Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder), and akos (remedy), on account of the healing action of the plant. From the French 'dent de lion', meaning 'lion's tooth'
Dandelion is added to Meatsnax for its vitamins and minerals, for its liver, kidney and digestive benefits.
Dandelion the common weed we find growing in hedgerows, lawns, fields, popping up through cracks in pavements etc., really anywhere the beautiful dandelion seed settles, is so beneficial to human, animal and insect, that we should welcome this perennial and not treat it as a persistent useless weed.
Dandelion is full of vitamins, A, B, C and D, and a provider of minerals such as iron, potassium and zinc. The leaves can be added to salads and infused to make dandelion tea. The roots are a coffee substitute while the flowers can be used to make wines.
To date there has been no in-depth scientific study into dandelion benefits in human; however like so many of the herbs we know and use today, there medicinal assistance goes back into prehistory. In Europe, it was used in remedies for diabetes, fever, diarrhoea and problems associated with the eyes. In Chinese medicine, dandelion has been used to treat appendicitis, inflammation, stomach ailments and problems associated with lack of milk flow in the breast. Dandelion was boiled in water by the Native Americans for, heartburn, upset stomach, kidney disease, swelling and skin problems. Dandelion leaves are used to stimulate the appetite; problems of the liver and gallbladder, the leaves are also used as a diuretic which help the body expel excess fluid.
The dandelion, a hardy perennial, contains hundreds of species, and can be found throughout Europe, North America and Asia it does not appear in the Southern Hemisphere. Dandelion flowers open with the morning sun, closing in the evening twilight or during overcast periods or when threatened with rain, rain is funnelled to the root system via the grooved leaves. The root, stem and leaves contain a white milky substance, which is bitter to taste.
Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the volume of urine a body makes; the leaves also encourage appetite and aid digestion. The dandelion flower bears antioxidant properties. Dandelion has the potential to help improve the immune system. Dandelion root has been used by herbalists to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and its leaves to help with kidney function.
The Dandelion is an important honey-producing plant, as it produces considerable quantities of pollen and nectar in the early spring, when the bees harvest from fruit trees is nearly complete, from the beekeeper's point of view, it flowers most in spring, even during cooler weather, but a small progression of bloom is retained up until late autumn, thus it is a source of honey after the main flowers have ceased to bloom, thereby delaying the need for feeding bee colonies with artificial food. It has been established that no fewer than ninety-three different varieties of insects frequent this important and wonderful weed, a weed that has inspired artists and children alike with its dreamy, parachuting seeds, which can travel five miles from its parent plant.