Dandelion is a very common weed that springs up everywhere in the garden, in paddocks, and wastelands. There are a few weeds that look like dandelion and have the characteristic yellow flowers and fluffy pompom seed head that children love to blow upon. The true dandelion, however, has a rosette of long leaves cut into ‘teeth’ that point back to the base of the plant. It has only one, straight stalk with a single flower head.
The stalk is hollow and exudes a milky sap when picked. This m ilk sap can be applied externally to the skin on blisters, sores, pimples, and warts.
Dandelion is a nutrient herb, its leaves are rich in iron, silica, calcium, magnesium, potassium, are high in Vitamin A, B1, B2, and Vitamin C. The flowers can be eaten and contain Vitamin D.
Dandelion is a blood and lymph cleansing and puryifying herb, that stimulates bile and gastric juices to help with digestion, and is mildly laxative. It increases the flow of bile in the liver and through the gall bladder to the bowel, helping to reduce any liver congestion, and is used for gall-stones. Its nutritive salts help neutralise acids in the blood.
Anaemia is caused by a deficiency of proper nutrients in the blood, dandelion is one of the oldest remedies for this.
The young leaves can be either steamed like spinach greens or eaten in a salad, and improve the enamel of the teeth. They are a bitter tonic to improve digestion and are also a diuretic. A daily salad including young dandelion leaves helps protect against hepatitis.
The root has a strengthening and cleansing effect on the liver and contains insulin, which regulates kidney and pancreas function. It increases the flow of urine in liver problems, and is slightly laxative. Dandelion root, drunk regularly, helps with skin diseases, including acne and eczema, water retention, indigestion, constipation, kidney problems, gall bladder troubles, jaundice, rheumatism, regulates blood sugar levels in the body, and is beneficial for female organs.
Dandelion root ‘coffee’
Dandelion roots can be harvested at the end of summer from a plant two years old onwards. Dig up the root, clean it thoroughly, slice it lenghwise into thin slices, and spread out to dry in a clean place, with good airflow, for a few weeks. This is dried dandelion root. Dandelion root can be roasted to make a coffee substitute. It will turn a medium-dark brown colour when ready, this is your dandelion ‘coffee’.
As a refreshing, health promoting drink;
infuse 1/2 – 1 teaspoonful of dandelion root or roasted ‘coffee’, steeped in a cup of boiled water for at least 5 minutes or more as you would in a coffee plunger.
Drink 1-2 cups a day. Good for rheumatism and acid indigestion.
For a stronger, more medicinal decoction;
gently simmer 20 grams of dandelion root in a covered pot with 600 mLs of water for at least an hour, (don’t boil), then steep for another 10-15 minutes.
Take 2-4 tablespoons full regularly throughout the day.