It is well known by all and ignored by many. The dandelion insists that we notice it but we ignore it.
We have it in gardens, meadows and orchards spontaneously. Its reputation for growing in countless places has earned it the label of “weed” when in fact it contains great secrets.
When you read this post, you will see the dandelion in a very different way.
LET’S GET TO KNOW THE DANDELION BETTER
I do not believe that there is a person in this world who has not caught the fruit of the dandelion in summer and has blown to make its seeds fly by making a wish.
When I was little they were called “grandparents” but I imagine that depending on each place, they will have very different names.
Dandelion has been and is considered a weed or unwanted herb due to its great ability to spread and take root almost anywhere, including fields and orchards. Hence it has earned a bad reputation.
However, the properties attributed to this plant as beneficial for the body are already well known in popular medicine.
Apart from its quality as a diuretic and purifier , its beneficial properties for the liver and bile are highlighted, even in processes of hepatitis, cirrhosis and kidney stones, although we have not found the active principles or substances that participate in these purifying processes.
HIGH INULIN CONTENT
We know that dandelions are high in inulin, present in the roots. They can be consumed cooked or in infusion, previously roasted or dried, as a substitute for chicory .
In fact one of the common names for dandelions is bitter chicory. This carbohydrate is not degraded by the enzymes of our body (only a small part) and is part of what we call dietary fiber.
The inulin is non – toxic and is considered (Agency Food and Drug Administration, FDA). As a compound of dietary fiber, it is considered beneficial for the digestive tract in addition to appearing to aid in the absorption of calcium .
Chicory, asparagus, onion, also contain certain amounts of this compound but the root of the dandelion is one of the most.
As a curiosity, there is a very typical Mexican plant, the agave , which has twice the size of the dandelion.
Very famous agave products are agave honey and tequila.
Its composition is very complex but among the entire compendium of components we find:
- Taraxacin : It is found in greater quantity in late summer. (It is one of the elements that give it the bitter taste)
- Levulina : It is found in greater quantity in early autumn.
- Inulina: We have already talked about her. Its highest concentration is found in mid-late summer and in the roots.
- These are some but it also contains flavonoids, vitamins (A, C), silicic acid, saponin, wax, choline and starch among many others.
USES AND APPLICATIONS OF DANDELION
The uses are multiple depending on which part of the plant and when they are eaten:
- The leaves can be added to the salad . They are very bitter but very healthy. The time of fresh leaf harvesting is recommended before flowering. Then they bitter more.
- The roots, as we have mentioned, can be taken dried or roasted in infusion or even fresh and well washed directly.
- Dandelion syrup or honey:
Surprised with the latter? I don’t know if you will meet the Austrian María Treben. She is a great connoisseur of natural medicine and plant properties and tells an anecdote about this dandelion honey in her book Salud de la Apothecary .
We leave you his recipe in case you dare to try it:
“Four handfuls of dandelion flowers are simmered in a liter of cold water. It is brought to a boil and the pot is removed from the heat. The next day everything is strained and the flowers are squeezed well with the hands. To the liquid is added a kilo of brown sugar and half a lemon cut into slices (if it is treated, the skin is removed). Stir everything well and put the pot on the fire without covering it. To preserve the vitamins, it is left over a very low heat. This is how the liquid evaporates without boiling. You have to let the dough cool once or twice to check its consistency. The syrup should not be too thick as it will crystallize over time when stored. But if it is too light it spoilsearly. It has to be like a honey; it can be eaten with bread for breakfast and it is delicious »
We are not going to give you instructions on how to cultivate it because you will not need it. It will surely come to your garden spontaneously.
What’s more, it is very likely that you will have to limit its growth and control its appearance in the garden.
But remember, instead of throwing it in the compost pile, you can always eat its leaves in salad (although they are very bitter) and make infusions with its root.
You just have to look at this plant with different eyes once you have read this.
A TIP ABOUT THE URBAN DANDELION
If after reading this, you go down for bread (for example), you go for a walk, you look at the garden next to you and say: Look! A dandelion!
You may be tempted to try some of what we have told you. Do not do it. Remember that there are countless dogs in the city. Get out of the city and go to the bush!