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The bright and cheerful flowers of the pesky dandelion are not a welcome sight in perfect lawns! Most consider it a troublesome weed. Dandelion grows just about anywhere and is widely distributed throughout the world.

However, dandelions are used as an herbal remedy, and can be bought dried in herbal stores at $20 or more a pound. But you can gather your own fresh dandelion and dry it yourself. Check with your doctor before taking this herb.

First, make a positive identification of the plant and gather only perfect ones. Also make sure that you gather it where no pesticides have been used. Dry in a warm, airy place, out of sunlight. Store the dried leaves and flowers in a brown paper bag, to keep mold from forming on them.

Dandelion is a blood purifier. The root has digestive enzymes. Dandelion is a laxative. It promotes liver function. Dandelion leaves are a powerful diuretic. And they improve the appetite. Dandelion restores and improves the entire system, and increases liver, pancreas and spleen activity.

Dandelion also stimulates the body’s production of insulin. Water retention and gout respond well to dandelion. Because it is high in natural sodium, it protects the lining of the stomach and joints, thereby helping to relieve ulcers and arthritis. It has even been found useful in some cases of low blood pressure and anemia.

You can, of course, use dandelion leaves fresh, in salads and juicing. Dandelion is packed with vitamin A and C, and has a good dosage of potassium. Dandelion is listed in the U.S Pharmacopoeia. Some mention has been made as to the use of dandelion against certain malignant tumors, but there is no scientific evidence to back this up.

An appetite stimulating, bitter tonic made from dandelion leaves, has been used for many years. This is how the tonic is made:

Take 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves and pour 1 cup of boiling water over them. Let steep for 5 minutes; then strain into a cup. Cool to lukewarm before you drink it. If you want to use fresh dandelion leaves to make the tonic, triple

To make a dandelion decoction, put 3 teaspoonfuls of dried root into a cup of water in a pan. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Cool before using. The leaves, of course, are good raw in a salad.

The humble dandelion has, in fact, too numerous health benefits to mention here. Consult your favorite herbalist or herb book for further information. Dandelion is a good weed!