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WEEDS FOR WELLNESS – DANDELION

Finally the bright yellow flowers are brightening the landscape – a sure sign that spring is here to stay. Hard to believe that herbalists have great appreciation for this marvelous creation of nature? We use flowers, buds, leaves and roots as food and medicine. My grandkids nibble on the flowers and young leaves.

Last year I made a crown out of dandelion flowers for my then 4 year old grand daughter. She was wearing it proudly as we walked into Canadian Tire. With great joy I observed the reactions of customers especially when we were wandering around the Round-up shelf. So much fun!

Be creative and “brave” – eat flowers and young leaves, add both to salads, make a Dandelion flower cold infusion. Decorate ice creams and cakes … and most of all, have fun and be grateful for the gift of this plant that most consider to be a pesky weed.

DANDELION – Taraxacum off. – Asteraceae famly

PARTS USED: Roots, stems, leaves and flowers

HARVEST TIME
Roots: Spring before flowering or fall after first frost
Leaves: Early spring, throughout summer (leaves increase in bitter taste with age)
Flowers: When in full bloom

NUTRITIONAL VALUE
Rich in minerals such as calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon, and zinc. Vitamins A, B complex, C and D.
Carotenoids, fatty acids, flavenoids and phytosterols.
NOTE: The roots are exceptionally high in vitamin A

THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS
Leaf: Diuretic (high in potassium) – Choleretic (stimulates bile production by liver) – Aperient (mild laxative)
Root: Bitter digestive tonic; nutritive – Choleretic, cholagogue – Aperient, laxative – Anti-rheumatic, anit-inflammatory (animal studies)
Sap: Keratolytic (breaks down outer layer of skin)

INDICATIONS
Leaf: Water retention
Root: Inadequate bile production, gallstones, liver/gall bladder insufficiency, congestive jaundice, Dyspepsia, lack of appetite
Sap of stalks, roots, or leaves: Warts, cankers

FORM OF PREPARATION
Infusions (leaves; flowers) – Decoctions (root) – Tinctures – Vinegars (roots, leaves, flowers) – Infused Oils – Salves – Food (leaves, petals, young roots)

CONTRA-INDICATIONS
No reported toxicity; however some people experience sensitivity reactions

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