Saturday, October 24, 2015

Remedial Dandelion

While most people consider the dandelion plant ‘Taraxacum officinale’ as an annoying garden weed, the truth is that this common garden weed is packed full of vitamins as well as minerals.

The young dandelion leaves are generally used to flavour salads or sandwiches, while the more mature (bitter) dandelion leaves are more suitable for use in brewed teas. The dandelion roots are better if dried and ground before steeping or infusing, and have proven to be an excellent coffee substitute for those trying to reduce their caffeine intake. It has also been reported that the dandelion flowers have been used in the production of certain beers and wines.

The dandelion plant is a common garden plant consisting of a rosette of leaves extending approximately 25cm with a distinct yellow or orange daisy like flowering head. The smooth uneven bright green leaves have jagged edges, of what looks like, backward facing teeth, and for this reason the plant was given the name dandelion which derives from the French ‘dent de lion’, meaning lion’s tooth. The hollow flower stem rises to approximately 30cm with one yellow daisy like flower head that sets into a puff-ball looking seed head with fluffy parachutes designed to carry each seed in the wind.