Dandelion Herb/ Detox For Winter ~Collect Now, Part 3
For those just joining in, I am doing a mini-series on herbs that can still be picked and dried for a healthful herbal tea before winter sets in: Part 1 ~ Red Raspberry Leaf, and Part 2 ~ Alfalfa Herb.
When we were out cleaning up the back garden and pruning the blackberry bushes for next year, we came across this giant dandelion top and root! I took a picture of it, because no one would believe me otherwise! That root was at least 26+ inches and thicker than my thumb! If you look at the photo, that wasn’t all of it, either!
But it got me to thinking! There are plenty of lovely dandelion tops to dry for winter teas to be had right now. The cooler weather has stimulated fast growth and tender leaves for the picking, so why not get a stash now, dry it, crumble it, and brew this terrifically healthful tea all winter and avoid colds and flu? The tea tastes wonderful~slightly bitter, but sweet, too… my body loves it.
“Few plants can fill the herbalist’s heart with such joy as the common dandelion…The long fleshy taproot defies most gardener’s shovels, but the herbalist waits patiently for the first fall rains to loosen the soil of second-year roots for harvest.” ~The Practical Herbalist
My husband likes to bring me fresh dandelions he finds in the yard (we don’t spray anything). He looks for the longer, more tender leaves, and then I put the kettle on and steep us a brew that gets pretty dark. The root is sometimes used for a pleasant coffee substitute. Refrigerate your extra and use in 1 or 2 days for greatest benefits.
Considered a weed by most people, regulating dandelion’s presence for medicinal purposes is a helpful sustainable practice and would be the tops on my preparedness medicine chest list. All parts are used – the leaves, flower and roots. The Practical Herbalist states, “It’s ironic that the poisons gardeners use to eradicate dandelions are the same toxins this plant offers to weed from our bodies.”
It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopoeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 Chinese herbs.
Among Dandelions Many Uses:
- One of the best blood purifiers and builders available. Detox.
- One of the best liver cleansers. It increases the activity of the liver and the flow of bile into the intestines. It is fantastic for use in hepatitis.
- High in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium.
- Contains all the nutritive salts for the blood. Dandelion restores and balances the blood so anemia that is caused by deficiencies of these blood salts disappears.
- The herb for high blood pressure.
- Helps build energy and endurance.
- Alkalinizing effect.
- Increases activity of the pancreas and the spleen to do their job.
- Good for the female organs. Safe for all stages of pregnancy and while nursing.
- It enriches breast milk in nursing mothers, benefiting both mother and child.
- Helps open urinary passages.
- Used to treat skin diseases.
(dandelion leaf ~ Bulk Herb Store)
( dandelion root ~ Bulk Herb Store)
Before you gather, make sure your source is not sprayed. My tool of choice is a big 14″ flat-head screw driver to loosen the soil and remove the tap root. Go in at an angle several times around the root and apply a little upward leverage. In the fall, it is pretty easy to pop them out.
Finish by washing well to remove any dirt or debris (I use Dr. Wood’s Castile soap), towel dry well and gather the roots of 5 or 6 whole plants into a bunch and tie with string leaving a loop to hang it by.
Once it is dry and crispy, crumble it into a jar with a tight fitting lid. It is critical that dandelion is stored in a dark, dry, and cool place. Refrigeration or freezing is highly recommended, but not necessary. Following these suggestions will delay the loss of it’s highly valued nutritional and medicinal properties.
If you are not able to gather/forage in your area, a great source for herbs is the Bulk Herb Store.
Dandelion is often made into tea and tincture combinations, or it can be made into powder and used in capsules.
Dandelion is a food, and thus, keep it in the kitchen as all other food ingredients. It can be added to dishes (salads, meat dishes, soups, stews, etc.) in small amounts so as to add nutritional value to the dish without changing the flavor. It can be helpful to a sick or aging pet, as well.
I have enjoyed teaching our children the health benefits given to us in the various herbs by our Creator. One of my desires is that they will become young herbalists for their family someday, and that you will do the same for your children.
Deep Roots at Home is also now on Google+!
Thanks for reading!