The fields and hedgerows abound with this glorious yellow flower at this time of the year and yes it’s another one of nature’s abundant, cleansing remedies or Spring Tonics!
It really is a super weed with far reaching health-giving properties.
The leaves and root are classically used in western herbal medicine but the flowers can also be used too.
The root is a bitter tonic, hepatic & choleretic which means it works therapeutically on the digestive system, Liver and Gallbladder.
The bitter taste stimulates secretion of digestive fluids such as hydrochloric acid, pancreatic juices & bile. All of which help to breakdown and digest our food. As such it is a panacea for all ailments that effect the digestive system from poor digestion to indigestion, bloating, flatulence, constipation, infections, IBS, acid reflux , poor appetite, anorexia & convalescence
and so on.
The plants chemicals such as sesquiterpene lactones & triterpenes cause the gallbladder to contract, releasing bile and cause the liver to produce more. This in effect flushes the liver and gallbladder out. Again this not only benefits digestion at large but specifically treats conditions such as hepatitis, jaundice, gallstones & cholestasis etc.
Indirectly it helps the menopause, PMT & menstruation, skin conditions such as eczema & psoriasis, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis, joint disease, chronic illness, viral infections, heart & lung irregularities, eyesight, the spleen & pancreas.
The leaves are high in minerals, especially potassium & vitamins A,B,C & D. The leaves are also used as a Diuretic,increasing the flow of urine & clearing toxins via the kidneys, hence the name ‘piss-en-lit’. This is helpful for urinary tract infections; swollen ankles, fluid retention, high blood pressure & shortness of breath in the elderly. Most diuretic drugs cause a net loss of potassium from the body, yet with dandelion the potassium level is so high it doesn’t leave an imbalance. (The leaves boiled with vegetable peelings make a potassium rich broth).
Dandelion also strengthens the urinary system and is used for bed-wetting in children and incontinence in the elderly.
Pharmacy – Things to make!
Herbal infusion/tea – pick fresh leaves, wash, chop up and add 2 teaspoons to a cup/mug of boiling water and infuse for 10 minutes. (Or 50g to 1 pint of water). Remember, these quantities are for the fresh herb, otherwise it is halved for the dried due to the higher water content of the fresh!
Dose 2-3 cups daily.
Salads – add some young leaves chopped up in salads.
Root – dig up the roots, wash, scrape and chop. Then dry in the oven on the lowest setting. Put in a sealed container. To make a tea you need to decoct the dried roots as this is a ‘woody’ part of the plant. So taking the same quantities as above, simmer in water for 20 minutes and strain.
Adding a few cardamon pods, cinnamon or fennel is also nice with it.
See other Blogs for more recipe ideas.