Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a valuable plant in cooking and in home herbal remedies. All parts of dandelion are usable: flowers, leaves and roots. Dandelion is a blood cleanser and good for the liver, and a great addition to homemade spring detox tea blends.
Some Health Benefits of Dandelion
Dandelion is one of the best herbs for a spring detox. It is an effective diuretic, and dandelion tea is a great home remedy for fluid retention. In herbal medicine dandelion is used in liver and kidney problems. It relieves digestive complaints and constipation; the roots are often used in home remedies to improve digestion.
The leaves contain vitamins A, B, C and D, and they can be used in salads (pick young leaves for their milder flavor and mix with other leafy vegetables and herbs). The flowers are edible, too.
A Few Dandelion Uses:
- pick young leaves and add to salad
- use the yellow flowers to decorate salads
- use the leaves in infusions or herb teas to relieve fluid retention and to stimulate and strengthen the liver and the kidneys
- blend dandelion leaves and flowers with other detoxifying herbs (such as nettle) for a homemade detox infusion
- use the roots in soups and stews: you can also preserve the roots by drying
- the stem and the leaves contain a white milky substance that is a natural home remedy for warts. Break a stem or a leaf, and apply the white “milk” on warts; you’ll need to repeat the treatment daily for a while.
- or use the flowers for a homemade dandelion infused lotion!
I pick dandelion leaves in the spring and dry them for my own tea mixes. I also make strong herbal infusions with fresh dandelion leaves, nettles and birch leaves, and I drink several cups a day for a couple of weeks as a homemade spring detox and liver cleanse.
Dandelion is also a natural fertiliser for other plants. I haven’t used it this way, but here is a recipe from The Complete Book of Herbs: A Practical Guide to Growing and Using Herbs by Lesley Bremness: pick a few whole dandelions (about a handful) and put them in a jar or a jug, pour approximately one quart (about a liter) of boiling water over the plants, cover and let steep for about half an hour. Use as a fertilizer in your herb garden.
More sources: Jekka McVicar: The Complete Herb Book (Firefly Books, 2008)