I don’t think of them as weeds. The young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, with a mild flavor akin to spinach (leaves develop a bitter taste as they mature). The root, which has a sharp, bitter taste may be brewed into an infusion after washing and drying. This infusion promotes bile secretion, and is often used as an herbal remedy for liver and gallbladder function. (Do not consume dandelion tea or infusions if you are pregnant or nursing.) The root may also be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The plant can be brewed into beer, and the flowers into wine. The whole plant is edible !
The yellow flowers attract bees as well, making it a great plant to have around your garden.
The dandelion is a perennial herb with a thick, fleshy, deep tap root and a rosette of coarsely serrated leaves. From the leaves emerge several flower stalks each with double golden yellow flowers. Once the flowers have bloomed, they produce spherical seed balls or “clocks,” which are dispersed by the wind. These seeds land on soil and within weeks produce the young and tender dandelion “greens.”
Dandelions thrive in full sun and good soil. An indication of an acid soil are smaller than usual pale green leaves with no stalks. If you wish to grow dandelions for herbal tinctures, infusions and salves, cut the plants evenly with the soil, and sprinkle one cup of dolomitic, pelletized lime evenly over the plants. Late August is the best time for liming and re-generating the dandelion patch. Water the plants weekly, especially during the winter months. The following spring harvest should be double in size.
Dandelion is well known for its therapeutic effects on the liver and kidneys. The leaves when boiled into a tea may exert a diuretic action on the urinary system. Because dandelions contain high levels of potassium it helps to replenish potassium that would be lost in frequent urination. Dandelion tea will also help replenish minerals that are lost after a bout with a cold or flu. This herb is rich in Vitamin A, and is also is a source of vitamins B, C, and E
Dandelion leaves can be used fresh in spring salads or cooked as you would spinach. Organic dandelion seeds may be ordered from the larger seeds companies which cater to organic growers of herbs.
Common names for dandelions include “clocks and watches”, and “fairy clocks”.
Disclaimer: The treatment options mentioned above are only meant as guidelines and in no way replace the advice or treatment provided by your medical practitioner. It is always good to seek the advice of your physician, homeopath, naturopath, or herbalist for professional advice in any matter related to your health. This article is for information purposes only.
Image courtesy of wikipedia.org.