Dandelion - A Perfectly Edible Weed?

I decided to write about this yellow "weed" that grows persistently in our gardens and meadows; normally it crops up everywhere, it can be found practically all over the world.

 

Here I want to include all the information I found about this plant, i.e. how and where to collect it, how to distinguish it from other poisonous plants (false dandelions! read about them by clicking the last link under 'External sources'), what uses it has and what recipes I found for it.

Dandelion – is it really a weed? It is a very valuable medicinal plant, which is used as a whole, i.e. flower, stem and root have rich health-promoting properties.

The end of April and the beginning of May is the best time to harvest this plant, as far as the root is concerned it is better to harvest it in the autumn, then it is less fibrous. The leaves, on the other hand, are good to collect between April and June.

If you are going to go look for dandelions, then start by choosing a place.

 

It is important that it is not by a busy road, so that the meadows are away from motor traffic. Pay attention if your chosen location is near any agricultural fields where they may use different types of fertilizers (and I do not mean those "natural" fertilizers). It is important to be away from all kinds of pollution, because dandelions very much absorb pollution from the outside and from the soil.

When picking, it's a good idea to remember to wear gloves so your hands don't get stained.

Before you start picking dandelions, make sure that it is definitely a dandelion, and not a false one like a yellow thistle. They are two similar flowers; dandelions are edible, whilst yellow thistles are considered poisonous. You should pay attention to where you pick your plants from!

So how do you tell them apart?

 

Dandelions have many properties and uses, both the dandelion flower as well as stem and root. The plant is used in pharmaceutical products, in natural remedies for diseases of the liver, pancreas and other parts of the digestive system as well as the kidneys and in cleansing products. At the beginning of diabetes it lowers the level of glucose in blood. It also improves circulation and brain function, brings relief in rheumatic diseases and skin problems. Dandelion can be used internally (tinctures, syrups, infusions, teas, etc.) and externally (ointments, compresses).

Dandelion products stimulate the liver and bile ducts, thanks to which the flow of bile to the duodenum is facilitated. As a result, our body digests better and intestinal peristalsis works better.

Scientific studies have also shown the positive effects of dandelion in preventing cancer, and it does well in fighting cancer cells.

 

In Canada, at the University of Windsor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry discovered that drinking dandelion tea affects cell breakdown within 48 hours while healthy cells remain unaffected.

 

Dandelions are full of vitamins:

Vitamin Agroup B vitamins (thiamine B1, riboflavin B2, niacin B3, pantothenic acid B5, B6, folate / folic acid B9, cobalamin B12), cholinevitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin K.

There are also macronutrients:

phosphoruscalciumsodiumpotassiummagnesium.

And micronutrients:

ironcopperzincmanganeseselenium.

I also found in other sources that the plant also contains: silicon flavonoids and polyphenols (and other antioxidants), asparagine, inulin (prebiotic), compounds with anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antifungal activity.

 

Not surprisingly, dandelion has been found to be useful in avitaminosis. It is worth examining the level of vitamins and minerals in our body. I used an elemental hair analysis, which shows a lot about the nutritional status of our body. More information about the test can be found here: 

👉 Elemental Hair Analysis 

 

 

The flowers are very often used for making syrups, the consistency of which resembles honey. The flowers can be used to make wine with the addition of lemon and sugar. As for the dandelion flowers, they have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and diuretic properties. They also have a positive effect on ovarian problems and menstruation, and flower infusions are good for this purpose.

Young dandelion leaves are suitable for raw consumption as well as cooked. They should be harvested during the flowering period and they can be used for spring salads. Infusions from the leaves have antipyretic, cough suppressant properties, and prevent the formation of gallstones. The leaves have a beneficial effect on joint problems in diseases such as gout.

 

The root is best harvested in autumn, even October-November. After thorough cleaning, cut it into strips and dry it (in the shade and in the air or in drying chambers, but do not exceed 30°C). It can be eaten raw as well as cooked; it has laxative properties. Historically, dandelion root was used similarly to chicory roots. Dandelion root along with burdock root is used in the production of a well-known traditional drink in the UK, Dandelion and burdock.

 

The “milk” contains organic acids, antioxidants, antibacterial, antiviral compounds, so it works well for skin problems. It helps to fight dandruff, acne, warts.

Dandelion is also used in cosmetics; it is added to some skin creams.

 

Precautions or Adverse Effects.

Dandelion should not be used in case of biliary obstruction or gallbladder abscess. In the case of cholelithiasis patients should consult a doctor. This plant is also not recommended in case of gastric ulcers (since bitter compounds contained in dandelion may increase secretion of gastric juices and intensify the ailments). As for the use of dandelion syrup, due to its high sugar content, it is not recommended for diabetics. With tinctures, people who cannot consume alcohol should use dandelion products in other, non-alcoholic forms.

 

WHAT CAN BE MADE FROM DANDELIONS?

Syrups (they are very helpful in upper respiratory tract infections, when you have cough, sore throat or prophylactically build up our immunity), teas, infusions, tinctures, wines.

You can find quite a few recipes on the internet, or maybe you have one handed down from generation to generation - these are the recipes I appreciate the most😊. If you feel like sharing your recipe with us, feel free to post in the comments 😊.

In some recipes it is written to clean the flower. Before you do this, it's worth mentioning not to wash it under running water because you will lose the aromatic and valuable pollen. So if the recipe doesn't call for cleaning, I would skip it, but this is just my opinion. After cutting the flowers clean them of the green remains of the stems, if you leave the remains of the stems they will give a slightly bitter taste. Remember, however, that the older the flower, the more bitter the taste may remain. Spread the flowers e.g. on white paper towels, then any insects contained within have a chance to escape. Leave like this for about 2-3 hours in the sun.

 

Sample recipes I found:

Decoction50g of roots and leavesflower or the root itselfpour into litre of waterBoil minutesSteep 10 minutes under a lidstrainDrink ½ glass daily 30 minutes before meals.

An infusion of the roots and leavesUse in diseases of bile ductsliverurinary tractsindigestionhabitual constipationatherosclerosisacne, skin rashespoor metabolism.

Infusion of the flowerUse for menstrual disordersbleeding, ovarian problemsinflammation of appendages.

Decoction of the rootUse for liver disordersgallstones, internal bleedingcancerous diseases.

Alcohol tincture: using dandelion juice or syrup*use in biliary tract diseasesindigestion 15-20 drops per water2-3 times a day with meals*dandelion juice (succus taraxaci in pharmaciesor squeezed from cleaned dandelion roots or syruppour litre of water on approx. 250 flower baskets and boil for minutesSet aside for an hour and then strain the decoction. Boil the decoction on low heat for 3-5 hoursstirring without bringing to a boilAdd kg of sugar and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.

Dandelion flower wine250 g of the flowerkg of sugarlitres of water50 g of wine yeast, set in a dark place for a few weekspour the wine into bottles and store in a dark placeUse a tiny glass twice a day for digestive and feminine ailments.

Saladssyrupsbeveragessoups – several ways to prepare according to recipes found online

 

External sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonchus_arvensis 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum_officinale

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandelion_and_burdock

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_dandelion

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