One little known song asks the question, “How many dandelions this year will grow?” Indeed, many find this weed a nuisance and do whatever they can to get rid of it. However, you may regret doing this when you learn the benefits of this wild plant.
It is officially Taraxacum officinale but commonly called dandelion. The name comes from the French words ‘dent de lion,’ that mean ‘lion’s tooth.’ This is a reference to the jagged-edged leaves. Dandelion in your yard is identical to the herb with so many benefits. Let’s see what some of them are.
The entire dandelion plant is beneficial. The roots, for example, are eaten as vegetables or roasted and ground into a type of root “coffee.” The flowers are used in making wine, in cooking (dandelion flower cookies?), in making dandelion syrup or jam, and it is made into an oil to rub on sore joints. But the uses for the leaves are even greater.
First, dandelion leaf is an excellent source of sodium, iron, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and especially calcium. Dandelion might have been one of the “bitter herbs” mentioned in the Bible. The leaves add bitter flavoring to salads or can be cooked like spinach. The best leaves are those bright green ones that appear before the dandelion flowers in the spring.
Dandelion leaf is rich in sodium, calcium, vitamins A and C, iron, and beta-carotene. The bitter flavoring it gives to salads leads some to believe that dandelion might have been one of the “bitter herbs” mentioned in the Bible. Some enjoy cooking them like spinach. The best leaves are those first ones in the spring that appear before the plant flowers.
Dandelion is good for female organs. It enriches breast milk in nursing mothers and this, in turn, benefits both mother and child. It is good for women both before, during, and after pregnancy. Women suffering from premenstrual syndrome may find that the diuretic action of dandelion helps relieve some of the symptoms. In short, dandelion is safe and healthy for men, woman, children, and even animals.
Some herbs are not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. Dandelion on the other hand is beneficial. It actually enriches breast milk in nursing mothers. It benefits a mother throughout pregnancy and after. The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome are often relieved because of dandelion’s diuretic action. Yes, dandelion is good for everyone, even your pet.
The flowers of dandelion are an excellent source of lecithin. This increases the brain’s acetylcholine resulting in retarding or stop regressing of mental disability caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Lecithin also helps maintain good liver function, and opens urinary passages.
Dandelion leaves and flowers are best when freshly picked. If this is not possible, the leaves can be refrigerated up to five days when wrapped in a plastic bag. Be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly before using. Leaves may also be frozen for longer periods of time. You can also dry the flowers and leaves yourself and store them in a dark, dry, and cool place. Use them in the bath to treat yeast infections, or to make your own dandelion tea (steep about 1 tablespoon of dried leaves in 1 cup hot water). Dandelion may also be purchased in capsules, tinctures, and powdered form.
Dandelion is generally regarded as safe, but some people report allergic or asthmatic reaction to this herb, especially those with allergies to ragweed or daisies. Traditionally dandelion is not recommended for patients with liver or gallbladder disease but some feel this advice is erroneous.
August 27 2008 08:46 am | Nutrition