Alright folks, its time to talk botanical medicine for a few days in what I am calling a 7 part herbal series. In the world of health and wellness, spring marks the time to detox and cleanse, like spring cleaning.
Let's start with a plant that needs no introduction: dandelion! So quick we are to point to this plant as weed or pest with it commonly sprouting up on our lawns, in garden beds and at the roadside.
Yet, with European roots (no pun intended) this springtonic is a unique and extremely versatile plant; all parts can be used including roots, leaves and flower, each providing their own unique benefits. The roots are typically used for liver and digestive concerns such as poor appetite, indigestion and a fatty liver. The leaves can be used for their diuretic properties in cases of edema. As a whole it makes an awesome post workout electrolyte mix too!
As a medicinal: prepare as an infusion or decoct for a stronger brew. You can also purchase alcohol extractions in different strengths and parts used(root/leaf/whole plant) tincture(1:5) or liquid extracts (1:1). Try any of these for several days during this seasonal transition to get that spring cleaning started.
As a food: fresh dandelion leaves are commonly used in salads and sandwiches (over $3 million/ year industry in the US!). The dried roots can be slow roasted as a coffee substitute. Flowers are used for making wine and other spirits (as recent as a decade ago!).
As you can tell, dandelions have so many health benefiting purposes and are used in so many unique ways. With that, I'll leave you with this:
"The next time you spend an hour removing dandelions from your garden or lawn, turn them into medicine instead of throwing them out, and rejoice in the fact they will always grow back!" - M. Seal.