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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Dandelions Are Delicious

One of my real pleasures in life is finding and using free food... for eating, drinking & making remedies.

Just about the most wasted and overlooked plant is the dandelion.

The young leaves are amazing as part of a salad.

The flowers make incredible wine.

The dried roots can be made into a coffee substitute (I'm not fond of it but some people love it).

And they are everywhere !

I am lucky here in that I can pick masses away from car fumes etc. I wouldn't advise picking them on the side of a road unless it is a road that's barely used. And be careful you don't pick ones that have previously been in areas where you have sprayed weedkiller etc.

The dandelion is a hardy perennial plant, taraxacum officinale. So as an added bonus it keeps coming and coming !!!!!! If you are really keen there are several cultivated varieties too, with keen gardeners often covering the leaves from the light for a couple of weeks before picking, to blanch them.

I don't bother with that, I just pick a few young wild plant leaves now and then for a mixed salad.

And sometimes in a stir fry.



Dandelions are good for both the kidneys and the liver.

The leaves have strong diuretic properties acting on the urinary system. They can help reduce water retention and help remove toxins in the body. A tea made from the leaves will do this.

They contain high levels of potassium.

The roots are good for digestive problems. They stimulate bile secretion and are an excellent remedy for liver and gallbladder conditions when prescribed by a professional herbalist or doctor. They stimulate sluggish digestion and are good for indigestion and mild constipation.

The roots are also a good laxative.

You shouldn't use it for more than a salad if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to Use (for indigestion & mild constipation)

Infuse 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root in boiling water and drink 3 cups a day. Sweeten with honey if you need to improve the taste, but never use sweeteners as they can weaken the effect of the remedy.

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