Weedy Wonders: The Dandelion
Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale
To find a useful “weed”, I don't even need to look beyond my front yard. Dandelions have taken over my lawn, and I feel very silly for ever being upset about it. Like many other people in cities and suburbs, I held (if not hatred) a deep annoyance with this invader. I would pluck and mow to no avail, eventually gave up, and finally came to embrace them. Why should I not love the dandelions for their pretty yellow flowers, and appreciate them as a source of free nutritious food, teas, and medicine? According to David Hoffman's Herbal Handbook they are a hepatic- toning and strengthening the liver, and also a diuretic. Usually stimulating the kidneys will cause a loss of potassium in the body, but dandelions are so rich in potassium that this loss is balanced out. Dandelions deserve our respect, and should be appreciated for the wonderfully abundant gifts they provide. Roots should be collected between June and August, the leaves collected anytime.Actions: Diuretic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic
Constituents: Glycosides, triterpenoids, choline
Internal Uses: kidney and urinary disorders, gallstones, congestive jaundice, muscular rheumatism, constipation, or as a liver tonic.
External Uses: can be used for its antibacterial action and to help heal wounds. The fresh juice can be applied to the skin as a poultice for skin complaints such as eczema.
Dandelions contain more vitamins and minerals than most vegetables! They contain vitamins A, B, C, and D.How to eat: -Gather the young leaves before flowering for a tasty, less-bitter salad. -Throw the flower tops in your next salad. -Batter and fry the flower tops for Dandelion fritters. How to drink: -As tea for one, boil 1cup water and steep 1tsp dried leaves or root. Cover and steep 5 minutes. Multiply by how many servings you want. If using the root you may boil this for a couple minutes before letting steep. This will make a stronger tea. -Dandelion wine -Dandelion coffee (caffeine free) Please be careful not to use Dandelions that have been sprayed with chemicals such as pesticides, and avoid picking the ones near the road.