Dandelion, but we know it as a shower head and most likely we have played with it, and still do, finding it in the meadows, unaware of its beneficial properties. Which are not evident, blowing on it, but for example using it in herbal teas, in the kitchen, like tincture and… as we will see.
The dandelion is a flowering plant and belongs to the Asteraceae family, its scientific name "Taraxacum officinale"Honors its virtues as a medicinal plant, known since ancient times and exploited with the use of its roots and leaves.
In addition to the shower head, other names that popular traditions have given to this flower, or to the whole plant, for one reason or another, are for example dandelion, dog tooth, wild chicory, donkey chicory, pig's snout, get fat, piss dog and wading pad. Dandelion, common but not mocking name, comes from from the Greek tarakè "confusion", and akos "remedy": plant capable of putting the organism back in order. Now let's find out how and why.
Dandelion: plant and flower
Perennial herbaceous plant, the dandelion it is 3 to 9 cm high, has a large root compared to its total size and at the base of the stem it shows a rosette of simple, oblong leaves with a toothed margin. Hence the name of dandelion. On top of the shaft, hairless and milky, there is our well-known shower head. Before it is "blowable" it is a golden-yellow flower, consisting of hundreds of small flowers, called flosculi.
There flowering spring arrives and lasts until autumn, thepollination it happens through insects or by relying on the wind. The ones we blow are the fruits of the dandelion, equipped with a kind of "parachute" that facilitates the dispersion of the seed with the wind.
Up to 2000 meters the dandelion it grows spontaneously, starting from the plain, and in some cases it even becomes a weed. As a plant it loves a temperate climate and loose soil, the open and sunny spaces, both in partial shade. In Italy it grows everywhere, wherever in fact we find it walking in the meadows, in uncultivated expanses, along the paths and along the roadsides.
Dandelion: healing properties
The fresh plant of "Taraxacum officinale”Contains cellulose, but also many other bioactive substances, which is why it quickly became a popular feed for industrial mammals. Its leaf contains for example derivatives of taraxinic acid, triterpenes and steroids, flavonoids and vitamins (B1, B2, C, E). The root is not far behind: it is particularly rich in sesquiterpenlactones, taraxinic acid and taraxacolide, triterpenes and steroids, taraxacosides, linolic and linoleic acids
So rich, it can only do us good. It is best known for its purifying properties, because it stimulates biliary, liver and kidney function, and also for those purifying, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, especially for the liver. The "shower head" is in fact capable of "blowing away" the waste (sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol and uric acids), it is therefore considered a hepatoprotective plant, recommended in case of liver failure, jaundice and gallstones.
Known as wading pad, it also has diuretic properties, and those suffering from water retention, cellulite and hypertension benefit from it. Finally, the dandelion it also helps to reactivate the immunological function and enhance the immune response of the lymphatic system. The therapy based on leaves or roots, of which we now know the multiple benefits, is called "dandelion therapy", But this plant also emerges in thebeekeeping giving us an excellent healing honey.
Dandelion in the kitchen
In a salad, which thanks to him becomes a "purifying spring": the dandelion in the kitchen it appears in many dishes also with other vegetables, with petals, for example, but also with its own buds that we find both in oil, both pickled to replace capers. Always the flowers are tasty in fried batter while the leaves are usually boiled and served seasoned with extra virgin olive oil or sautéed in a pan with garlic.
Curious how the flowers are used for the preparation of jellies and jam, just "of dandelion flowers". Suggestions, ideas in our article that tells "How to cook dandelion ".
Dandelion: mother tincture
The mother tincture of dandelion focuses on the stimulating action, for digestive and hepatic functions. This means that it favors the regularity of the intestine and fluid drainage by activating the liver, kidneys, skin. To find out more and if that's right for us, I suggest you read the article dedicated to "Mother tincture of dandelion” .
Dandelion: herbal tea
There dandelion herbal tea - and you can't find it inside the shower heads - it is appreciated and sought after above all for its diuretic action: it optimally fights water retention and helps purify the urinary tract by stimulating the production of bile secretions. Another beneficial effect of this herbal tea is the ability to remove excess cholesterol from the liver with one detoxifying and decongestant action which the kidneys also benefit from.
Not anyone can drink it, however: it is not recommended in case of pathologies related to stomach acid (peptic ulcer, gastritis and gastroesophageal reflux) and in case of occlusion of the biliary tract or allergic reactions to Latin sesquiterpene. They have also been noticed drug interactions non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, paracetamol and acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
Dandelion: where to buy it
Founded to be able to consume the herbal tea with dandelion, here is a special one also with the Seine, you can buy various packs, they cost just over 2 euros each, for do a favor to stomach, kidneys, liver and not only.
Among the vitamins A, C, D, group B dominate in the herbal tea, coexisting with iron, potassium and zinc. All to support stable mood, liver well-being and strengthened immune system. There is no price to pay in taste, because this dandelion herbal tea tastes of hibiscus and cinnamon.
As mentioned for the herbal tea, in general the dandelion has some contraindications not serious but not to be taken lightly. It is not good for gastritis, ulcers and gallstones and interacts with some medications such as diuretics. If we are subject to hypotension phenomena or predisposed, it is better not to use dandelion basic remedies, and even if we are treating ourselves with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
In general, it is always better then to check with your doctor before providing any integration without the temptation to trivialize for the funny nicknames of this plant. If used incorrectly, it can do harm.
Dandelion in pregnancy
One case among many, in which the dandelion must be avoided without ifs and buts, in all its forms, is the state of pregnancy, and the same goes for a breastfeeding phase. Women in these situations are better off taking note and postponing the use of dandelions for a few months or years. Instead, people, male or female, who have undergone the removal of the gallbladder must forget them forever.
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