By Mary Welty
Medicinal Part: Plant
Description: The dandelion is a perennial plant found, to the dismay of many, almost everywhere.
Properties and Uses: Aperient, Cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, tonic. Dandelion has two particularly important uses: to promote the formation of bile and to remove excess water from the body in edemous conditions resulting from liver problems. The root especially affects all forms of secretion and excretion from the body. By acting to remove poisons from the body, it acts as a tonic and stimulant as well.1
I was in my early teens before I discovered that most people considered the dandelion a weed. All I remember is being rousted out of bed extra early on Sunday mornings to collect dandelion leaves in the park, before the sun dried the dew from the leaves. "Only pick the leaves without flowers," my Godmother would remind us. Dandelion was invariably the main ingredient in the salad for Sunday night dinner.
Dandelion leaves have a wonderful, slightly bitter flavor, and when mixed with more traditional greens such as romaine or iceberg lettuce, add a more robust flavor to the salad. The leaves should be picked before the plant flowers for the best flavor.
Dandelion leaves also make an excellent tea. It is especially useful for flushing excess fluids from the body, but unlike conventional diuretics, dandelion does not leach potassium from the body. Its rich potassium content replaces that which the body looses.2
1. The Herb Book, by John Lust, Benedict Lust Pub., May
M.K. Welty hosts an informational website on herbs, herbal remedies and herbal gardening. For more great tips on Using Herbs and Herbal Gardening visit, http://www.UsingHerbs.Com
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