Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale

The dandelion is a perennial, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves. Dandelion – the ‘dent de lion’ (French for lion’s teeth given to the jagged shape of their leaves). All parts of the dandelion plant are medicinal. It helps to detoxify the liver, flushing out toxins and alleviates gout and rheumatism!

Dandelion Liver Detox

Dandelion root

Dandelion root

The taproot is edible all year, but is best from late fall to early spring. Use it as a cooked vegetable, especially in soups. Although not as tasty as many other wild root vegetables, Itís not bad. I remember finding large dandelions with huge roots growing on the bottom of a grassy hillside. They were only mildy bitter, so I threw them into a potato stock. With the added scallions, tofu, ginger, carrots and miso, this became an excellent Japanese miso soup.

Here’s how to do it:

Simply air dry the roots for a few days in a sunny spot then roast for a few hours before grinding and adding boiling water. This coffee drink is very tasty but its not the only use, you could make dandelion flower wine or an infused oil to relieve muscular tension and aches!

Did you know

Dandelion root is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies. The specific name, officinale, means that It’s used medicinally. The decoction is a traditional tonic. Itís supposed to strengthen the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder, where it promotes the flow of bile, reduces inflammation of the bile duct, and helps get rid of gall stones. This is due to its taraxacin. Itís good for chronic hepatitis, it reduces liver swelling and jaundice, and it helps indigestion caused by insufficient bile. Don’t use it with irritable stomach or bowel, or if you have an acute inflammation.

The modern French name for this plant is pissenlit (lit means bed) because the root and leaf tea act on the kidneys as a gentle diuretic, improving the way they cleanse the blood and recycle nutrients. Unlike pharmaceuticals diuretics, this doesn’t leach potassium, a vital mineral, from the body. Improved general health and clear skin result from improved kidney function. One man I spoke to even claims he avoided surgery for urinary stones by using dandelion root tea alone.

Dandelions are also good for the bladder, spleen, pancreas, stomach and intestines. Itís recommended for stressed-out, internally sluggish, and sedentary people. Anyone who’s a victim of excessive fat, white flour, and concentrated sweeteners could benefit from a daily cup of dandelion tea.

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