There is no greater sign of hope, of wild resistance and resilience than the dandelion growing amid the concrete. A golden misfit, who refuses to be boxed, tamed and restrained, embodying the profound possibility for change, and the incredible capacity the wild has for the regeneration of life in the most hostile of situations. And when they grow and bloom, especially within the grey, dandelions become an oasis for the pollinators, half-starved in a deadened landscape, or a small four-legged in need of sustenance, or a human heart in need of beauty and inspiration for rebellion.

Regardless of laws that inhibit the right to roam, or rules on politeness, landscaping plans and ‘weed-free’ regulations, or neat patios, this vibrant plant is likely to fly in on wish-blown seeds and grow, enriching the earth and offering medicine to soil, souls and beings. When spying a dandelion in the concrete, I often wonder whether they are blown in on the wind, or whether a person, gripping dandelion’s hollow green stem, made a wish, forming the plant that grew from the wished-upon seed to be half wild medicine spirit, half prayer. And what greater prayer is there than wanting to rewild the deadening back to life and bring more aliveness into the grey?

The earth – concreted and sore – just needs to open a crack, revealing the sweet dark soul of the soil underneath, and dandelion’s tiny, delicate, yet incredibly tenacious seed will settle, sending down a bone-like root that aerates and creates drainage pathways where space had become too compact and hardened, shifting the stagnancy and increasing flow. The root searches for the goodness and mineral-rich beauty that still exist deep under the trauma, and drawing them back up, dandelion gives them out to the surface layer of soil, creating an environment that other, less hardy plants, can begin to live within. Over time, the earth will become healthier, more flowing, and the dandelions, their work done, will recede, letting other needed plants and flowers take over and thrive.

Dandelion as a medicine does the same for the human body, going beneath the slurry, the toxicity and the concrete, helping a person find what is wilder and more alive within. Supporting a body that has suffered from misuse, stress, toxins and poor nutrition to rewild. The bittersweet roots, grounding in their nature, help those disembodied, and the whole plant supports the restoration of flow, igniting the proper circulation of fluids, helping the liver to shed built-up stagnation, and nourishing the kidneys and heart in the process, whilst also helping the gut to digest foods and lessen bloating. And as dandelion’s presence and actions have a knock-on effect on the land, which then supports other plants, enabling them to seed themselves in what was previously impossible, so, too, does dandelion’s action in the human body have knock-on effects, encouraging other places within, such as skin, energy, hormones and mood, to flower.

The medicine of this wild weed is potent and loving, and lifetimes could be spent delving into dandelion’s generosity. But the greatest medicine I have received from this plant is the reminder of the wild spirit within us all, which holds the capacity and skill to shift the taming, the concrete and the deadening, should we just surrender and allow it.


You can eat and use all of the dandelion, making tinctures, teas, vinegars and foods such as salads, roasted root coffee, flower fritters and pesto, or you can simply eat the young leaves and flowers straight from the plant. The flowers and root are also beautiful to use externally in the form of oils and salves, especially for tender nursing breasts, as well as reducing skin inflammation and irritation, while also increasing hydration and collagen production.

Roasted dandelion and reishi tea


6g dried, sliced reishi
10g roasted dandelion root – you can either roast the root yourself by cutting it up and heating it in a cast iron pan on the stove top until deeper brown and aromatic, or you can buy the root already roasted


Combine the reishi and dandelion root with half a litre of water and simmer for 30 minutes to an hour. Strain and drink within a day.

Spiced dandelion bitters

This capitalises on the highly beneficial bitterness of the root and the inulin it contains. Both are hugely helpful for the gut and the liver.


1 litre jar – halve ingredients and jar if you want to make less
small dropper bottles if you wish to decant the bitters


10g dandelion root and leaf (dried or fresh), chopped
10g fresh ginger, minced
3 cloves
6–10 cardamom pods
1 tsp cinnamon
3g cracked black pepper
1 orange
1 vanilla pod
brandy or vodka to fill the jar

Place the dandelion root, ginger, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper in the jar. Cut up the orange and add it, peel and all, to the jar. Slice open the vanilla pod, mince it finely and add. Fill the jar with brandy or vodka. Cover and shake well. Leave to infuse for six weeks, out of direct sunlight. Strain and bottle. These bitters are best taken before meals.


Take ½–1 tsp (15–30 drops) straight from the tincture bottle, or dilute in a little water.

Brigit Anna McNeill is a writer, ecotherapist, naturalist and herbalist. She has a new book coming out later this year on rewilding the human psyche through plants and Nature. Instagram @brigitannamcneill