Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelions flowers, roots and leaves, have been used for centuries in traditional medicine & medicinal teas, most notably for liver detoxification, as a natural diuretic and for inflammation reduction.
Unlike other diuretics, dandelion leaves contain potassium, a mineral that is often lost during increased urination. There is also evidence that this property of dandelion leaves may normalize blood sugar.
All parts of the plant, but especially the root, are slightly aperient (induce bowel movement), cholagogue (discharge of bile from the system), strongly diuretic, hepatic (liver), laxative, stomachic and tonic. The root is also experimentally cholagogue, hypoglycaemic and a weak antibiotic against yeast infections. The dried root has a weaker action. The roots can be used fresh or dried and should be harvested in the autumn when 2 years old.
The leaves are harvested in the spring when the plant is in flower and can be dried for later use. A tea can be made from the leaves or, more commonly, from the roots. The plant is used internally in the treatment of gall bladder and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, dyspepsia with constipation, oedema associated with high blood pressure and heart weakness, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema and acne.
The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, Meningococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, C. diphtheriae, Proteus etc. The latex contained in the plant sap can be used to remove corns, warts and verrucae. The latex has a specific action on inflammations of the gall bladder and is also believed to remove stones in the liver. A tea made from the leaves is laxative.
The young leaves of dandelion may also be boiled as a vegetable, spinach fashion, thoroughly drained, sprinkled with pepper and salt, moistened with soup or butter and served very hot. If considered a little too bitter, use half spinach, but the Dandelion must be partly cooked first in this case, as it takes longer than spinach. As a variation, some grated nutmeg or garlic, a teaspoonful of chopped onion or grated lemon peel can be added to the greens when they are cooked. A simple vegetable soup may also be made with Dandelions.
From the Spanimax List: "15 Top Herbs"
- RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement; F. Chittendon.
- A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America; Foster. S. Duke. J. A.
- A Source Book of Edible Plants; Facciola. S. Cornucopia
- Native Harvests; Kavasch. B.
- The Herb Book; Lust. J.
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