Dandelion
Dandelion
Dandelion
Dandelion

Dandelion

Taraxacum

Dandelion has been been praised for its aid for promoting kidney and liver function as well as digestion. Naturally detoxifies for overall health and wellness.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers, Leaves, Stems & Roots
  • Side Effects: Those on blood thinners or diuretics should avoid dandelion.
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About Dandelion

Dandelion is a ubiquitous plant that has attained its name from French dents-de-lion, the tooth of the lion. The idea behind such a fancy name is that the vibrant yellow-colored flowers represent the lion while the serrated leaves depict its teeth.
This tap-rooted, herbaceous perennial belongs to the family Asteraceae.

The serrated leaves are 2 to 10 inches long while the color of its flower dangles from yellow to orange that stays open in day time but closes at night. Its taproot can amazingly penetrate the soil up to 10 to 15 feet.

From root to fluff, the plant is brimmed with a myriad of fringe benefits. It believed to treat gastrointestinal and liver problems. Also, it has been seen that this vibrant plant can manage acne, eczema, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cancer too. Above all, it is famous for its purported anxiolytic properties along with the strengthening of bones and prevention of urinary tract infection.

The whole plant of dandelion is abundant with a plethora active ingredients, including, bitter glycosides, triterpenoids, tannins, volatile oils, inulin, vitamins A, B complex, C, Calcium, Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Protein, Selenium, Silicon, Sodium, Zinc.

The history of Dandelions is as old as humans. Its use is documented by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians where it was initially used as a diuretic and for improvement in the functionality of the digestive tract. Later on, with the advancement of the world, the uses of Dandelion got recognition and more benefits got associated with it that revolutionized its profile.

Growing

While some gardeners take the existence of Dandelions a nuisance, the knowledge of benefits it confers can lead acres of land just devoted to this plant. It can tolerate the coldest days of winters and even the hottest days of summer.

They prosper robustly in well-drained and fertile soil. It is preferable to plant the seeds of dandelions four to six weeks before the last frost date in spring. Both full and partial exposures of the sun are favorable for the growth.

For the indoor frames, a sunny region such as the porch is adopted for the growth of the Dandelion plant. The seeds are sown at the onset of spring. The pot is then watered along with fertilizers to witness healthy growth. The same procedures are adopted for outdoor plantation.

Dandelion is a perennial plant that gives the world a view of long life. After 14 to 21 days of the plantation, germination ensues; this is then followed by the fashion of further growth of the plant.

Soon the flowering process commences approximately 56 to 105 days from sowing. The pollination of dandelion occurs through wind and insects. The pollens get carried away to their fated stigmas to bring about the fusion of gametes. This fusion is then chased by the process of fertilization which results in a dramatic development of fruit with seeds.

The seeds then disseminate themselves the plant self-seeds prolifically for the perpetuation of the lifecycle.

Harvesting

From root to blossom, the Dandelion plant is of utmost importance due to the presence of plenty of minerals and beneficial ingredients.

The ideal time to harvest the chief parts of the Dandelion plant is in spring. The plant confers bitter taste when it gets old so it is better to go for them when they are young to experience their sweet flavor. The leaves are harvested before the plant enters the flowering process because, after that, the leaves turn bitter. Lastly, the roots should be harvested when the plant is dormant i.e. late fall to enjoy the perks of all the stored up energy.

The flowers, leaves, and roots of Dandelion are harvested zealously to cash in its benefits. 

The flowers are classically plucked off of the stem and the flower is then broken apart from its green base as it renders bitter flavor. For leaves, just clip them off from the plant prior to the flowering process. To become more audacious, harvest its root by moving the soil and digging up the part. The dirt is freed and the taproot is pulled out.

The leaves of the Dandelion plant are washed thoroughly, wrapped in a damp cloth, and stored in an open plastic bag.
For flowers, they need to be dried utterly and stored in an airtight jar.
The roots of the plant are also first dried (air dry or use the oven) until they are crisp and then they are stored in an airtight jar that should sit in a cool and dry place.

Usage

There are many ways to slip this valuable plant in your routine to experience its medicinal properties.

  • Tincture- Infuse freshly chopped roots/stems or flowers in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea- Flowers, leaves or roots (dried or fresh) are employed to form an herbal Dandelion tea.
  • Decoction- Dried flowers, leaves, or roots can be simmered in water for the creation of dandelion decoction.
  • Salve- Fresh dandelion petals are employed along with other ingredients to make a dandelion salve.
  • Syrup- Fresh dandelion petals are steeped overnight in water. The liquid is then strained and sugar is added to form a dandelion syrup.
  • Infused oil- Dried dandelion parts are topped up with carrier oil (olive oil) for around two weeks. The jar is given a shake occasionally and the liquid is strained to it as Dandelion oil.