Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Lion’s tooth, Puffball, Blowball, Monk’s head

Main Facts about Dandelion

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), Lion’s tooth, Puffball, Blowball, Monk’s head
With about hundreds of species worlwide Dandelion has been used as a potherb and medicinal plant since Roman times. The plants have deeply notched, toothy, hairless leaves and bright yellow flowers. The leaves are so deeply toothed, they gave the plant its name: Dent-de-lion means lion's tooth in Old French. The flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather.The flower head can change into the familiar, white, globular seed head overnight. Each seed has a tiny parachute, to spread far and wide in the wind. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly. All parts of this plant exude a white milky sap when broken.

Using Dandelion

Dandelion roots are mainly used to stimulate the appetite, and to detoxify liver and gallbladder. They may act likee a mild laxative and have been used to improve digestion. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of too much fluid (to help kidney function). The leaves are also used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. The flowers have antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system. Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used to improve upset stomach. When the stomach is irritated and where active treatment would be injurious, the decoction or extract of Dandelion administered three or four times a day, will often prove a valuable remedy. The leafs' white, milky sap removes warts, moles, pimples, calluses, and sores, and soothes bee stings and blisters.

Dandelion is a remedy for: Constipation

Cooking with Dandelion

Mature leaves are often dried and used to make a mild tea. Roots are used to make stronger tea or dried. Pre-boiling and changing the water, or long, slow simmering mellows Dandelion root. It is best complemented by sweet vegetables. Sauteing the roots in olive oil also improves them, creating a robust flavor. Salads, beer, and wine are made from the leaves and flowers. The greens are best eaten when young. The young stems, when peeled can be eaten like asparagus. The roots can be used as a coffee substitute (along with chicory). Flowers are sweetest when picked young. They have a sweet, honeylike flavor. Dandelion buds (young, unopened flowers) are tastier than the flowers.

How to grow Dandelion

Dandelion is a perennial that grows best in moist areas in full sun; however, it can survive some shade and dry conditions once established. Dandelion can be a major weed problem for turf and ornamental plants. It is difficult to exterminate and grow more under adverse circumstances than most competitors. The taproot is deep, twisted, and brittle. Unless you remove it completely, it will regenerate.

Dandelion Toxic Look-alikes

Almost all dandelion-like plants are edible, except Groundsel which has flower buds that never open.
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