I grew up on a farm in Wicklow, where weeds were the enemy of my dad! Dandelion was one such enemy. A weed is only a plant out of place! It was not until I started to study herbal medicine that I began to understand the medicinal value of every day plants like Dandelion. Its yellow flower can be seen everywhere at the moment, reminding us that winter is over!
Dandelion is one of the most useful medicinal plants, as all parts are effective and safe to use. It is regarded as one of the best herbal remedies for kidney and liver complaints. The root is a mildly laxative, bitter tonic, valuable in treating dyspepsia and constipation. The leaves are a powerful diuretic.
The strong leaves are high in potassium and have potent diuretic properties that make it a wonderful treatment if you suffer from water retention, high blood pressure or swollen ankles. The bitter root stimulates the liver and the release of enzymes throughout the digestive tract.
The dandelion flower stem exudes a milky-white latex sap that can be applied directly to warts and verrucas to inhibit viral replication. If you suffer from skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne, it can help to flush toxins from the body. Dandelion also has the ability to aid removal of uric acid from the body, making it good for treating gout and joint disease.
What to harvest
The leaves, roots and sap. The root is best harvested in early spring or autumn when the plant is dormant and before the active growth and flowering depletes its constituents.
What is it good for?
Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Warts and verrucas, Arthritis, Gout, Atherosclerosis, High cholesterol, High blood pressure, Depression, Bloating, Constipation, Flatulence, Gallstones, Indigestion, Irritable bowel syndrom, Worms, Kidney stones, Menopause, Premenstrual tension (PMT)
Do not use in combination with orthodox diuretics. If treating with high blood pressure, its is advisable to do so with the assistance of a medical herbalist and your doctor.
Wild Drugs, a forager’s guide to healing plants by Zoe Hawes
Jekka’s Complete Herb Book by Jekka McVicar