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Dandelion

Of all native plants, the dandelion has the greatest number of common names, over 500 of which are known and recorded. The French name pissenlit (’bed wetter’) refers directly to the plant's diuretic effect.

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Health benefits

Dandelion is a very interesting herb for the digestive system.

  • Its root stimulates bile flow and is purifying for the liver.
  • The bitter constituents, collectively called taraxacins (sometimes eudesmanolides), have a beneficial effect on slow digestion.
  • Dandelion leaf is one of the best herbal diuretics. It is also a very good source of carotenes and potassium.
  • The whole herb is used for loss of appetite, dyspepsia, flatulence and feelings of fullness after meals.

The German Commission E acknowledges its benefits in cases of: disturbances in bile flow, edema, loss of appetite, and dyspepsia.

Botanical characteristics

The dandelion, which can grow to between 10cm and 50cm in height, is a very hardy plant with a root system resembling a tap root. The dark green leaves emerge from a basal rosette and are much longer than wide, coarse and sharply dentate. A hairless, tubular stalk rises from the leaf rosette. The stalk bears a yellow flower head with tongue shaped blossoms. Numerous individual fruits bearing a stemmed ’parachute‘ of fine hairs (= pappus) are arranged in a ball. It takes the lightest of winds to disperse them. The entire plant contains a bitter-tasting milky juice. The dandelion flowers from March to October.

Preparation

A.Vogel/Bioforce uses an alcohol extract of both the fresh roots and leaves, harvested before the plant flowers. The plants are gathered wild on farms that use organic methods of cultivation or are taken from our own organic cultivation. A tea prepared from roots harvested in the spring or autumn is also common. The young leaves, collected in March, make a tasty salad. When eaten, it should be remembered that fresh dandelion has a mild sensitising effect which, in rare cases, can trigger contact allergies. The inulin-rich root was at one time harvested in the late summer, roasted and included in coffee substitute preparations.

Fun facts about dandelion

  • The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
  • The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
  • Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
  • Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
  • The average American recognizes thousands of logos for commercial products, yet recognizes fewer than five plants that grow in his/her area. Dandelions are most likely one of those familiar plants.
  • Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant. Seeds are often carried as far as 8 km from their point of origin!

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