Image cup & leaf
Many gardeners and lawn enthusiasts despise Dandelions, a common ‘weed’ found throughout Britain. During my travels gardening and landscaping over the past few weeks I’ve met many people with colds which they say have lingered for too long. What about trying some Dandelion tea to remedy this?
‘Dandelions’, Jean-Francois Millet. Pastel on paper, 1867-68
Historically, Dandelion tea has many uses, many proven to be beneficial. The plant is still known as ‘The small postman’ in the Far East because of the belief that Dandelions bring good news. Dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale is a herbaceous plant, with the English name taken from the French, ‘Dent de lion,’ – ‘Tooth of a lion.’
Image dandelioness herbals
In the Tenth Century an Arabian doctor recorded the curative properties of Dandelion. As children we’re told not to pick Dandelion’s as they will make us ‘wet the bed.’ This is partially true – it won’t make us ‘wet the bed,’ but does increase urine flow.
Modern research shows Dandelion’s benefit for fighting diabetes, treating Alzheimers and cancer, as well as helping to prevent osteoporosis. In traditional herbal medicine, Dandelion has been used for centuries to treat liver disease, cancer, digestive disorders and acne. Dandelion root is used as a liver tonic, which increases the flow of bile, which helps to detoxify the liver. It also helps with eye problems.
You can of course buy boxes of Dandelion tea in health food shops, or make your own from plants found in your garden. A tea infusion is made from the leaves or roasted roots, and both are safe as long as you haven’t used pesticides. Some people can have an allergic reaction from ingesting or touching dandelions, though most of us have probably handled them when young, as what child doesn’t like to blow a ‘Dandelion Clock?’
The roots are full of important vitamins and nutrients, such as beta-carotine, calcium, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
To prepare the flowers and leaves, wash them and steep in hot water for 15-20 minutes. To prepare the roots, wash, chop into small pieces and roast in the oven for 2 hours. Then steep a spoon or two in hot water for 10 minutes. Et voila! You have organic, homemade Dandelion tea! (You could also use them in smoothies, fritters, and young leaves in salads.)
- If you are taking medication, always consult your doctor before drinking Dandelion tea.