Disguised as a humble weed, dandelion has a long usage in both herbal medicine and in cooking.
Dandelion has been used traditionally as a liver tonic by increasing the secretion of bile via its slightly bitter taste, improving processing and clearance of toxins by the liver and kidney, and from the blood. It has also been used for treating diabetes, rheumatic conditions, heartburn, bruises, hives, eczema and digestive complaints such as dyspepsia, lack of appetite and constipation. The dandelion has a large tap root which is a powerhouse of blood purifying, liver cleansing, skin clearing action. It is also chock full of nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin A & C, silicon, zinc, potassium, calcium, and iron. Dandelion has also been shown to stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and has antiviral and antifungal properties. The leaves are best recognised for their diuretic properties, helping with fluid retention and urinary output, however the root also has these qualities. Leaves can be sautéd, steamed, or added to salads and soups – give them a go!
Trying to cut down on coffee?
Great! Dandelion root can make a decent substitute. Put ground dandelion root in your coffee machine, add it to your percolator, teapot, or use a teabag to create a gutsy herbal tea that you can add milk to (and honey/sugar if you like) and know that your liver, kidneys, spleen and pancreas are shouting THANK-YOU! Vary the amount you use depending on how strong you like it, but a good starting point might be a tablespoon for a cup and infuse for 5 minutes. To harness the full power, place in a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer on low for 10 minutes.
Another take on this tea tonic is to make a dandelion chai…