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Dandelion has a long history of folk use. Early colonists brought the herb to North America. The native people soon recognized the value of the herb and sought it out for its medical and nutritious benefits. The entire plant is important as a general tonic, particularly as a liver tonic. It may be taken as an infusion of the leaf, a juice extraction, a root decoction, or a tincture. Fresh leaves may be added to salads or cooked as a potherb. The juice extracted from the stem and leaf is the most potent part of the plant for medicinal purposes. It has been used to eradicate warts and soothe calluses, bee stings, or sores. Infusions of dandelion blossoms have been used as a beautifying facial, refreshing the skin.
Potassium is often flushed from the body when synthetic diuretics are taken. But dandelion has an abundance of potassium to off-set this problem.
The feathery seed balls of the dandelion were once used by young girls to determine if their true loves were really true. They would blow on the dandelion fuzzy ball 3 times; if at least one of the fuzzy seeds remained, it was taken as an omen that her sweetheart was thinking about her.
Since the 7th century, the Chinese have known about the antibacterial properties of the juice of the dandelion. Researchers recently discovered that dandelion may protect against cirrhosis of the liver. In Europe, the dandelion first appears as being used medicinally in 1485. The name dandelion was invented by a 15th century surgeon, who compared the shape of the leaves to a lion's tooth, or dens leonis. Old timers called dandelion the "King of Weeds."
A French authority claimed that the flowers and stems of dandelion are "enormously rich in estrogen." Dandelion was brought to the New World by the early colonists. They used the whole plant. The flowers made wine, the leaves made salads, the stems and roots dried and used medicinally. According to stories, dandelion never grows where there are no human inhabitants. The early pioneers found no trace of them in western America. After a few years, up sprang a dandelion head and soon there were millions of them. Native Americans learned to love them and would walk miles to gather them if they could not be found locally.
Dandelion coffee is made of high quality roots, now grown on specialized farms. Proper harvesting, drying and skillful roasting methods give dandelion a remarkable roasted flavor that many people readily accept as a coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee has been found to be of benefit to dyspeptic people, who cannot tolerate real coffee. The roasted root has no caffeine, so drink it as often as desired, even as a night cap.
Roasted dandelion root has almost a magical effect upon milk. Steep 1 heaping tsp. of roasted root in 1 cup of hot, not boiling, milk, for 5 to 10 minutes and strain. Sweeten if desired. The resultant liquid tastes like rich cream. Of course with fewer calories. Try on breakfast cereals, it is great. Also, try this dandelion milk in recipes that call for milk as an ingredient.