Botanical Name - Taraxacum officinale
English Name - Dandelion
Dandelion is the hardy perennial herb and a tasty salad vegetable. The flower stems of this plant grows up to a height of 30 cm. The fleshy hollow stem carries a single bright yellow flower.
The common name dandelion comes from the french dent de lion, meaning lion's tooth and refers to the dentate leaf edges. It grows wild almost everywhere. It is native to Europe. In India is found throughout the Himalayas.
Nutritionally, it has remarkable value. It contains almost as much iron as spinach, four times the vitamin A content of lettuce and is a very high source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, calcium and sodium. An analysis of dandelion shows it to consist of protein, fat and carbohydrates. It's mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C and A. Its calorific value is 45.
The entire plant is used by herbalists although the tea is usually brewed from its root which is a tonic. It increases the secretion and discharge of urine and acts as a mild purgative.
The readily available organic magnesium in dandelion is valuable for all bone disorders. Making the juice of the leaves with or without the roots is beneficial.
Liver and gall bladder dysfunction
Dandelion helps both liver and gallbladder in their role of handling fats within the body. It also helps the liver in detoxification. Giving the juice of watercress together with the dandelion helps the liver and the gall bladder to become better. It also has a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Sufferers from hepatitis can greatly benefit from dandelion tea.
Dandelion can be used as a general body tonic because of its influence in supporting waste functions of bowel, bladder and skin, which are the eliminating organs of our body.
Dandelion tea made from the buds, flowers, fresh leaves or even blanched leaves, can be very useful in case of urinary disorders. It is however important to drink plenty of water, so that there can be a free flow of urine.
Dandelion is useful in the treatment of warts. The milk from the cut end of the dandelion should be put on the ward twice or thrice a day.
Tender leaves of dandelions are used as a salad vegetable. The leaves should be torn to pieces rather than cut to keep their pungent flavour.
The tasty and beneficial soup can be made with chopped dandelion leaves. The dried leaves are used for tea and as an ingredient in diet drinks. Dandelion coffee is made from it's dried roasted and ground roots. It is a natural beverage without the harmful effects of the conventional tea and coffee.