Have you ever met a dandelion? Truly paid attention to its many phases and just pondered to yourself what it takes to shine that dashing golden yellow in the face of weed killer, feet, cloudy skies and sad faces?
The dandelion is a hero in my book. A flower of rare character, this commonly hated deviant of the soil. It is abundantly clear that this bitter plant is misunderstood, and was framed.
Taraxacum officinale (A history)
When one walks down the road, they might sneer at the bold weeds that break through the expensive concrete. Perhaps tears come to the eye at the dandelion who opens her arms out to let her seedlings fly into the wind.
The term "Dandelion" does not come from the plant's gentility, but instead from the king of the jungle - the lion. It was named "dents de lion" in french, which translates to lion teeth, due to the jagged shape of the leaves, and the golden mane of each flower head.
It has a lovely history, the carrier of love at one time. It was said that if a person focused on the person to whom their heart belonged to while staring at the seeds just ready flee the nest, and thought the message clearly, a puff of air would carry the message to your loved one.
These golden dawn chasers have even been said to predict the weather, based on whether or not they decided to greet the day at sunrise. In some places, the seeds were used to tell the time of the day. People would hold their seedy dandelion and blow away at the flower, counting how many breaths it took to make the seeds disperse completely.
- Pick earlier in the morning, while the due is still on the ground
- When harvesting for roots, the dandelion should be in its second year, the root shold be at least the thickness of your pinky finger
- Forage away from roads and live stock to get the cleanest and tastiest pickings. The waste from cars and livestock can be very unhealthy.
To The Teeth
It was at one point quite common to include in recipes such as salads, breads, and wines. The whole plant is edible, and carries a bitterness that often complements a meal nicely.
Simply stir-frying the greens of dandelions with garlic and onions can complement the sweet and subtle spiciness and bring a fuller, fresher flavor to a dish.
Dandelions are rich in nutrients, and can be a fun thing for kids to collect! In 55 grams of the dandelion greens, there is 112% of your daily need of vitamin A, which can be had in a side salad. The same amount has a third of your daily needed vitamin C, and over five times your vitamin K! It is a great source of calcium and provides 2 grams of fiber.
According to Hobbs in 1985, dandelions can help the body with its insulin output. Insulin is what the body uses to convert sugars into energy, and without sufficient insulin output, the body becomes hypoglycemic, or diabetic. Dandelions can help the body fight viral infection according to a Japanese scientists studying the effects of Tof-CFr against cancer on lab rats (Tof-CFr being a glucose polymer). Hobbs reported as well that while dandelions have been useful in lowering cholesterol, it is more powerful when combined with further amounts of vitamin C. It has a strong effect on the blood and can help the liver and kidneys detoxify the blood as well as generally improve their function.
- Dandelion bread recipe can be found on www.saving4six.com,
- Dandelion Risotto instructions at www.gardian.co.uk
- Dandelion Pineapple Juice recipe can be found on www.frugalliving.about.com
- Dandelion Coffee, Batter fried Blossoms, and Dandelion Jelly recipes on www.almanac.com
- Dandelion Pesto Recipe www.davidlebovitz.com
- Dandelion fritters recipe can be found on www.learningherbs.com
- Dandelion Wine making instructions at www.winemaking.jackkeller.net
- Dandelion Pancakes and Syrup instructions at www.realfoodforlife.com
When taking anything medicinal with anything else medicinal, it is important to be aware of the possible effects one might have on the other. Be sure to use caution and talk to your doctor if you are using anything listed below:
- Blood-thinning medicines also known as anti-coagulants or anti-platelets
- Water Pills/Diuretics
- Diabetic medications
Medicine of the Lion
A very classic though of the dandelion is that it is bitter. But that bitterness is how it is classified medicinally. It is an excellent cleanser of the blood, and as mentioned before will strengthen the liver and kidneys while they do their job sifting through the regular toxins with which we come into contact. It can be useful in cases of diabetics as well, since it helps the body to flush out excess sugar which causes insulin levels to spike.
It has been used as a diuretic, which is useful when there is just too much fluid in the body, such as in cases of water retention and high blood pressure.
It can be used to focus on the stomach, both being a stimulant for a weak appetite as well as to help with nausea. Along the lines of digestion, the roots have been used as a mild laxative. Commonly roasted in the oven and ground up to be used as a replacement for coffee, it can be used as a general stimulant as well.
Topically, it has been used to sooth acne (due to its detoxifying properties as well, it can be used internally for skin blemishes too) as well as been useful in other areas of skin care. The milk has been used for treating skin diseases caused by fungal or bacterial infection. It can be effective against eczema, ring worm, itches and can be used as an antiseptic. However, it is noted to take care not to allow it to come into contact with the eyes!
It has been useful with maintaining bone health with its richness in calcium, as well as antioxidants, vitamin C as well as Luteolin - a protector of bones against age-related deterioration.
It can be useful against urinary disorders not just for its diuretic effects, but because it has anti-microbial properties, which essentially clean the urinary tract and prevents bad bacteria from grown.
According to www.OrganicFactSheet.net, our urine contains 4% fat. With that being said, with dandelion being such a strong diuretic, it can be a useful tool in weight loss!
Medicinal at a Glance
regulate menstrual cycle
relieves headaches, back pain and menstrual cramps
alleviate Menstrual pains
relieves stomach cramps
can treat cardiovascular disease
used as a nerve tonic
Useful against Rheumatism
aids vision in the dark
contain vitamins A and B12
regulate blood circulation
May treat erroneous eye site
can improve the immune system
reduces risk of cancer
relieve eye infection
beneficial to gallbladder health
improve eye sight
can help with asthma
prevents bone disease such as rickets and arthritis
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- Dandelion | University of Maryland Medical Center
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