Dandelions are plentiful here in the Midwest because they are a healing plant for ailments of the chest, throat and lungs. An herbalist once told me, nature provides for us. We don’t have to search far and wide for the remedies we need. Nature has provided them at our doorstep.
The dandelion leaves contain an abundance of vitamin A and C, niacin and other minerals. They can be eaten raw or slightly braised in a pan. The root can be chopped and made into a tincture. This tincture can be taken by drops under the tongue for several days to alleviate the congestion of sinus problems and the common cold, even the symptoms of allergies. I personally know people who have overcome years of sinus problems with this simple remedy.
Other uses of dandelion include grinding the roasted root as a coffee substitute. The root can also be used as a source of magenta dye. Latex is found in the leaves and can be used as an emollient for facial steams and cleanser for the skin. Add the leaves to bathwater as a tonic. Decoct flowers as a cosmetic wash. Root increases bile production and is an effective diuretic; also good for rheumatism, gout, eczema, constipation and insomnia. ( Reader’s Digest Home Handbooks: Herbs. Contributing Editor Lesley Bremness, Dorling Kindrsley Limited, London, 1990.)
It is a mistake to wage war against a plant that provides so much for us. Somehow the media and more importantly the chemical companies have sold us the message that the plant is ugly, a scourge on the expanse of green-park-like lawns. Neighbors judge neighbors for “letting their lawns go,” as if allowing a native plant to flourish in its happy dance of yellow is a violation of some code of tidiness. Perhaps this attitude is a manifestation of the deeply engrained Judeo-Christian belief in the subjugation of nature.