The Remarkable Dandelion And Its Many Unique Uses

bright orange dandelions Excerpt Chapter From: Breverton's Complete Herbal: A Book of Remarkable Plants and Their Uses
By Terry Breverton

Source WHY PLANTS TRAVEL: Dandelion Plant & Seed Information

DANDELION TARAXACUM OFFUCINALE

Family Asteracaeae/Compositae Daisy/Sunflower

OTHER NAMES: Names after the French dente de lion (lion's teeth) either because the flowers are yellow, or because the leaves are jaggad. Swine's snout, blowball, cankerwort, lion's tooth, puffball, white endive, wild endive, dany y llew (Welsh for teeth of lion), clockflower, tell-the-time, priest's crown.

DESCRIPTION: There are more than 1000 dandelion species across Europe, with over 250 in the UK alone. There is a golden yellow flower, up to 2 inches (5 cm) across, consisting of 150 to 200 ray florets on the top of a hollow, milky stem. Ther eis a very deep, thick, bitter root; the leaves are irregualarly jagged, and the seed-head is white, globular and packed with scores of tiny parachutes ready to sail into the air.

PROPERTIES AND USES: Culpeper tells us: "It is under the dominion of Jupiter. It is of an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for the obstructions of the liver, gall and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as the jaundice, and the hypochondriac; it opens the passage of the urin both in young and old; powerfully cleanses impostumes [removes pus] and inward ulcers in the urinary passages, and by its drying and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots and leaves in white wine, or the leaves chopped as potherbs, with a few Alexanders, and boiked in their broth, are very effectual. And whoever is drawing towards a consumption, or an eveil disposition of the whole body, called cachexia [wasting or weight loss], by the use hereof for some time together, shall find a wonderful help. It helps also to procure rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague-fits, or otherwise. the distilled water effectual to drink in pesilential fevers, and to wash the sores. "

The plant's properties are used for constipation, eczema, acne, liver problems, poort digestions, and is a natural diiuretic and detoxifier. In recent studies, it was shown to hav ea positive effec ton weight management, and its phytosterols prevent the body from accumulating cholesterols. Dandelion root makes a reasonable coffee substitute, leaves were cultivated for salads until the 20th century, and some of us remmeber the classic frink of dandelion and burdock.

HISTORY: Dandelions were first mentioned in China in the Tang of the seventh century. It was recommended to restore health by the Atabian physician, Avicenna, in the 11th century, and in the 113th century dandelions were used by the "Physicians of Mytddfai" in Wales to treat jaundice, in a remedy that also contained cornflower (Centaurea cyanus), garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) and old ale. According to the Doctrine of Sigantures, dandelions had been 'signed' in yellow to cure diseases with a yellow hue, such as yellow jaundice. The plant is sacred to St Bridget and the milky white sap that comes from the stems is said to nourish lambs and calves. It is also supposed to rid a person of warts. The slang name indicating that dadnelions will make one urinate in bed is common in many languages, e.g.. in Spanish 'piscaletto', in France 'pissenlit', and Culpeppeer's piss-a-beds.

The fluffy dandelion seedhead is like a barometer. In fine weather the ball extends fully, but when rain approaches, it shuts like an ubrella. If the weather is inclined to be showert it keeps shut all the time, only opening when the threat of rain is past. The globe of seeds is also used as a 'Dandelion clock' or 'Tell Time'. In folklore. the number of breaths it took to blow off all the seeds was the hour number.

Altenratively, blow three times on the seed head. The number of seeds left reveals the hour. To determine ho wlong you have left to live, blow once on the seed head. How long you have left to live is determined by the number of seeds that are left on the head. The dandelion is also called the 'rustic oracle' --it's flowers open about 5 a.m. and shut at 8 p.m., serving the shepherd for a clock. In the daisy tradition of 'she loves me, she loves me not', instead of picking the petals off a daisy, blow the seeds off a dandelion globe. If you can blow all the seeds off with one blow, then you are loved with a passionate intensity. If some seeds remain, then your lover has reservtions about the relationship. If a lot of the seeds still remain on the globe, you are not loved at all, or only very little. If seperated from the object of your love, carefully pluck one of the feathery heads, wish a tender thought, turn towards the place where your loved one lives, and blow.

The seedball will convey your message faithfully. If you wish to know if your belove dis thinking of you, blow again. If there is left upon the stalk a single seed, it is a proof you are not forgotten. Similarly, the dandelion oracle can be consulted as to whether a future lover lives east, west, north or south, and whether he/she is coming or not.

Excerpt Chapter From: Breverton's Complete Herbal: A Book of Remarkable Plants and Their Uses
By Terry Breverton

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