Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) is a medicinal herb with many uses including spring tonics and herbal teas. Dandelions really put on a show during spring when yellow dandelion blooms pop up in lawns all over America. People rush out to apply herbicide or spend hours digging them out by hand, not realizing what a useful plant they are killing. Many gardeners consider the colorful dandelion an invasive weed. Actually dandelion plants make powerful spring tonics and the leaves and roots are excellent medicinal herbs. The leaves also makes a fine tasting green like mustard or turnip.
Dandelion is a strong diuretic and liver stimulant. Dandelion cleanses the liver, stimulates bile flow, and aids in fat digestion. It contains strong antioxidants that help the body get rid of toxins.
When the old timers made spring tonics the main ingredient was dandelion. It restored the system after months of winter weather, wood smoke, colds, and lack of fresh vegetables in the diet. Dandelion is a great herb for treating depression due to winter blues, suppressed anger, or disappointment. Put in one tablespoon of chopped root per cup of boiling water and steep for thirty minutes. Strain and sip 2 or 3 cups a day for one week.
Dandelion roots contain detoxifiers that clean out various body poisons associated with constipation, joint inflammation, gout, acne, fluid retention, and urinary disorders. Dandelion root tea is a favorite liver stimulant in many rural areas and has even been used to treat addiction and alcoholism. Dandelion root tincture was once given to patients with failing hearts to ensure adequate potassium intake. Dandelions are one of the richest sources of potassium known to man. Dandelion leaves also contain high concentrations of calcium, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and Vitamins A, D, C, B, and K.
The leaves can be eaten raw in tossed salads. To serve as a side dish, just gather the leaves, wash well, remove the stems and bitter main veins, simmer gently until tender, salt and pepper to taste, and add a little olive oil or butter. They are excellent when picked young in early spring. Roots are gathered in the fall and prepared like potatoes. Just scrape, slice and boil. Dandelion flowers can be used as a colorful addition to salads, lemon aide, and punch. The flowers also make a good-tasting, potent wine.
Dandelion is closely related to chicory (roots from both plants have been used like coffee). To prepare dandelion roots for a coffee substitute, roast once while whole and then roast again after grinding. Use 5-6 tablespoons of ground dandelion root to 2 or 3 cups boiling water. Steep one hour then reheat.
The white sap from the dandelion stem can be used to remove warts (be careful to protect the surrounding skin before application of the corrosive sap). It will require repeated applications to get rid of the wart.
Dandelion grows about 12 inches tall, producing spatula like leaves and yellow flowers that can bloom the year round. When the flower matures, it turns into a puff ball containing seeds that are scattered by the wind.
* Use dandelion with caution if you have gallbladder disease. Never use dandelion if you have an obstructed bile duct or ulcers. Always consult with your doctor before using any herbal remedy.
"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... Janice Boling, herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer
* Note - the information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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