Dandelions: An Herbal Medicine
Dandelions are more than a weed. They are used in herbal medications, cooking, and wine making.
Usually when we see Dandelions we think of weeds instead of an herb – one that has medicinal and food values. Dandelions are more than a weed and are used for many patent medicines and not just to make wine.
The roots are cultivated and used as a remedy for gall stones, liver and kidney problems. Many years ago, Dandelion juice was widely used both in official and domestic medicine. It is also used as a diuretic and since Dandelion is not poisonous it can be taken in large doses.
The leaves are used in salads, as a seasoning and contain more beta-carotene than carrots. Dandelion greens are widely used in salads. The roots are used as a coffee substitute and as a laxative. The flower heads are used for making dandelion wine. The dandelion plant contains a white milky substance (called latex) that when converted is made into a combustible fuel.
The roots should be fresh and dried, and the young flower tops are used for medicinal purposes. Only the older large and well-formed roots should be cultivated and not the slender ones. Like asparagus, dandelions should be cultivated after they have matured for two years.
If you decide to grow and cultivate your own Dandelions, make sure that they are grown in a pesticide free environment. In addition, be careful not to waste any of the milky substance as the medicinal value of the plant depends on this white juice. Dandelions take an entire week to dry. When finished drying, the roots should be brittle and the inside of the roots should be white. To avoid molding, store in a dry place. Be sure to store then in containers to avoid insect infestation. Do not keep for more than one year.
You can purchase dried dandelion root either online or at your local health food store.