If a weed helps detoxify the liver, cleanses the blood, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, aids digestion (heartburn), helps ease fluid retention (edema), improves bone health, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections, treats acne, worts and a multitude of other ailments... is it still considered a weed??
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common herb related to the sunflower family. We often pay them little attention until they're taking over our lawns, yet every part of this plant is full of nutrients and healing properties. If you can't bring yourself to go outside and pick weeds from your lawn, you can buy dandelion root teas bags and supplements nowadays and you may even find the greens for sale in some groceries.
Dandelion leaves are very nutritious and contain beta carotenes that are very good for the eyes, skin, hair, etc. They are also a good source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, C, E, and P. They are actually a richer source of vitamin A than carrots!
Dandelion leaves are best harvested in the early spring before the flowers pop up. The leaves should always be torn to pieces, rather than cut, in order to keep the flavor. The full-grown leaves should not be used (they are too bitter) but the young leaves, make an excellent salad, either alone or in combination with other plants like lettuce or chives. Dandelion salad is often accompanied with hard boiled eggs.
The young leaves may also be blanched, or boiled as like spinach, then thoroughly drained, sprinkled with pepper and salt, topped with butter and served very hot. As a variation, use half dandelion leaves and half spinach, then add some grated nutmeg, garlic, chopped onion or grated lemon peel. Dandelion greens can be added to soups as well.
Dandelion flower contains luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucosid. Both compounds were found to have significant antioxidant and anticancer benefits. One of the key benefits of dandelion tea is that it has a great detoxification effect on the liver. A strong tea made of the leaves and flower tops together is great for reducing fluid retention and swollen ankles
Dandelion Flower Tea
Carefully wash then chop a handful of dandelion flower tops
Steep them in a cup of hot water for about 15-20 minutes.
Add a little honey to sweeten if desired
Drying Fresh Dandelion Roots:
Roots are best picked in autumn. Cut off the crowns of leaves, but be careful in so doing not to leave any scales on the top. Do not cut or slice the roots or the valuable milky juice on which their medicinal value depends will be wasted by bleeding. Thoroughly clean them with water, then dry in a low temperature oven.
The dried roots should be kept in tins preferrably. It will keep for about 3 years in the whole, dried form only. If it is ground or powdered, its shelf life is reduced to 1 year.
Roasting Dandelion Roots:
Prepare dried dandelion roots as above, then take the dried roots and slightly roast in a 350 degree oven util they are the color of coffee.
Danelion Root Tea
Prepare 1-2 tsp. of finely chopped or powdered root, with or without leaves, in 1 cup of cold water, and bring it to a boil. Simmer gently for about 10 minutes; strain. Drink 1 cup of this tea up 2 times daily.
Dandelion Root juice Drink
Simmer 1/3 oz. of chopped roots with 1 cup of water for 15 minutes and then filter and drink.
Grind roasted root and use 1 tsp. ground root to brew 1 cup coffee susbistute. Caffeine Free, can be mixed with chocolate if it is too bitter
Roasted Dandelion Root Tea
2 cups roasted dandelion root
1 spoonful cinnamon powder
1 spoonful ginger root
2 spoonful cardamom seeds
Simmer the first four ingredients mentioned above on a medium flame for about 8 to 10minutes. Strain the tea using a fine filter. To this add one cup of milk and a spoonful of honey. Heat again on a low flame and do not boil. This can be served chilled or hot.
Fresh dandelion sap (the milky white juice) obtained from the stem and root of the dandelion has been found to be extremely effective in treating skin conditions like blisters, acne, warts and corns. Apply the fresh juice topically three times a day.
Ok well that's about all I have for today on Dandelions, hopefully you learned something new and will look at this wonderful herb growing in your yard without malicious intent this spring hehe!
Random Thought - If dandelions were hard to grow, they would be most welcome on any lawn.