Herbs - Dandelion

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Dandelion, Field Dandelion, Field

Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale

Family: Compositae


Contrary to the state of your lawn or common grassy areas, dandelion is not native to North America. This rogue plant was actually a stowaway aboard an inbound ship. Once on dry land, it tossed its seeds to the wind and the rest, well, is bright yellow history!

Your lawn has the right idea when it recruits dandelions by the masses. Like clover and its nitrogen-fixing qualities, dandelion helps restore missing upper-layer soil nutrients. The long, deep, roots mine calcium and other minerals from the soil, bringing them up from below and replenishing your lawn. Think of them as living fertilizer.

Dandelion was first mentioned for its medicinal use between 1,000 and 1,100 AD by Arabian physicians. This versatile plant can be enjoyed as coffee, beer, wine and salad...making use of the entire plant. Roasted dandelion root makes for a delicious, caffeine-free, coffee substitute. The dandelion plant attracts as many as 93 different insects and, when fed to cows, is said to increase milk production.

Though many take issue with this herb, dandelion has been held in high regard by Western Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists for centuries. The herb is bitter, cold, and salty due to its high mineral content. In Chinese herbal medicine, dandelion is excellent for conditions of "damp heat", such as jaundice.