From the flowers to the root, every part of this flower has a purpose and a benefit.
Most people call it a weed and work desperately to kill it. But why? We plant flowers every day. We work hard to make them grow. Here we have a very bright and beautiful flower that grows easily anywhere and has so many benefits.
I suppose if you want a pristine yard with nothing but green they can pose a problem. Although, I’m not sure why you would want a yard devoid of such color and life.
Taraxicum Officinale (otherwise known as Dandelion) has been in use as a medicinal plant for more than a thousand years in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as other traditions around the world. It was thought that the European settlers actually brought them to the New World as a part of every good wife’s garden supply because of their value nutritionally and medicinally.
The Gallic Normans called the plant “dent-de-lion”, meaning “tooth of the lion”. It’s thought to refer to the deeply toothed leaves. But where it actually came from is truly unknown.
The flowers are not only beautiful but nutritious. Each petal is actually a single flower. So each beautiful flower head is made of hundreds, maybe thousands, of flowers.
You can eat them on a salad raw or batter and fry them like a fritter. You can pull the little flowers from their green bases and use them in cookies. Not only are they beautiful, but tasty too.
You can boil them and use the resulting juice to create a jelly that tastes like honey.
It’s so good. I make several batches every year. You can find it as part of what we offer here.
And many people make lovely a dandelion wine. I haven’t tried this, but hope to someday.
You’ll find bees on dandelion flowers beginning early in the season. They love this plant too for its pollen. For this reason alone, it’s so important not to spray dandelions with herbicides or pesticides.
Bees are so important to our ecology and our food system. Spraying these plants can be devastating to the honey bees and in the long run to us as well.
Highly nutritious, dandelion leaves have an affinity for the urinary tract. They make a great diuretic. They naturally have the potassium necessary to replace what you lose when taking diuretics. Kinda cool how nature takes care of those details.
They have long been used as a spring tonic as well. They have a slight bitter taste that is great for digestion. That bitter taste 15-20 min before a meal is a great way to get all the digestive juices and actions going before the main meal.
This ensures everything you eat is digested well, allowing your body to better absorb the nutrients from your food. And ensuring that larger food particles are not released into the large intestine.
Use the roots at the end of the season, after the flowers have stopped flowering. At this point the plant has pulled most of its nutrients back into the roots to prepare for the winter.
Dandelion roots work more to support our liver function. The liver removes toxins from your body and dandelion root not only supports liver health but can help prevent liver stagnation. Liver stagnation can cause all kinds of nasty digestive issues as well as cause skin eruptions, rashes and boils.
They also make a great pre-biotic being essentially food for the all important probiotics in our gut.
Chopped & roasted it’s a nice alternative for coffee and a great tea. It’s a great ingredient for an herbal chai and a tasty tincture I add to my coffee. Hint-it has a nice mocha taste once roasted.
The white sap or latex you find in the stem when you pick the flower is useful too. Rub it on warts and it will remove them when used often and consistently.
How could you ask for a more useful plant? It works for us in so many ways.
Every bit of it is not only useful, but so important to not only us but to the bees that are so important to us by extension.
Give Dandelion a try. Enjoy it’s beauty and the bounty it gives us. You can find teas and leaves in the health food stores. Maybe even the roots, although I’ve not looked for them. But if you have a yard or if you can find a yard, you have all you need to give this plant every opportunity to do good things for you.