CULTIVATION: ============ Dandelion is a low growing variable perennial with deep tap roots, and yellow flowers on hollow stem.
Prefers sunny and open location, and grows in any soil. Sow seeds in spring to early autumn. Dandelion will self-seed profusely. Flavor is improved if you tie leaves together to blanch the hearts, or make a tent of boards over them. Dandelions produced by the seeds offered in catalogs are somewhat larger and more succulent than those growing wild. Germination time is about 14 days, and plant matures in about 60 days. Grows in zone 3-10.
Harvest before flowers open. Keep flowers picked off plants you don't harvest. Grow as an annual to prevent bitterness developing in the plants. Parts used are the leaves, flowers, and the roots.
CULINARY USES: ============== In the last century plants with larger leaves have been developed as a autumn and spring vegetable, these usually being blanched in the same way as endive.
The roots can be eaten raw in salads.
Dandelion greens are bitter. The secret is to pick them in early spring before the yellow flowers appear. Look for the ones that grow in a shady spot. Bright sun makes them dark green, but very bitter.
Leaves are high in vitamin A, and B, niacin and iron.
SPRING SALAD : Cooked dandelion make a tasty vegetable that is even more beneficial than spinach. Thoroughly wash the leaves and cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and discard the water. Cook leaves again in salted boiling water for a further 10 minutes.
Strain and serve with butter.
MEDICAL USES: ============= Researchers have suggested that a natural occurring compound called Lecithin may help prevent cirrhosis of the liver. Dandelion contains about 30.000 parts per million of Lecithin, almost twice the amount found in soybeans, a more widely known source.
Dandelions are also rich in Inulin, a slow digested starch.
Inulin, and traditionally dandelion, are sometimes recommended for people with diabetes who need to stabilize their blood sugar swings.
Dandelion may enhance the flow of bile, and improve such condition as liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstone, and jaundice. It also has both diuretic and laxative capabilities.
One study showed, dandelion inhibits the growth of the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infection. Add a couple of handful of dried leaves and flowers to the bath water. Other studies showed dandelion roots have anti-inflammatory properties, suggesting possible value in treating arthritis.
WARNING: ======== Generally regarded as safe, for healthy nonpregnant, nonnursing adults. OTHER USES: =========== Grind dried and roasted roots to make a coffee substitute. Flowers are used in dandelion wine, and leaves in dandelion beer and tonic drinks.
COSMETIC USES: ============== The latex in the dandelion leaves are rich in emollient. This is great for facial steams, cleansing milk, and moisturizer for all skins, especially good for dry sallow skin. SKIN TONIC : Crush 1 teaspoon of fresh dandelion leaves, and add to one cup of boiling water. Let stand for ½ hour, strain and let cool. This will revitalize the skin and improve the circulation. The tonic can be stored in a sealed bottle in the refrigerator for about 10 days without losing power.
Submitted By BARRY WEINSTEIN On 03-14-95
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