion flowers to your glass jar you will then need to add a carrier oil such as olive, almond, jojoba, grape seed, or other oil of your choice. I like to use sweet almond oil because it is great for the skin and absorbs fairly quickly. For more on carrier oils, you can read this article. You can also purchase carrier oils from there as well.
Now we need to cover the jar to prevent dust or mold spores from getting into the oil while we are gently heating the mixture. I use a coffee filter and use old bread ties to keep the filter secured on the jar. You can also use a rubber band over the coffee filter and around the mouth of the jar. Using a coffee filter allows water to evaporate from the oil should any find its way into your infusion.
Now we are ready to place the jar in our crock pot and heat the mixture on low heat for 24-48 hours. I prefer to leave mine for 48 hours to get the most out of my infusion. You’ll want to keep the temperature of the oil between 120-140 degrees F. Use your cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature. You don’t want to burn your precious oil.
As you can see in the photos I was making a batch of plantain infused oil at the same time. You can read about plantain and the benefits of plantain infused oil here.
Place a hand towel in the bottom of the crock pot, place your jars on top of the towel, and fill with warm water to cover the jars about halfway. If the water level gets low carefully add water back up to the halfway point on the jars. After 24-48 hours your oil is ready to be used to create your balm.
Note- The old-fashioned way to create an oil infusion is to simply prepare your jars and then set them in a sunny window for 4-6 weeks, stirring them occasionally. I don’t have that kind of patience.
Once the oil is finished I use a reusable fine mesh coffee filter to strain the oil. Then I can press the flowers to extract as much of the oil as possible. Little, if any goes to waste.
Whichever way you choose to infuse your oil it should come out with a beautiful golden color as shown below.
Preparing Dandelion Flower Balm
Now we are ready to prepare and bottle our joint/muscle pain balm.
The next step is to use a double boiler to melt 2 tablespoons each of beeswax and shea butter. Shea butter is another wonderful plant substance. It is sourced from Africa. It is used in all kinds of skincare products and is wonderful for your skin.
Gently heat the beeswax and shea butter until they are totally melted, stirring frequently. This recipe will fill 3 of the 8-ounce jars, which for me is about a 6-month supply of dandelion Balm. Once the shea butter and beeswax are dissolved, carefully stir the warm mixture into your infused dandelion flower oil and stir vigorously to mix well.
Let the mixture cool slightly, but not so cool that it begins to harden. I add essential oils at this point and mix them in prior to bottling. If the mixture is too hot the volatile essential oils will evaporate away.
I add 25 drops each of copaiba and black pepper essential oils. Copaiba oil is a natural pain reliever and contains b-caryophyllene. The b-caryophyllene found in Copaiba essential oil is 50-60%. B-caryophyllene found in Copaiba oil binds directly to CB2 receptors in the body. It has been shown in studies with mice to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory pain relief properties. The pain-relieving constituents in CBD oil are anywhere from 2-30%. You can read more about that in this article. Black pepper is known as a “hot” oil and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. It also increases blood flow to the affected area.
Once all the ingredients are mixed together I also add 5 drops of vitamin E oil before I pour the mixture into storage jars. Vitamin E oil is good for your skin and also acts as a preservative. The mixture will harden as it cools. I prefer to place mine in the refrigerator since I store them there to prolong the useful life of the balm and to prevent mold from growing in them.
Now you can reach for your healing balm anytime you need it. It is great for tired achy muscles, achy joints, and may help protect you from skin damage from the sun.
Note that this balm and the infused oil are for external use only. Do not ingest the oil or the balm. If you have a condition that does not respond to your treatment, or gets worse, seek medical treatment. If you have allergies to dandelion you should avoid the use of this.
For more information about other wild medicinal plants and essential oils you can visit our list of articles.
Disclaimer: This article should not be construed as medical advice. The health information in this article is not intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise a cure for any medical condition. Consult with your health care professional before considering any natural supplement or plant remedy for your health and wellness. We assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using manufactured or natural medications.