Quietly growing through the concrete pavement under a bench in the centre of Madrid a herb that over the last month or so has come to the attention of nearly everyone one of us – Dandelion. It disseminates in the wind, children often have great fun and pick the fluffy ball seed heads and blow them into the air. The seeds have been distributed all over the city and suburbs appearing like little wisps of cotton wool. Where we live we had a week or so when we had periods when the air was full of the white fluffy seeds falling and drifting in the breeze onto the road, our terrace and parts of the garden looked like we had snow falling and accumulating around us. Windows stayed shut and many people stayed inside to avoid allergies and some only went out of doors wearing masks. There are still a few seed wisps floating around today as I write.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)_ a pretty looking herb with its bright yellow flowers, its seed clocks (or balls), its lions teeth shaped leaves, a bitter white latex in the stem and leaves and a long tap root. A troublesome weed for many people!!!
It should be our biggest friend. It is perhaps one of the most powerful herbs for supporting our overall health and has traditionally been used as a spring tonic in Europe for many years. It works to gently improve liver function (detoxifying) and supports the gall bladder, urinary and digestive systems. It is also excellent for cleansing the skin.
It is high in minerals especially potassium and vitamins A,B.C and D.
Many herbal books on dandelion list several pages of remedies, from abscess and acne to varicose veins and arthritis. It clearly is a treasure trove of natural medicine and it is available to us all if we want it.
Next time you see a Dandelion think good thoughts, on what it could be doing for you.