This plant, looked upon as a troublesome weed in lawns, is Nature's greatest healing aid for suffering mankind. It flowers in April and May in meadows and grasslands. It forms blankets of yellow flowers which turn many a place into a beautiful sight.
Dandelion shuns wet places, it has two outstanding qualities: it is useful in disorders of the liver and of the gallbladder.
Gather the leaves before, the stems during, the time of flowering, the roots in early spring or in the autumn.
The whole plant has medicinal powers. I myself have made it a habit in spring to serve the whole plant as a salad or to make an evening meal of the leaves mixed with potatoes and garnished with boiled eggs. While on a cure in Jugoslavia I noticed the guests received a small bowl of Dandelion greens besides the fresh salads. Asked why, the physician, a well-known liver specialist, told me that the Dandelion has a beneficial effect on the liver.
Today I know that the fresh stems of the flower, five to six pieces, chewed daily bring swift relief in chronic inflammation of the liver (sharp pain felt in the region of the lower corner of the right shoulderblade).
As long as the plant is in flower, diabetics should eat up to 10 stems daily. The stems with the flowers are washed and only then is the flowerhead removed and the stems are slowly chewed. They taste somewhat bitter at first, but are crisp and juicy similar to a leaf of endive.
Sickly people who feel constantly tired and are without energy should take a 14-day course of treatment with the fresh sterns of Dandelion. The effect is surprising. But in many more troubles they are of value; in itchy and scaly rashes and eczema. The flow of gastric juices is improved and the stomach is cleaned of all waste matter. The fresh stems can help remove gallstones painlessly - they stimulate the liver and the gallbladder. Besides mineral salts, Dandelion contains active substances which are of value in metabolic disturbances.
As a blood purifier it brings relief in gout and rheumatism, glandular swellings subside if a 3- to 4-week course of treatment with the fresh stems is adhered to. For jaundice and disorders of the spleen, Dandelion is also used successfully. Dandelion roots, eaten raw or taken dry in the form of an infusion, purify the blood, improve digestion and have a diuretic, sudorific as well as a stimulating effect.
Old herbalists state that women used the infusion of the plant and roots as a beauty aid and washed their faces and eyes with it, hoping to gain youthful looks.
The leaves keep growing even in the cold time of the year. Every year in spring I prepare syrup from the flowers of Dandelion which not only tastes good but at the same time is wholesome. My Christmas ginger biscuits are all made with this syrup.
My mother once met a woman, carrying an apron full of Dandelion flowers. Asked about the reason the woman gave the following recipe for the delicious syrup: Two heaped double handfuls of Dandelion flowers are put in 1 litre of cold water and slowly brought to the boil; removed from the heat and left overnight. The next day this is strained and the flowers well pressed out. To this liquid is added 1 kilo of raw sugar and half a sliced lemon (if sprayed - use without skin). If more lemon is used, it makes it sour. The pot is put on the stove without a lid and simmered on a low heat so as not to destroy the vitamins. Test for consistency. It should neither be too thick, it would crystallize when stored for a time, nor too thin, it would sour. The right consistency is a thick-flowing syrup that, spread on a bun or on a piece of buttered bread, tastes delicious.
Once we had a carpenter working at our place and in the evening I prepared a cold meal for him, whereas my family enjoyed buttered bread with the freshly made syrup. He asked if he could try it too. As an apiarist, he did not believe that I had prepared this "honey". He was enthusiastic and he said he found hardly any difference between the honey and the syrup. I would like to add that people with kidney complaints do not tolerate well the acid in the honey whereas the Dandelion syrup is easily digested.
This valuable medicinal plant has an important place in herbal medicine. Unfortunately a large part of the populace does not recognize it and only looks upon it as a terrible weed. One day I noticed a young man whose face was covered with acne. I brought the blood purifying effect of the Dandelion and Stinging Nettle to his mother's attention. She did not even know the Dandelion although she was from our small town and not from a big city. When I described the plant to her she said with indignation that she could not offer such weeds to her son.
Infusion: 1 heaped tablespoon of roots is soaked in cold water overnight, brought to the boil and strained next day. This amount is apportionately sipped, half an hour before and half an hour after breakfast.
Salad: Made from fresh roots and leaves (see above text).
Stems: 5 to 10 flower sterns are well chewed and eaten daily. Syrup: See above text.