By Valerie Lull, MH
Dandelions are an ancient plant that has been used for culinary and medicinal purposes for ages. Dandelion even has its parallels in astrology. The flower is the sun, the puff-ball is the moon and the seeds are the stars. Blowing the puff-ball and seeing how many seeds are left was an indicator of how many children you would have.
In today’s world dandelion is usually viewed as a weed, particularly if it settles in someone’s lawn. In the world of herbs dandelion has a prominent place and has many medicinal uses. Here are five.
- Dandelion root according to folklore is considered a “liver tonic”. The herb causes the liver to produce more bile, thereby aiding digestion.
- Dandelion has diuretic properties and is useful for controlling high blood pressure. Many blood pressure medicines reduce the amount of water in the body which lowers the blood pressure.
- Dandelion tea is great for digestion, helping to reduce bloating and possibly helping with constipation. It is also used to stimulate appetite.
- Dandelion root is being studied to see if it can fight cancer; particularly melanoma.
- Dandelion combined with Uva Ursi is thought to possibly help urinary tract infections. Both the root and the leaves are used.
Dandelion can be made into a tea or a coffee. Both the leaves and the roots can be to make these beverages. Below is a recipe for dandelion coffee.
Collect the roots or buy them from an herbal supply business. Cut them into small pieces, put them on a cookie sheet and dry them in the oven at around 200º. . This takes about 30 minutes. Be sure they are really dry. Grind them in a coffee grinder. Store them in an air tight container. To make the coffee put a teaspoon of the grind into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 5 – 20 minutes depending on how strong you want it. If desired add sweetener. Enjoy!
Don’t try to use dandelion or any other herb for medicinal uses without first consulting your health care provider. Many herbs and medicines do not mix and could cause side effects.
Chatterjee, S. J., Ovadje, P., Mousa, M., Hamm, C., & Pandey, S. (2011). The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2011, 129045. http://doi.org/10.1155/2011/129045