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A little something for those of us who harvest these little buggers. This is an excerpt from a book called Medicine From the Mountains: Medicinal Plants of the Sierra Nevada:

History and Modern Usage:

Dandelion is both a cholagogue and a choleretic. That is, it stimulates the liver's production of bile (choleretic) and triggers the release of concentrated bile from teh gall bladder (cholagogue). Modern herbalists consider Dandelion a "liver flush"....

All parts of the plant are used, with the root being the most bitter portion, and medicinally speaking the strongest overall.... The leaves can be enjoyed in spring and summer when the young inner portions make excellent additions to salads. The leaves are an exceptional diuretic and contain high amounts of potassium (approximately 4%) and other minerals that are often lost with the use of strong synthetic diuretics. One study of Dandelion with laboratory mice found that the leaves were equal to the popular drug Lasix (Furosemide) in diuretic action. Dandelion has been consistently shown in European laboratory experiments to significantly reduce obesity in laboratory animals. Yet, its weight loss value is almost unknown to scientists and obesity loss researchers here in the United States. Dandelion has also been shown to reduce kidney stone formation.

Many other scientific studies have been performed with Dandelion. It retards the growth of type-one herbes simplex virus in laboratory setting. The flowers and pollen have been shown to be an effective antibiotic inhibiting the growth of several bacterial strains including Salmonella, E. coli, and Proteus. Dandelion has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic laboratory animals. Dandelion's polysaccharides enhance immune function. Dandelion has also been shown to enhance the repair of liver tissue damaged by viruses and toxic chemicals, reduce serum cholesterol, and inhibit certain tumors. Indeed, it is considered to be on of the finest liver foods. Dandelion is a very underrated medicinal herb in the United States. Its use should be considered in any liver or gall bladder dysfunction.

Toxicity

The only toxicity of Dandelion is in overuse of the root. Its bitter qualities can potentially create a large dumping of bile into the small intestine. This can cause gastrointestinal irritation and diarrhea.

Dosage

1-2 grams of the root, two to three times per day. 3-10 grams of the dried leaves two to three times per day. Fresh Dandelion is best, as light and heat exposure break down several of the bitter chemicals.
 

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I used to pick and dry medicinal herbs when I was putting myself through college and couldn't afford to buy medicines. I should start to do so again. I remember using dandelion, coltsfoot, violets(high in vitamin C) and willow bark. Thanks for the reminder.
 

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I just wish the buggers tasted better. It's hard to grow veggies in the desert but dandelions thrive even in Vegas. DD (7) convinced me to clean and eat some this spring as I was cleaning them out of the rock garden. I just picked off the smallest tenderest leaves but they still tasted like blech!. So what is the trick to getting rid of the bitterness and making dandelions more palatable or it just an acquired taste?
 

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Wow, thanks for the article madhen! I really didn't know that much about them and now I will definitely be eating them next spring! :)
 
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On our way to the Bon dance last night, we drove through a golf course by the new subdivision which has, I think, the only dandelions on Maui. They are all still there - so for those of you who need an unspoiled supply, come on over!!
 
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Interesting madhen.

Used to work with a gal that would go out on her break and pick them out of the field next to the office. She said they tasted similar to spinach. Do they? Have never tried them myself.
 

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We eat them every Spring with hot bacon dressing.

Thanks for the article MadHen!
 

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I think that most anythong would taste good with hot bacon dressing!!
 
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Dandelion helps almost any other garden plant. It is especially good with fruit trees. The deep taproot brings up calcium and water (during drought) and through mycellium in the soil, shares that with other surrounding plants.

It's far better to have dandelion growing around a fruit tree than grass.
 

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Plus, you can also make tea, wine, jelly and coffee.
 

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Thanks for this information. We went to a winery in Amish country for their Dandilion festival. They had Dandilioon wine, Mashed potatoes with Dandilion gravy and some fried Dandilions. The wine and gravy were very good.
 

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I tried the jelly twice, and I was not impressed. I did make dandelion vinegar, and it was okay. Basically just chopped up dandelion and regular vinegar allowed to age.
 

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I've tried the jelly before. I think it tastes similar to apple jelly.

I've heard the leaves are good as a salad. I haven't tried that, so I couldn't say. I have heard they "younger" leaves (leaves in the spring) are best. Clara has directions on how to make a salad.
 

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Every time we go to a restaurant that serves salads containing dandelion, my hubby threatens to go harvest the back yard. (I've seen what the dogs do back there so I'd just as soon not!) Have never tried dandelion jelly....what was it about the jelly that you didn't care for?
 

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When I was growing up in Ohio my mother use to go out in the yard to pick dandalions and she cooked them. If I remember correctly, she cooked them just like any other greens (collard, kale, etc)

I live in Florida now, no dandelions. I was pretty excited when I saw one growing in the yard and wouldn't let anyone pick it. I know they are a weed, but I always liked the yellow flowers. I use to pick them by the bunches when I was a kid.
 

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I remember picking dandelion when I was a kid with mom. She would cook it on top of the stove & would use the bacon/vinegar dressing. She also used the buds. Washed & soaked in salt h2o, dried, dipped in egg & flour & fried. Tasted like mushrooms. Thanks for bringing back memories. :)
 

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I love dandelion! If you don't like the bitterness, you might keep trying it every now and then. You may find that like me, you get addicted! The western diet is greatly lacking in bitter tasting foods. When we taste something bitter, it causes our digestion to kick in. Stomach juices flow, gall bladder wakes up, etc.

One great way to ease into dandelion is to make green smoothies in the blender with them. I often use a banana, maybe 1/2 an apple, some orange juice, and a large handful of big dandelion leaves. You don't notice the bitter this way, and the more acclimated you become to the taste, the more you can add. Or add it to a mixed green salad so you're only tasting a little.

I now crave dandelion greens like I crave dark chocolate, no lie! It's that same gotta have it feeling. We pick it here from spring until fall, and it's fantastic. Even the flowers are great added to cookies and pancakes! (Shred them up first - very pretty.)

Oh, and my beverage of choice? Dandy Blend. It's made from dandelion root and I use it as my coffee substitute.
 

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I have to print some of these out one of these days, not today, black ink is out on the printer, so I can let my wife read, it's easy to get the roots out of my garden, and wouldn't bother me, because they are invasive, so will never get rid of them as I never spray the yard. Would have greens too, they really grow big in the garden, have mentioned it to the DW but she hasn't cottened to the idea just yet. I'm ready to try though:)
 
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