The puff ball moniker refers
to days after the flowering, when a feather globe of seeds appears
to be blown in the wind to a new destination. It is said that
the dandelion can foretell the weather. If the day is to be fine
the flower will open fully. If the flower ball remains tightly
closed it is a sign of rain.
The dandelion grows across the
United States and Canada. It has a long growing period that lasts
from spring to fall. Early spring is the best time to harvest
the green leaves before the dandelion flowers. Once the dandelion
has flowered the leaves will be very bitter. The dandelion leaves
have more iron that spinach and more carotene than carrots.
That common dandelion weed is
packed with minerals such as calcium, magnesium phosphorous,
iron, zinc and selenium. Added to that, it supplies vitamins
B1, B2, B3, C and E. Who knew?
The dandelion as an herbal plant
has many uses. You can use the flowers to make dandelion
wine. Just grind up one cup of the flowers into 4 cups of
white wine, put in an air tight container and let it steep for
4 weeks. Of course, strain out the flowers before drinking. The
leaves make a tea or can be used chopped in a salad, soups and
stews. The roots can be made into a caffeine free coffee after
roasting or dry them for tinctures. The entire dandelion can
be used as an herbal plant or a medicinal plant. Just make sure
to dig deep when harvesting the dandelion as it has a very long
Another useful way to use the
dandelion herb is to juice a big bowl of it with ? of an apple.
You will find it a very easy way to supplement your diet with
the beneficial properties of the dandelion plant.
The dandelion as a medicinal
plant can be used in a variety of ways. In the spring pick young
leaves to be eaten in salads to take advantage of all those vitamins
and minerals. Pick mature leaves, before the dandelion flowers,
for their diuretic qualities to cleanse the bladder and urinary
tract. The leaves made into teas will help ease water retention
associated with PMS. The milky sap that oozes out of the stem
is said to remove warts.
So the dandelion is no longer
just a weed, it can be used as an herbal plant and a medicinal
plant. Or view it as a fun memory of your childhood. How many
of us can remember braiding "necklaces" out of dandelions
as young children. Or, remember the delight of blowing on the
puff ball to scatter its seeds. It is time to become reacquainted
with the dandelion and all it is worth.
Copyright Mary Hanna, All Rights