Taraxacum, native to Eurasia and North America, is a species of plants belonging to the family Asteraceae, that consists of flowers commonly known as dandelions, a corruption of the French word dent-de-lion, which translates to lion’s tooth. The author behind this correlation is unknown, so we can only speculate that its reasoning had something to do with the flowers’ serrated leaves vaguely resembling teeth, just as its head sort of calls a lion’s mane to mind.
Medicinally, the perennial herb is most often associated with Ancient China. The early physicians called it Xin Xiu Ben Cao’ or Pu Gong Yin, prophetically perceiving the weed’s ability to fight free radicals, cleanse the liver of toxins, and its potency as an effective diuretic.
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The citizens of ancient Rome and Greece took note of the culinary benefits of dandelions, a tradition that has remained a staple in the latter’s culture, chiefly through a dish called Radhika. The Grecians, who gave the plant its official name, defined it as traxos, meaning disorder, and akos, meaning remedy: Taxicum Offinale. The civilization’s appreciation for the root’s corrective powers is evidenced in its rich mythology. Theseus, the warrior-father of Athens, only found the strength to defeat the mighty minotaur, after the goddess of magic, Hecate, fed him dandelions for 30 days.
The irony of the wildflower’s studied curative properties is that they thrive best in disturbed habitats, conquering cleared spaces sans the threat of competing plant species. Moreover, dandelions do not require pollination to grow, asexually producing between 53 and 172 seeds per head. In the battler plant’s 13 year lifespan, it can produce up to 65,000 seeds and can regrow if any semblance of its taproot survives.
The modern age has looked favorably at the purported therapeutic merits of the plant, with herbalist seemingly fattening the list of health benefits and methods of extracting them every year. Dr. Richard Honaker, who is the Chief Medical Advisor at Your Doctors Online, is intimately familiar with the taxonomy of dandelions and was kind enough to impart some of his insights to Ladders.
The Priest’s Crown
The medical community has been experiencing a similar nostalgia trend as the entertainment one people can’t stop grousing about. Ladders recently reported on the celebrated return of the Nordic Diet, the fiber enhanced, sugar and fat limited correction of the western diet. Or take Maggot therapy, officially approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration in 2004 as a means to treat serious infections, first adopted by Maya Native Americans and Aboriginal tribes in Australia.
Many of the early people’s first stabs at medicine were certainly clumsy, by as far as botany is concerned, I wager that the majority had the right idea. Herbalist and traditional medicine both seem to agree. According to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, dandelions have more Vitamin A than spinach, more Vitamin C than tomatoes and have high levels of calcium, potassium, and iron in addition to being a great remedy for a hangover, since they help flush hangover-inducing toxins from the liver. Dandelions are actually more nutritious than most vegetables.
Because the plants are burdened by the “pesky weeds” moniker, the organization fears that the measures taken to mitigate their growth are beginning to have adverse effects on wildlife. Dr. Hornaker shares in this fear. Around 80 millions pounds of pesticides are used on American lawns annually, killing 7 million wild birds each year as a result. Dandelions are a great source of nectar for pollinators, saying nothing of their influence on the re-hydration effect. Their thick roots loosen the soil, aerating the earth and severely reducing erosion. Eradicating tracicum species not only ensures a steady decline of pollinators, but it’s also dismissive of the potential to obtain vital and important nutrients.
“Dandelions are a good source of Vitamin A. Just 100 grams of dandelions has the same amount of Vitamin A as one-third of a sweet potato or half a cup of carrots. Vitamin A has been linked to maintaining good eye health. One study published determined that dandelions can kill leukemia cells. Dandelions can also cause death in aggressive pancreatic cells. One study showed anti-colon cancer benefits in mice testing. Several studies have suggested that dandelions may protect against liver damage,” Honaker explained to Ladders.
The flower, sometimes referred to as the priest’s crown, can be used to make soups, teas and even coffee. Dandelion salad was a popular fixture during the great depression era of America, by reason of its easy accessibility and its simple preparation. Be sure to wash extensively or to harvest from privately owned property to avoid pesticide poisoning.
How to eat dandelions
Below you’ll find Dr.Hornaker instructions on proper doses respective to methods of imbibing.
- Fresh leaves: 4–10 grams, daily.
- Dried leaves: 4–10 grams, daily.
- Leaf tincture: 0.4–1 teaspoon (2–5 ml), three times a day.
- Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon (5 ml), twice daily.
- Fluid extract: 1–2 teaspoon (5–10 ml), daily.
- Fresh roots: 2–8 grams, daily.
- Dried powder: 250–1,000 mg, four times a day.