Edible Plants: Dandelion ... It’s Dandy
Taraxacum commonly known as dandelion, lion’s tooth or blow ball is a small common weed that is native to North America, Eurasia and is found worldwide. The flower ranges in size from one to two inches, is surrounded by small leaflets that arise at the base of the flower, circling the stem. The dandelion buds set alone atop a single milky filled stem, which rises from a rosette of lobed leaves.
The dandelion is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. It also contains calcium, folic acid, copper, iron, riboflavin and magnesium.
The dandelion has been used medicinally for ages and were first mentioned in text in the early 1300’s. People use dandelions as a tonic, diuretic, decongestant, antacid, cholagogue, aperient and itch reliever. The leaves and roots of a dandelion can be chopped up and boiled then strained to create a tonic to help with decongestion, urine flow, bile discharge from the gallbladder, and neutralize acids in the intestinal tract, help with constipation and flatulence. Some reports state that the root may improve gallbladder and liver function. The dandelion is also believed to help strengthen the immune system. Also it may be used for simple sustenance.
Although the dandelion may be used to strengthen the body and treat diseases it may also cause allergic reactions in some people and should be used cautiously to prevent severe reactions. If you are allergic to ragweed, iodine, daisies, chamomile or marigolds you should refrain from using dandelions.
As with any other herbs, one should research the plant thoroughly to avoid any unwanted side effect.
So the next time you are in the wild and you know you aren’t allergic to the dandelion you should make up a nice salad or soothing tea and reap the awards of the use of this “weed”.
By Joshua R. Dick - The Self Reliance Illustrated, Issue No. 1, page 34 - Edited by The Pathfinder Store