Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
COPYRIGHT © 2011 Cherie Kuranko ~ “InkSpot” All Rights Reserved.
Most people consider dandelions to be weeds, but little do they know that lurking in their lawns is a plant that can be used as medicine and a valuable source of food. Dandelions contain Vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as potassium and iron. So, what exactly can you do with dandelions?
Dandelion roots have been used as an herbal medicine for centuries. Herbalists often use the juice of the dandelion root to treat liver diseases and diabetes. Dandelion can help cure anemia and build up the blood. It has diuretic properties and can be used to aid in digestion, stimulate the appetite or be used as a mild laxative. Never use any dandelions from areas that have been treated with fertilizers or other chemicals. If you aren’t sure whether the area has been treated find a location to pick or dig the roots of dandelions where you know it is safe. Also, seek the opinion of a herbalist, naturalist or other physician before using dandelion for medicinal purposes. Dandelion, like many herbs, can interact with other drugs you may be taking.
Wine lovers love to sip dandelion wine, which tastes a little like sherry. It makes a fine folk wine and the best part is the dandelions are entirely free and easy to come by.
The roots of the dandelion can be roasted to make coffee. It is rumored that dandelions provide the nearest flavor to coffee. You can also roast the roots and add them to hot chocolate for a unique flavor all its own. For coffee, dig the autumn dandelion roots and rinse them well. Dry the roots in the oven, roasting them until they turn the color of coffee. You can then grind them to use for coffee.
Toss up a dandelion salad. Collect young, tender green dandelion leaves for salads. Mix with lettuce, swiss chard and other greens. The dandelions lend a chicory flavor to your tossed salad. It is best to pick dandelion leaves before the dandelions bloom. Older leaves can be used also, but steam or saute them. Then eat them as you would other steamed greens or add them to a stir fry. The yellow dandelion flowers are great when chopped up finely and added to butters. The younger, tender leaves are less bitter than the older leaves. Test them out and see which you like best. Be sure to wash before using.
Yellow dyes can be produced using the flowers of dandelions and using the leaves you can also have a wonderful herbal bath or facial steam. There are many old remedies calling for dandelion.
The milky juice from dandelion stems can be applied to warts to get rid of them. Another remedy states dandelion greens can be used to detoxify the kidneys, liver, blood and tissues after cancer treatments.
Dry the young, tender dandelion leaves and store in an air-tight container to be used all year.
When you’ve tired of trying out all the many uses for dandelions…sit back and relax with a nice cup of dandelion tea.
Single Serving ~ One Cup Recipe
Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 to 1 1/2 tsp. dried dandelion leaves
Cover and let steep for 3 minutes. Give it a stir and let steep 1 minute more.
Drink and enjoy!
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COPYRIGHT © 2011 Cherie Kuranko ~ “InkSpot”
All Rights Reserved.