DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale)

Worldwide distribution, but originating from Central Asia, this plant is so called because its leaves resemble the teeth of a lion, from the French Dente de lion. Used by the Chinese since the 7th century and in Europe since 1485.

The leaves and flowers can be eaten in a salad or the latter to make wine, and the roasted roots make a good caffeine free coffee substitute or can be steamed and eaten like asparagus. It was traditionally used as a spring tonic after a winter of eating heavy foods. It is a rich source of vitamins A (higher than carrots), B, C, D and E and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, boron and potassium hence its use as a general tonic, cleansing and detoxifying plant. The leaves were used to produce a deep magenta dye. Apparently rubbing on an infused oil of the flowers is good for the breasts!


Leaves (gather April-May before flowering) - taken as tea or tincture these act as a non-irritating diuretic (it is called pis en lit in French, literally wet the bed!). They are also a rich source of potassium. Unlike most diuretics, which deplete this vital mineral, dandelion adds more potassium than is lost through diuresis.
Used for:
· High blood pressure- fluid loss and reduction of sodium
· Fluid retention including PMS (have leaf tea before your period to reduce bloating & water retention)
· As a digestive tonic and to stimulate the appetite and improve assimilation of nutrients (contains inulin)
· Anaemia
· Osteoporosis
· Cleansing for rheumatism and arthritis
· Use tender macerated leaves as a face pack to treat skin impurities

DO NOT use if you have low blood pressure or suffer from an excess of Potassium, or with prescription diuretics.
Use the juice on warts BUT DO NOT INGEST by sucking stems as this can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea

Roots - stimulate liver metabolism and bile formation (the body’s own laxative)
Used to:
· Aid cleansing and the clearance of toxins so excellent for hormonal (e.g. acne) or chronic skin problems
· Promote digestion and increase gastric juices
· Relieve flatulence and constipation can help sufferers of IBS
· As a prophylactic against gall and urinary stones because it encourages flow so stones are less likely to have time to develop BUT DO NOT USE if you already have gallstones
· May help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels

DO NOT use with antibiotics as levels in the blood will be reduced, or with blood sugar medications


French Salad – Fry Bacon with garlic and onions until it is crisp. Add a tablespoon of white wine to the hot bacon and onion and then pour over tender young leaves

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