You may think the dandelion is a lowly weed, and although it is often regarded as a pest by gardeners, the dandelion has many beneficial uses!

Historically, the dandelion has been used for a variety of medical purposes and even today many people praise its curative properties. The root of dandelion can be used for a liver tonic, taken as a decoction ½ hour before a meal as an aid to efficient digestion. The Dandelion is also thought to be a good treatment for bile problems and an effective diuretic.

The whole of the dandelion is edible. Young leaves can be eaten in salads in the spring, and were an ingredient of a traditional spring pudding. Some people roast dandelions and use it as a substitute for coffee. If it is harvested in the autumn it is sweeter. Do be careful though, dandelion pollen can cause allergic reactions when eaten, or adverse skin reactions in sensitive individuals!
And even for gardeners the dandelion can be quite useful! The dandelion is a good companion plant, it’s roots will bring up minerals and nutrients for shallower-rooting plants. Dandelions also attract pollinating insects.

Did you know, in France the dandelion is called “pis-en-lit” which translates as “piss-a-bed”! This is because the leaves are diuretic.

(photo by mgpenguin86 via flickr)