Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale

As I haven’t done much weeding in my garden, there are loads of beautiful dandelions in my garden and on my lawn. Dandelions always seem to cheer me up, I guess it is the flowers that remind me of the sun.  I am not the only fan of dandelions, when I was outside taking pictures of dandelions this afternoon, I spent some time watching a bee covered in yellow pollen moving from one flower to the next, unfortunately try as I might, below is the best picture I could get of the little darling.

Blurry bee on dandelion

Anyway back to Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), it is a very useful plant as the whole plant is edible including the flowers, leaves and root. You may have heard that the root can be roast and dried and used as a substitute for coffee. Last year I tried coating the flowers in batter and frying them, however I find I much prefer the petals just picked from the flower and eaten. Here are some of the beneficial properties of Dandelions

  • Flowers – contain antioxidants and leutin, a nutrient which is beneficial to eye health.
  • Leaves – contain beta-carotene, potassium, iron, calcium and vitamins A & C

Dandelions are an excellent natural diuretic, which as it is high in potassium does not deplete the bodies potassium levels as medication from the doctors does. Dandelion leaves taste bitter and are good for aiding digestion by promoting the production of bile. It is also good for cleansing the blood and as a general tonic in the spring.

Dandelion seed head

For more information on foraging check out Robin Harfords Eat Weeds site.

The Medicine Garden by Rachel Corby is a very good book for the beginner, who wants to learn about the different uses of plants most people call weeds.

For further reading on medicinal uses of plants read Grow your own Drugs by James Wong or A Year with James Wong

Do not use dandelions to replace perscribed diuretics without supervision of a full qualified herbalist.

Do not eat any wild plant unless you are completely sure you have identified it correctly