Some Thoughts on Dandelions

by Susan A.Smith

Nearly everyone can identify them. Taxaracum officinale (taraxos meaning disorder and achos meaning remedy) is a perennial with no poisonous look-alikes. It is higher in beta carotene than carrots and higher in iron and calcium than spinach. Its taproot sucks minerals from the earth.

In Ayurveda (meaning the science of life), dandelion is indicated for hepatitis and other liver problems, gallstones, congested lymph nodes, breast sores, diabetes and cancer. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dandelion is used as an anti-inflammatory, chologogue (stimulating bile flow), diuretic and antimicrobial.

The Wise Woman herbal tradition tells us that dandelion is valuable for pelvic congestion, regulates hormonal changes during menopause, increases breast milk and helps fertility (not necessarily in that order).

In France, they call dandelion "pissenlit" or piss in bed because it's a diuretic par excellence and safe because it contains so much potassium.

Here in the U.S., it's a weed.

You don't have to be a witch to begin using herbs wisely and well. Dandelion is probably growing in your lawn right now! Use it to recover from alcohol or drug abuse, overeating and overuse of antibiotics. Dandelion works slowly, but steadily. Tear the leaves into spring salads and stirfries. Use the roots fresh or dried in vinegar, teas and soups. Put the sap on warts, corns, calluses, hard pimples, bee stings, old sores and blisters. When the flowers have gone to seed, blow on them and make a wish. In fact, go outside and get some right now.



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