Have you ever wondered if the dandelion had any practical use, as you dust off the weed whacker and take down your weed killing chemistry kit from its garage shelf?
Here is one perspective from the University of Maryland Medical Center website:
“While many people think of the dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a pesky weed, herbalists consider it a valuable herb that can be used as a food and medicine. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas. The roots are used in some coffee substitutes, and the flowers are used to make wines.
“Traditionally, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used in remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.
“So far, there have not been any good quality scientific studies on dandelion. Today, the roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, and for liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body get rid of excess fluid.”
Believe me, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of folk remedy ideas for this hearty weed. Many even suggest that young dandelion leaves, properly blanched, can make a delectable addition to a salad.
They come to mind this time of the year because they seem to be everywhere. Because my bride likes her yards to be weed-free, I become this particular weed’s worst nightmare. Personally, I find their yellow blooms quite attractive. I say this as I sneeze and my eyes water reaching for the bottle of Claritin.
Regardless which side of the pasture you stand on, we can agree that we have a love-hate attachment to this pesky weed.