at first a weed, and then a wish
When I was a much younger man, trying to grow a pristine lawn, the last thing I wanted in my garden was dandelions. These damn weeds are incredibly pernicious and damn difficult to get rid of. But back then I didn’t understand anything at all about herbalism, and the almost magical medicinal, therapeutic, and health benefits we can get from the common dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale. (to give it its proper name). The common dandelion is a real superfood.
Officially, this wild plant is a weed and usually very unwelcome in lawns, (or anywhere else come to that), because it will choke other plants and its silver tufted seeds will get everywhere when blown in the wind. The easiest and best way to get rid of unwanted dandelions is with a herbicide, but these days none of us approves of herbicides at all. If you just dig up a dandelion then you have to make certain to get every last bit of the tap-root.
But, unless it really is in the wrong place, why try to eradicate a dandelion at all? For a start, dandelion leaves are a great addition to a summer salad, and it is said that eating dandelion salad will help women to lose weight, and is why French women don’t get fat.
Collected in the autumn, the most medicinally efficacious part of the dandelion is the tap root which can be juiced, dried and used as a coffee substitute, turned into tea, or in all of the other complex preparations such as tincture and homeopathic dynamizations. For those biochemically inclined who may be interested dandelion root contains; taraxacin, choline, inulin, phytosterol, tannin, and mucilage. The major properties of the dandelion are as a cholagogue, laxative, depurative, and as a tonic. If you want to do a liver detox, forget celery juice and turn instead to the humble dandelion.
Dandelion sap will remove warts, corns, verrucae, dark spots on the skin, and lighten freckles.
However, like many medicinal plants the common dandelion is an exceedingly powerful collection of chemical compounds, so care should be taken when using it medicinally.
Broadly speaking, your common or garden dandelion leaf is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and other great stuff, so add some leaves to your salads. There are a stack of dandelion recipes, a salad might even stop you getting fat or help you to lose weight, especially as part of a Mediterranean Diet. Anything made from dandelion is damn good for your liver, and might just be the best way ever to do a liver detox.