The sun is shining, the weather is getting warmer as Spring emerges, and in my hand is what will make my wishes come true. Close my eyes, make a wish, count to three and…..blow! The childish delight of watching the thousands of dry dandelion seeds travel on the wind! And of course, if I blew hard enough to remove all seeds with one blow, well the added benefit of a realized wish! Of course, with adulthood, not much faith is placed in the “making a wish” with dandelion seeds, but I certainly have a deep respect for the plant that has so many health benefits.
The Latin name for Dandelion is Taraxacum Officinale and has been referred to by other common names as Puff-ball, Lion’s Tooth, and Wild Endive. The name Dandelion is taken from the French meaning “dent de lion” — Lion’s Tooth. This is a reference to the toothed edges of its leaves.
It is commonly thought to have been included as one of the “bitter herbs” that was mentioned in the Bible and has recorded use from the 10th century as an excellent diuretic and laxative.
Nicholas Culpeper, a physician and herbalist in the 17th century, was always a man for the common people and set about translating the English Physician’s Pharmacopoeia from the professional’s Latin to the common man’s English. In doing so, he was defamed by his colleagues, but very much respected and popular among the common community he served. Culpeper wrote this about Dandelion: “It is of an opening and cleansing quality, therefore, very effectual for the obstructions for the liver, gall, and spleen. It opens the passages of the urine both in the young and old, powerfully cleanses and doth afterward heal them.”
Cleansing and healing! The Dandelion is full of health benefits. With constituents like phenolic acids that help with inflammation, polysaccharides to enhance digestion, and inulin to feed good gut flora, these are just a few of the health benefits found in the roots. The flowers contain nutritive Vitamins A and B-2 and minerals. When used as a diuretic, Dandelion is amazingly effective, but without the side effect of mineral depletion that can occur with pharmaceutical diuretics. This diuretic effect makes Dandelion helpful in cases of hypertension and edema. The cleansing properties of Dandelion make is helpful in uses for skin issues like Psoriasis and Eczema.
Although (unfortunately) it is considered a weed to many, it grows rampant in the U.S. It can be found wild most anywhere, but if wildcrafting the plant, please be careful of any toxins that may have been sprayed on the ground or chemicals dumped in the ground. It can be used in tea or capsules. And of course, there is the fun way to benefit from Dandelion blossoms….Dandelion Wine!
Here is a recipe from the Late Dr. Phil Fritchey. Enjoy!
- 2 quarts of fresh Dandelion flowers (making sure they have not been sprayed!)
- 2 quarts of spring water
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon
- 3 cups of brown turbinado sugar
- ½ packet of yeast
Carefully remove stems from the flowers. Place in a large crock or non-metal pan. Thinly slice the orange and lemon and add to the flowers, along with the sugar. Bring water to a boil and pour over the flowers, fruit and sugar. Cover loosely and let set two days, stirring occasionally. Strain liquid into another large pot and add yeast. Cover loosely again and allow to ferment in a warm place for two weeks. Skim off any foam, and carefully pour off wine, trying not to disturb any sediment. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator in tightly sealed bottles.
“Wishing” you health and Blessings,
Kim Anderson, ND
Randy Lee, BSE, MS, ND, is the Owner of The Health Patch, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, 73130. Call us at (405) 736-1030 and visit our website at www.thehealthpatch.com.