Dandelion is a flowering plant that belongs to the family Asteraceae. There are around 30 species of dandelion that can be found all over the world it has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic. In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion.
In Chinese medicine, the dandelion plant has been used for over thousand years in treating various conditions like diabetes, cancers, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.
Many herbalists regard the dandelion as an effective treatment for liver disease, useful even in such extreme cases as cirrhosis . It cleanses the bloodstream and increases bile production, and is a good remedy for gall bladder problems as well. The herb is also a boon to such other internal organs as the pancreas, kidneys, stomach, and spleen. The herb is useful in cases of anemia and hepatitis , and may lower elevated blood pressure.
Dandelion may also provide relief for rheumatism and arthritis.
The roots of the dandelion can be eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute.
The greens (rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C) can be eaten raw, steamed or boiled. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking. The dried leaf, taken as a tea, is used as a mild laxative to relieve constipation. Dandelion leaf is also a good natural source of potassium, and will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the herb’s diuretic action on the kidneys. This characteristic makes dandelion a safe diuretic in cases of water retention due to heart problems.
The flowers can be added to a salad and also used for wine.
other interesting facts:
The word “dandelion” comes from the French name for the plant “dents de lion” which means “teeth of the lion” in reference to the jagged leaves of the plant.
It can be used to dye for coloring. Dandelion flower heads make dye in the yellow-green range. The leaves will make a purple dye.
Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.