Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dandy Dandelions

My affinity for nature began when I was a child. It was during my childhood that love for certain bright yellow wildflowers began; those happy flowers you could twist into crowns, and wear in your hair. A member of the Asteraceae (Sunflower) family, the perennial wildflower commonly known as Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) -- strangely hated as it is abused and poisoned by gardeners every Spring -- has fabulous medicinal properties.

Dandelion in my garden. 

Honeybee on a Dandelion in my garden. 

Dandelions are an important food source for honeybees, and as mentioned, herbalists regard Dandelions as having excellent medicinal properties. Notably, it has a reputation as a diuretic and was used historically as such (with names such as "pis-en-lit" - lol), and is also used to treat bile and liver problems. Dandelions also have culinary uses, as young greens -- packed with vitamin A -- are added to salads. Its roots can be ground and used as a coffee substitute, too.

Caution is advised here, see disclaimer. Dandelions closely resemble other plants, so it's very important to identify correctly. Dandelions have no branches or central stalk and the leaves are not fuzzy. Consult an expert (i.e., herbalist, or Naturopath) before consuming this plant. Teas are available at health stores and online.

For more information, please see:

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West by Gregory Tilford
Dandelion info at Alternative Nature Online Herbal

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