You may think of it as an annoying weed that is littering your beautifully manicured lawn; however, that yellow weed – also known as a dandelion – is far more beneficial than you might think. In fact, it has been found to be extremely good for your health.
That’s right; dandelion flowers and dandelion roots have been found to be extremely rich in a number of valuable vitamins and nutrients, including beta-carotene, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous.
And, as if all of these good-for-you things weren’t enough, dandelion flowers and dandelion roots are also an excellent source of complex B vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium and vitamin D. That’s quite a big punch for such a tiny, pesky little weed, wouldn’t you say?
So, how can you take advantage of all of these wonderful health benefits? Here’s a look at how you can harvest and use the roots of the dandelion:
Dig Up the Root
Instead of just pulling the dandelion out of the ground like you normally do when you’re trying to rid your lawn of these yellow flowers, take the time to actually dig it up. While you’re digging, make sure not to break or damage the root.
While you will need to do a bit of digging and you will have to break the root at some point, take care to do as little damage to the root as possible. If major damage is done, you will lose a lot of sap, which is where the majority of the medicinal qualities lie.
Drying conditions are crucial to the quality and effectiveness of the herb. Avoid drying them outside, as this can cause significant deterioration of the medicinal quality. Instead, dry the roots on screened racks, hung from wire racks, or hung in bunches or bundles from nails or hooks.
Put the roots in a location where the temperature is between 60 and 90 degrees F.
Using the Root
There are several ways that you can use the dandelion root to reap the medicinal benefits. Some of the most common ways include:
- Creating infused flower oil – Place flowers in a glass jar and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Make sure the oil covers the flowers entirely. Cover and place in a warm spot. Open the lid and wipe off any condensation that has formed on the underside. Let sit about 2 weeks. Strain with muslin cloth and let the oil settle for several hours. Pour the water into a clean glass jar, leaving the water part behind. Store in a cool, dry place.
- Make a decoction – To do this, set one ounce of dried roots in a pan with one pint of water. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the water and use the roots to create a tea.