The wonders of nature abound with the weed called Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale). Often called a weed by city-dwellers in North American and Europe, it serves many useful purposes to the herbalist and gardener. This perennial plant may be known by any of its common names, which include blowball, cankerwort, swine snout, priest’s crown, lion’s tooth, puffball, and wild endive.
One of the first vegetables/herbs that children learn to recognize is Dandelion. Easy to identify by the oblong, irregular leaves that grows in a rosette. Each plant has a yellow flower that blooms in late spring. The blowball holds the seed or fruit of the dandelion. Each seed has a parachute or tuft that allows the seed to be easily carried by the wind.
Rich in vitamins and iron, Dandelions are more nutritious than spinach and have been eaten for centuries as a springtime tonic and blood-cleaner. The slightly bitter leaves are high in potassium, so serve them with a nice iceberg or roman lettuce. The dandelion acts as an aperient, cholagogue, diuretic and stomachic. It works by promoting bile and removes excess waters. This helps to move poisons from the body. Common ails which dandelion acts as a remedy include: gout and arthritis.
For herbal usage, pick the whole plant before it flowers or leaves when it’s flowering or the root in the autumn.
Caution: Know what you pick.
Caution: Pick plants without pesticides or herbicides, which pretty much means pick from your own yard.
Dandelion root has made a break through onto the health food markets in recent years as the main ingredient in herbal formulas for diet, PMS, menopause, pregnancy, detoxification, liver, kidney, immune disorders and acne.
Infusion: Steep 2 tsp. of plant or root per 1 cup of boiling water.
Spring Tonic: Press the leaves for the milk or juice the leaves in a juicer. Take 1 tsp. of the milk/juice 1 – 3 times per day.
1 small lettuce
4 spring onions
4 oz radishes
3 oz watercress
2-oz young dandelion leaves
4 tbsp. parsley
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
Shred the leafy vegetables; chop the radish and onions. Mix together. Season with pepper. Toss. Mix the oil & vinegar. Pour over salad. Toss and serve.
Pennsylvania Dutch Dandelion Gravy
(Dandelion Doings newsletter)
4-6 pieces of bacon
2 hardboiled eggs
1-cup dandelion greens
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
2-3 Tbsp. vinegar
1 heaping Tbsp. Mayonnaise
½ tsp. salt
1 quart water
Cut bacon into small pieces and fry in a skillet. Remove the pieces, leaving the juice. Stir in flour and salt. Brown. Add 1-qt water and stir well. Bring to a boil. Add vinegar, brown sugar and mayonnaise. Stir well. Bring to boil again. Added diced egg and bacon pieces.
Chop dandelion greens. Pour heated mixture over the greens. Mix.
Best served over mashed or baked potatoes.
by Elizabeth Willis DeHuff
Slim little girls with green flounced dresses
Dandelions stand with yellow shaggy hair.
Soon they grow to gray-haired ladies.
Whose locks sail away through the air.
Ashamed of her baldness, each of these dears,
Fringes a cap, which she always wears.