Dandelion – medicine and magic!
To me, the humble Dandelion offers so much medicine – both for the body and the soul.
It all begins with the bright yellow flowers that open and close with the sun, and manage to bring a little burst of sunshine into the world. The flowers eventually close and transform into the universally loved Dandelion seed heads, that capture a little piece of nature magic and have no doubt delighted people, young and old for aeons.
Who can possibly resist blowing a seed head and making a wish as the tiny fluffy seeds are picked up by the wind and carried away?
Considered a nuisance weed to many people, the Dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinalis) has actually been used as medicine for thousands of years. Often being amongst the first fresh greens that grow after the long winter in colder climates, Dandelions were traditionally incorporated into many spring foods and tonics. They are still used in many parts of Europe in the same way.
Herbalists have always loved Dandelion for its versatility, having both medicinal roots and leaves. The roots are predominantly used as a liver tonic, they are also rich in inulin and other prebiotics that our healthy gut bacteria love. Roasted dried Dandelion root is a popular beverage and enjoyed for its similarity to coffee, without the caffeine.
Dandelion leaves are highly nutritious, being rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron. They also contain bitter compounds that stimulate bile flow, they act as a kidney tonic and diuretic and are excellent for fluid retention and are considered a blood cleanser and a great asset for cleansing and detoxification.
Being a common weed, Dandelions can often be freely harvested from both surburban backyards as well as more wild places. When foraging for any plant in the wild, be sure that the land has not been previously sprayed with herbicides. I recommend incorporating small amounts of the fresh leaves in salads, green smoothies and salsa verde or pesto. While they are bitter, when mixed with other salad greens they are easier to eat. I also incorporate the dried leaves into my cleansing tea blend and use the dried roasted roots in a delicious Dandelion chai tea formula. (Both teas are available in the clinic or can be purchased online via my web store).