The dandelion is perhaps one of the most important plants we have, but we forget all about it! It’s scientific name, Taraxacum offinale means ‘The official healer of diseases’.
The dandelion, or dente de lion, was once grown in the UK like a salad vegetable in gardens, but this use has long passed. The leaves, stem and root have a strongly diuretic effect, reflected in the alternative name of piss en lit, or wet the bed.
It is a member of the compositae and gives a group of yellow florets on a single stem. The juice of the dandelion has two main uses, as does a tea made from the root and leaves, which have to be dried first.
Firstly, as stated, it is a diuretic – promoting the production of urine. This can help with swelling, oedema, and possibly gout. It can also be useful in the treatment of kidney and bladder infections.
It also stimulates the liver to produce bile.
If you have unusual or large swellings of the ankles, legs, stomach or abdomen generally, it is most important to visit your doctor. It could signify problems simply not treatable with dandelion such as heart failure, poor circulation or liver problems. Siilarly, if you have abdominal pains and difficulty in passing water, visit your doctor.
The leaves are good in salad, particularly in the sprinng.
To prepare dandelion tea
Mak sure the source of dandelions is clean, do not take plants growing on walls or by roadsides ot polluted land. Do not take plants growing near animal mess.
Dig up the whole plant, and soak in salted water overnight. I use about 6 plants at a time.
Chop the roots and leaves and place either in a very low oven with the door open or in a tin or tray over a radiator and leave for many days to dry completely. You can also use an electric dehumidifier.
Place the pieces into a mortar and pestil and bas into a rough powder.
Seal in an airtight box.
Use a the rate of 1 tsp per cup of hot, but not boiling water. One cup a day promotes increased urine production.