Natural Healing with Dandelion
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common herb related to the sunflower family. The name Dandelion comes from the French 'dents de lion', meaning lion's teeth, to describe the jagged leaves. We often pay them little attention until they're taking over our lawns, yet they are full of nutrients and healing properties. For starters, the chemical and nutrient content of young dandelion leaves includes; potassium, gluten, magnesium, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, proteins, resin, iron, sulphur, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. The leaves are a richer source of vitamin A than carrots!
Healing Properties of DandelionDandelion tea, whether made from the root or the leaves, makes a great tonic, because it stimulates the body to eliminate waste and toxins. Because the leaves are rich in readily available magnesium, dandelion is a great herb for improving bone health. Magnesium increases bone density, so dandelions may actually help to prevent bone disorders such as osteoporosis.
Dandelion helps both the liver and gall bladder to break down fat, by stimulating the flow of bile. This helps prevent gallstones. Dandelion also helps the liver with its process of detoxification. This makes it beneficial for diseases such as hepatitis. It also has diuretic properties (it stimulates the flow of urine), which makes it beneficial for anyone suffering from a urinary infection.
The milk from Dandelion stems can cure warts. It should be applied three times each day.
Picking Your Own LeavesIf you want to pick your own dandelion leaves, remember to select them from an area that is not affected by roadside car fumes or pesticide spray. Also, take into consideration that the younger the shoots are, the sweeter their flavour will be. Fleshy, well-formed roots with fewest forks may be picked from plants at least a couple of years old. Autumn is the best time for picking roots. Dandelion roots, dried by artificial heat and slightly roasted until they are dark brown, make an excellent substitute for coffee or ordinary tea. Alternatively you can purchase dandelion tea bags and dandelion root powder at good health stores. Fresh dandelion greens are becoming a regular option in the produce section of many supermarkets.
Eating and Drinking DandelionThere are several ways you can incorporate dandelion into your diet. Fresh leaves make a delicious and nutritious addition to salads or sandwiches. They may also be cooked and used in addition to or replacement of spinach or cabbage.
For a refreshing dandelion tea, blend two handfuls of the leaves with 1 pint of water, and liquidize then strain. Adding carrot juice and/or honey will both sweeten the flavour and add to the nutrients.
Dandelion wine may be made, by adding a gallon of water to a gallon of flowers. Stir the liquid well, cover and leave to stand for three days, stirring at regular intervals. After the third day, strain the liquid and bring to the boil, add 3lbs of sugar, a little ginger and the sliced rind of an orange or lemon. When it is cold add a little brewer's yeast on a piece of bread. After a couple of days remove the bread, and seal the liquid in a bottle or demijohn, and leave to stand for two months. The wine has the taste of a dry sherry and is an excellent tonic.