The herb of the month is Dandelion!
This yellow flower plant is one that is commonly yelled at and pulled out of lawns and fields. Dandelion is a valuable plant for the health of soil, as well for it’s medicinal qualities. Dandelion, or Taraxacum officianale, blooms at the first sign of spring with its bright yellow petals and sets seed into puffballs that entice children to blow them off their stem. These common weeds can grow in many types of ecosystems due to their long taproots that extend up to three feet deep. The taproots of dandelions help to aerate the soil and provide minerals and nourishment for the soil once the plant has died. This nourishment plays an important role in the supporting soil formation in its ecosystem. In order for forest floors to have the nourishment for the taller shrubs and trees, which in turn also supports animal life, the topsoil must provide the nutrients and organic matter to create the soil. Dandelions also provide sustenance for bears, deer, and elk.
For humans, dandelion is also a food and medicinal source. From dandelion fritters to bitter dandelion greens in a salad, this common weed is a tasty and nutritional treat. Medicinally, all parts of dandelion can be used: roots, leaves, and flowers. The leaves, as well as the root, provide this bitter taste. The bitter alkaloids in dandelion stimulate bile and tone the liver. The leaves also have diuretic qualities that can help relieve swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet. Harvesting dandelion root is best in early spring or late fall when the energy of the plant is either just starting to go out of the ground or going back into the ground. The benefits of utilizing dandelion are remarkable. And considering the quantity that surround our fields and forests all spring and summer, this plant can be used abundantly.
At The Herb Shoppe, we have many formulas that include our yellow-flowered friend:
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