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4/2/15

Dont kill the dandelion!



Dandelion is not just a pesky weed, it is medicine!
Don't try to figure out how to kill it, just give in and tincture it, or eat it.

The entire plant is used in herbal remedies: roots, leaves, and flowers. The flowers are not usually eaten, but they are used to make wine or tea and can be used in tinctures. The wonderful weed has a strong herbal remedy purpose, and can help with digestion and other bodily functions.

Gathered early, after the spring's first warm spell, the leaves and roots are used as a spring tonic and to stimulate digestion and vitality. Dandelion greens also have been used as a diuretic, an agent that promotes the loss of water from the body through urination. Their diuretic effect can make dandelion greens helpful in lowering blood pressure and relieving fluid retention.

Dandelion roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as a bitter substance (taraxacin) that stimulates digestion. Dandelion leaves are also rich in minerals and vitamins, particularly calcium and vitamins A, C, K, and B2 (riboflavin).
Dandelion’s relationship with sugar is especially valuable for people with Type II diabetes. Insulin-dependent diabetics can benefit from dandelion since the root and leaf together support stabilized blood sugar levels. It should be taken in small quantities before meals.

Dandelion roots also contain choline, a liver stimulant. Dandelion roots make wonderful colon cleansing and detoxifying medications because any time digestion is improved, the absorption of nutrients and the removal of wastes from the body improve as well.

Dandelions also are recommended for wart removal. The roots, stems, and leaves of the dandelion exude a white sticky resin when injured. Applied directly to warts daily or, preferably, several times a day, this resin slowly dissolves them.

Dandelion root is best collected before flowering in spring when they are most tender. Alternatively, roots collected after one makes a wish on the white, fluffy seed head in the autumn contain a higher inulin content. Inulin is the plant starch that is one constituent shown by research to help lower high blood sugar.

Higher insulin levels also make roasted or raw root a great coffee substitute. The roots of either spring or fall have an affinity for the liver. Both folklore and scientific research seem to agree that roots produce a healthy response to inflammation in the liver as well as throughout the body.

Dried leaves have the same minerals and many of the same compounds as fresh leaves. The same idea holds true for roots. However, for detoxification many herbalists consider fresh, raw, or steamed fresh leaves and products made from fresh root to work more quickly in the short term (days to weeks). Dried leaf tea or tincture also has a diuretic effect.

Dried raw or roasted root makes a fabulous ingredient for a caffeine-free coffee substitute. Roasted dandelion root makes a sweeter, darker hot drink than raw dried root. Dried raw root makes a fine liver-healthy tincture as long as there is no liver disease aggravated by alcohol.

Eating dandelion-
You can eat dandelion leaves (after a thorough washing) prepared fresh from your yard, or you can dry and tincture them. If you want to use your own dandelions, don't use any chemical sprays on your lawn (a good idea in any case), and be wary where you gather dandelions. For sauteed greens, you may also gather young dandelion leaves in the spring, and add them to soups or stir-fry or steam them. You can also saute them with mushrooms, onions, shredded kale, and cabbage in a bit of sesame oil. The greens cook quickly, even on low heat, so take care not to overcook them. (Overcooked greens are mushy.) Remove from heat, add a dash of toasted sesame oil and balsamic
vinegar, and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve as a side dish or with a sauce over rice.Dandelion Precautions and Warnings In certain situations, stimulating digestive secretions is not advisable, so dandelion should be used in small amounts only or not at all. Avoid dandelion use if you have diarrhea, hyperacidity (too much acid), acute irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis.

Tea- Use the flowers for an anti-oxidant, pain relief, stomach cramps and vision.Use the leaves or roots to help stimulate digestion, reduce blood pressure, stimulate appetite, control blood sugar or cleanse the liver.


Tincture- To make a tincture, I suggest using the entire plant so as to get all health benefits from every part of the plant. Wash the leaves and roots well. Use a food processor or chopper, or hand chop the leaves and roots and fill a mason jar with your fresh cut dandelion. Use 80-100 proof vodka and cover the dandelion to an inch over the top. Close the jar up, shake it really well and store in a cool dark place. Shake your tincture every day! The tincture should sit for a period of 30 days.
When your tincture is done steeping, stain into a dropper bottle or other bottle through a cheese cloth.