(Taraxacum officinale L.)
Description: Basal whorl of toothed leaves. Yellow, regular flowers. Common yard bounty. Photo and informationTIP: This plant is easily grown indoors in the window. Eight plants under lights or in a window will provide ample amounts of edible leaves for two people.
Food: My favorite vitamin and mineral rich salad green. Eat it daily year around. Tear it into small pieces for salad, mix with thyme and fennel, nasturtiums, along with other salad leaves (see recipes). Thyme and fennel balance the bitterness in the dandelions. Make a mineral rich tea from roots and leaves. Gently simmer chopped fresh root for mildly to very bitter tea. COOKING: fresh leaves early in season on salads, as season progresses leaves become more bitter, pour copious amount of water on plant in evening before morning harvest to sweeten leaves. Leaves even when bitter are great in stir fry, try cooking with tofu, meat eaters try oyster oil, cayenne, dandelion and beef strips.Medicine: Dandelion is one of the most potent diuretics, performance equal to prescription pharmaceutical furosemide in animal studies. Dandelions are stimulating, a tonic and mild laxative with blood glucose regulating capacity. The bitter taste of dandelion is an appetite stimulant and stimulates entire digestive system (cholagogue) improves appetite and may be helpful treating anorexia. Raises HCL in stomach, improving calcium breakdown and absorption. Spurs bile production. Bile is necessary for fat and cholesterol emulsification, digestion and absorption. Fiber locks up bile thereby preventing emulsification of saturated fat and cholesterol. This causes the liver to make more bile from cholesterol. Thus, dandelion and other bitter high fiber greens can theoretically lower cholesterol in three ways: 1. They stimulate secretion of bile requiring more production of bile from cholesterol. 2. Fiber in the plants locks up bile in the digestive system preventing cholesterol emulsification, thus it cannot be absorbed. 3. Fiber removes bile from body, requiring the liver to break down more cholesterol to make more bile (these factors may effect atherosclerosis, reduce stroke, and lower blood pressure, hypertension). Liver cleansing and tonic. Stimulate liver, may aid digestion, and help cleanse blood. Diuretic that may be helpful for PMS.
Mild laxative. May relieve inflammation and congestion of gall bladder and liver. May lower cholesterol and blood pressure (hypotensive).
Chemistry: Leaves high in cancer fighting antioxidants, vitamin C and Beta Carotene. Root contains inulin, gluten, potassium, taraxacin. White latex like exudant is made up of alcohols, (glycerin) caoutchouc, taraxasterols and acetic and other acids. Essential fats linoleic and linolenic in roots, leaves and seeds. Beta sitosterol in flowers as well as flavonoids, lutein, flavoxanthin...(5) (6)
Wildlife/Veterinarian: Goldfinch like the seeds, another great reason to grow this in your lawn. Dandelion root and dandelion tea is an integral constituent of my pigeon racing formula teas.