A Humble Weed
You know its spring when you see the sunny heads of the Dandelion poking up its bright yellow heads in the lawns of the Northwest. This humble weed is often unwanted in a picture perfect lawn but the Dandelion “Taraxacum officinale” just might be a life savior of the future. Dandelion is a tough weed it can get poisoned, frozen, stepped on, pulled out of the ground and it still seems to come back strong. In fact it is so strong that it finds its way through hardened earth or even cracks of cement. And what does the Dandelion do once it has passed through such abuse of the world? It becomes a bright yellow flower with petals like sunshine. Then in its final stage it transforms all the extreme growing conditions and becomes a very soft seed puff and with one gentle blow it releases its seeds. You might have noticed that the leaves of this common weed look like the teeth of an angry lion, thus receiving its name. The characteristics of how a plant grows was known as the “Doctrine of Signatures” in the Renaissance. The German doctor Paracelsus known as the “Father of Science” created the theory of the “Doctrine of Signatures”. The Doctrine of Signatures used the plants as archetype by the close observation of root, stem, flower and seed to understand the healing qualities of any given plant.
The root of the Dandelion is an alchemists laboratory for detoxing not only our livers, blood and kidneys, but is now being used as and ecological indicator for environmental toxins world wide.
Dandelion is what I like to call an international herb because it grows in all kinds of conditions and in many different countries. Chinese medicine used it for digestive disorders which would include the liver. They also believed the emotion of anger resides in the liver thus when the liver is properly detoxed repressed anger is released. Something we all could use. This idea reflects as the Dandelion plants archetype of the angry lion’s teeth leaf. The plants ability to break through the hardest cement and the release of the Dandelion blow seeds, “letting it go”.
Middle Eastern herbal medicine used dandelions for both aliments of the spleen and liver. Old European herbalism believed the yellow root herbs were good for liver cleansing. Native Americans used it to cure indigestion and kidney disease. The US West Coast Yurok tribe uses it for skin cancer.
The herbal doctors of India used it as diuretic, skin conditions and also the liver. And in France where the tender young leaves are a cherished spring green bears the name “pissenlit” because of its diuretic qualities.
But today modern Science has its own findings. The root extract of “Taraxacum Officinale” has been found to reduce the cell growth of melanoma from a study at the University of Windsor in Canada. There is a major reduction of melanoma cell growth within a 72 hour period after taking Dandelion extract. Scientific studies have also found that Dandelions reduce cholesterol, regulates blood sugars and reduces inflammation.
Dandelions are being used as environmental indicators for monitoring the effects of pollution in our natural eco-systems. The dandelion seeds produce asexually, which means they do not need to be pollinated and because of this they mutate easily. Today there are a number of factors that cause mutagens in our natural environment. The main ones are mutagenic herbicides, pesticides, and nuclear radiation. And if you look closely at the dandelion and other flowers here in Corvallis you will see a number of mutations. The problem is it takes testing to find the source of what is causing the mutations. Our environment is bombard
with both chemicals and the effects of radiation thus companies can point the finger at each other because there is not a specific understand of who is doing the dirty deed. But if the plants are mutating, then what is happening to our children’s cellular make up? For it is the children, women and the elders that are the first to be effected by mutagens.
Mutation Plants Speak
time to listen
What can we do? Number one: strengthen your and your family’s immune system daily. Grow and buy organically, stop using herbicides and pesticides because if you do it also effects your neighbors because when you spray it is carried on the wind and lands in your neighbor’s yard. If you use chemical fertilizers it is carried into the ground water. And just say no to the new wave of nuclear energy that is being introduced by the corporate world. We were told that a solution to its globally toxic waste would be found 67 years ago. Obviously this won’t happen and our generations to come will inherit its fiendish effects.
Medieval Sacred Flora calls the Danedlion the Eye of Christos.
A lighter note, Dandelion when it is grown in a clean environment and is organic is an excellent spring tonic, salad green and spring stir fry. It is a bitter herb so some people do not enjoy the taste of bitter herbs, but I have created the Dandelion Latte, a delicious way to enjoy Dandelion tea!
Dandelion root, this can be made with Dandelion tea bags or the dry root brought in bulk. I prefer the Roasted Dandelion, but you can also use plain Dandelion Root.
1/ 8 cup of Almond milk, 1 Star Anise, 1 cinnamon stick, honey to sweeten
If you are using bulk, fill a tea ball with enough Dandelion root for one cup of tea,
or use one tea bag per cup of tea. Pour pure boiling water into a cup with the Dandelion root tea ball or bag, cinnamon stick and star anise. Let steep for at least 15 minutes to get the full benefits of the herb. Strain tea and set aside the cinnamon and anise. Strain the brew into a sauce pan and heat it up with almond milk… do not boil, but bring it to the point just before boiling. Now pour it back into the cup and add the star anise, cinnamon stick and sweeten with honey. There will be a little bit left in the sauce pan that you can use for another small serving.
“The following is intended exclusively for educational purposes and is not medical advice before taking any herbs seek the advice of your physician.”