Dandelion – friend or foe

According to legend Dandelion is said to contain the Spirit of Fairies (Nature Spirits).  It is this super-natural power allegedly created by these Spirit Beings that enables Dandelion to survive and gives it the tenacious resilience to grow anywhere, in any conditions.  Therefore, it is not surprising that this incredible “weed” symbolises adaptability.

Although regarded as a common weed, this member of the Sunflower family known as Dandelion (or Lion’s Teeth) has been one of the most respected healing plants for several thousand years. Evidence shows Dandelion was used as a medicinal herb in China around the 7th Century, in Ancient Greece and during the Middle Ages.  Stories of Dandelion are found in folklore tradition around the world.

Classified as a bitter herb with cool energy, Dandelion is one of the most nutrient-rich plants in nature.  All parts of the plant are edible.  The young leaves can be steamed or eaten raw in salads, the flowers made into tasty wine and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or made into a nutritious coffee substitute.

Traditionally Herbalists have used Dandelion to enhance the body’s eliminative and detoxifying functions.  It is a powerful tonic for liver dysfunction, purifying the blood, treatment of anemia, constipation, rheumatism, gallbladder problems, inflammatory skin conditions, gout and a successful treatment for high blood pressure by eliminating excess fluids from the system.  All parts of Dandelion contain strong, natural, diuretic properties that can increase urine production in adults and children.  Large amounts of Dandelion (taken orally or absorbed through the skin) can possibly lead to bedwetting in children.  Therefore, Dandelion’s nickname, “Wet-the-bed” has some factual basis to the legend passed on as an “old wives tale”.  Unlike prescription diuretics that leach potassium from the body, Dandelion is high in potassium and effectively replaces potassium that is lost through the increased urination.

Interesting Fact:  Every year Americans spend millions on lawn pesticides to have uniform lawns of non-native grasses, and we use 30% of the country’s water supply to keep them green.