"For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous."Edward Abbey
Long ago in the 13th century, wise healers in Wales known as the Physicians of Myddfai advocated the many virtues of the unassuming dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). But dating back even further, Arab medical healers once counseled patients regarding the range of uses for this flowering plant, and references to the health benefits of dandelions appear in written works found in that part of the world dating back to the 11th century.
Brought to North America about 200 years ago by British settlers, most people today are oblivious to dandelion's rich history in healing lore, dismissing the cheerful golden blooms as nothing more than a lawn nuisance. However, the fresh and dried leaves and roots of this plant have powerful diuretic and detoxifying properties, and both the root and leaf are recognized as having a beneficial affect on upper respiratory complaints, the gallbladder, and dissolving gallstones.
Packed with lecithin, a nutrient that supports the liver, the edible flowers can be steamed along with the leaves and served as a vegetable. The fresh leaves are an excellent source of calcium, and provide a crisp, slightly bitter addition to salads, while a tea prepared from dried leaves makes an excellent tonic drink. Though it should be avoided during pregnancy and while nursing, dandelion root is also available in capsule form and as a tincture that can be added to water.
Rich in iron and vitamins A and C, the plant is botanically related to chicory. Dandelion root was used for making a chicory-like coffee beverage in the mid-1800s, while the flower blossoms are still the featured ingredients in dandelion wine. In France, a sweet jelly made with dandelion flowers, sugar, lemon, and orange is a popular delicacy.
The word dandelion derives from the Latin dens leonis, which means 'lion's teeth', probably referring to the pointy flowers that grow like beams from the bloom's center. Flower essences prepared from dandelion blooms help to bring balance to temperaments prone to being overly ambitious, or to those with a tendency toward intensity and creating excessive structure in their daily lives. There are many who believe the beautiful legend that blowing dandelion seeds into the wind while making a wish will help make the wish come true.
Abra Therapeutics Cellular Detox Lotion with dandelion extracts (abratherapeutics.com).
Masada Mineral Herb Spa Whole Organics Salts with Dandelion Root (masada-spa.com).
Modern Organic Products Leave-in Conditioner with Dandelion (mopproducts.com).
Agoo Agii's Dandelion Facial Relaxation Cream (agooagii.com).
NOW Organic Dandelion Tea (nowfoods.com).
Yemaya Certified Organic Dandelion Tea (yemaya.ca).