All About Dandelions—Part 1

By Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt

Now that it's fall, I’m thinking ahead to seeing the bright, yellow dandelions in the spring. What a happy plant! It keeps popping up even when we try to get rid of it because it knows that we need it! Such a hardy plant—it has the ability to make us hardy, too, and able to withstand our polluted environment.

The whole dandelion plant is edible and nutritious. The leaves are more nutritious than spinach and are a digestive bitter. Dandelion is also healing to the body. While the major benefits of the roots are upon the liver and the kidneys, it’s a great tonic for the whole body. Roasted dandelion roots have been used as a coffee substitute and the flowers used to make wine and beer. Talk about your useful plants!

The first mention of the dandelion as a medicine is in the works of the Arabic physicians of the 10th and 11th centuries. Described as a kind of wild endive, it was prescribed to stimulate bile production for liver problems and for its diuretic properties. The folklore of dandelion goes back to Greek mythology. In the Jewish tradition, dandelion was one of the five bitter herbs of Passover mentioned in the Bible.

The word “dandelion” is a Saxon corruption of the Norman term “dent de lion” meaning “tooth of the lion.” This may have been a reference to its serrated leaves.

Dandelions were once very popular. A hundred years ago, France produced seed catalogs that offered five varieties of dandelions. Up until the 1800s, Americans would pull grass from their yards to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds,” like chickweed, to grow.

More on dandelion in my next blog.


By Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt| October 15, 2008
Categories:  Blog

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Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt

Wendy Keeney-Kennicutt

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