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Some interesting info:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandelion


snip:
Culinary use

Dandelion leaves contain abundant amounts of vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamins A, C and K, and are good sources of calcium (0.19% net weight), potassium (0.4% net weight) and fair amounts of iron and manganese [17], higher than similar leafy greens such as spinach. They contain 15% protein and 73% carbohydrates, 37% of which is fiber (27% of the leaves are fiber) [18]. The leaves also contain smaller amounts of over two dozen other nutrients, and are a significant source of beta carotene (0.03% net weight), lutein and zeaxanthin (combined 0.066% net weight) [19]. A cup of dandelion leaves contains 112% daily recommendation of vitamin A, 32% of vitamin C, and 535% of vitamin K and 218 mg potassium, 103 mg calcium, and 1.7 mg of iron. Dandelions are also an excellent source of vitamin H, which is proven to aid in weight loss when ingested.[citation needed]

Dandelion flowers contain luteolin, an antioxidant, and have demonstrated antioxidant properties without cytotoxicity.[20][21]

Dandelion contains Caffeic acid, as a secondary plant metabolite, which some studies have shown to exhibit anticarcinogenic properties,[22][23] at low doses but carcinogenic properties at high doses.[24] There have been no known ill effects of caffeic acid in humans.[25][26]

Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Mediterranean (especially Sephardic [27][28][29]) and Asian, most notably Chinese and Korean cuisine [30][31].

Dandelions leaves can be picked in the early spring before they become tough. They are best before the flowers bloom. Later in the season the plants can be blanched, i.e. covered to exclude light, to improve the flavour[32].The flowers can be sauteed in butter or oil as a vegetable dish, or dipped in tempura batter and fried. The flower petals, along with other ingredients, are used to make dandelion wine. The roasted, ground roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee.
[edit]

Medicinal uses

Dandelions, flowers, roots and leaves, have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine & medicinal teas, most notably for liver detoxification, as a natural diuretic and for inflammation reduction[citation needed]. Unlike other diuretics, dandelion leaves contain good amounts of potassium, a mineral that is often lost during increased urination. There is also evidence that this property of dandelion leaves may normalize blood sugar.[33]

Dandelion leaves are believed to have a diuretic effect as they increase salt and water excretion from the kidneys.[34]

end of snip:


Jeff
 
                              
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OK, just Internet folk lore but interesting....


http://www.cancer-healing.com/dandelion_root.php


How the Lord Told Me to Cure Cancer

(This article originally appeared in The Northwest Herald)

Please save this page as it won’t be printed again by me. It may save your life or the life of a love one or a friend. Anyone may reprint this if they print it word for word.

Every week around 10,000 people die of cancer. Government figures show the death rate for cancer deaths has not changed in the last 10 years. Chemo and radiation only save around 10% of the people treated. So this shows our doctors don’t have much to work with. As this article goes on, I will explain how to prepare this plant and how much to take. There is nothing to buy. For some reason, the Lord has picked me to carry these words to you. I am only the delivery boy, and none of this is my idea. I do believe every word I write here, and I’m living proof it works. The cost of printing is my thanks to God for giving me back my life and health.

A little over three years ago I was about done in with cancer. One morning as I was waking up and hoping the end would come soon, a voice came to me and said. “You have to do something about your prostate cancer. Take the root of the dandelion. Don’t expect a miracle. It took you a long time to get in this condition.” The voice was gone. I thought the voice was kidding to use the dandelion. When this voice tells you to do something, you do it. You must do it, like writing this article. It is the last thing I ever expected to do. Then I thought he didn’t tell me how much to take or how to prepare it. As soon as you could blink an eye. I knew how much to take, how to prepare it, and it would take 4 to 6 months to cure me. I also knew I wasn’t to make a penny on it.

As soon as I got around that morning, I dug some roots and started to prepare it. About a week later I started taking it. Three weeks later the pain in my back and side was gone and my bowels had improved. Five and one-half months later they could find no cancer problem in me at all.

I, then wanted to find someone else to try it, and that was the biggest problem yet. Nobody seems to want to help. When I told doctors, they just smiled as if I was nuts. Finally, I was telling a friend about it and he said he had a friend that was dying of lung cancer. He had it in both lungs and was bed ridden. They were tapping his lungs. He had been given 4 to 6 weeks to live. After he had been on this powder about six weeks, he was up and around doing his chores and driving his car. He went to his doctor’s office, and the doctors could not believe it. They took him to the hospital and gave him a CAT scan. They found no cancer lesions in his lungs and said it was a miracle. I then put an ad in The Northwest Herald offering it free, and four people said they would try it. Slowly one person told another and it spread. There was a fair amount of people taking it for different kinds of cancer and several for other things. For instance, a man lost the use of his immune system and was told he wouldn’t be able to work again for three years, in six months he is now working ½ days and feeling better. I know this is not a cure-all. It won’t help everyone or all kinds of cancer. I know it is not a cure for skin cancer and it hasn’t had luck with brain tumors. There is a doctor in Boston, Massachusetts that has developed a vaccine that is doing great things. This has been successful with prostate, colon, breast, liver and best of all with lung cancer. Five people have taken it for lung cancer and all five have been cured once. The immune system controls the cancer cells in your body. As long as the immune system is healthy, you don’t usually have a cancer problem. When your immune system gets run down, it loses control of the cancer cells, and they start eating live cells and this is what they call cancer. This powder made from dandelion root has something in it that builds up the blood and the immune system.

When the immune system is built up so far, it gets back control of cancer cells, and they do an about face and start cleaning up the mess they’ve made. This is why you must have a fair appetite because your body must build itself up and be healthy if your immune system is going to be strong. This will not work for people that have lost their appetite or are on CHEMO. Doctors try to blast the cancer out of your body with Chemo or radiation. By doing so, it destroys your immune system and appetite. These are the most important things your body needs to beat cancer. Operations also knock the immune system haywire. This is why so many people that have operations for cancer find that a short time later it has spread somewhere else.

Many of the worst diseases that have plagued the world have been cured quite easily. When I was a boy, women dreaded the goiter more than cancer. A little iodine in the diet cured that. For hundred of years the most dreaded diseases was leprosy and lockjaw. A doctor found he could produce penicillin from moldy bread and could cure them and many more things. How long has moldy bread been around? I’m sure scientists will find many uses for the powder made from the root of the dandelions besides cancer. I have already found it builds up the blood so you heal much faster.

To make the powder from the dandelion root you must follow my directions to the letter. Any changes and it won’t work. Dig a handful of dandelion roots any time of the year – it doesn’t matter. Cut the leaves off just below the crown. DO NOT WASH. Then they must be dried around 100 degrees. I do it in an incubator with no water. You can also dry them under a heat light bulb if you raise or lower it so it’s 100 degrees. You can also use the sun or put them in the attic if it’s not too hot. It takes about 5 or 6 days in the incubator. I have not done this all the way under the heat light. When you break a root and it snaps it is ready to powder. Take an old iron frying pan and a clean hammer. Take one root at a time and place in the frying pan and start tapping. Don’t hit hard or it will fly all over the place. I put my hand around the root to keep most of it in the pan. If it sticks to the hammer and pan, and doesn’t crumble in your fingers, it isn’t dry enough. Keep it up until you have enough to start. It takes about 20 minutes to ½ hour to prepare enough for a week. When you get used to it you can go much faster.

I have an old vessel that druggists used to pound pills, this goes much faster. DO NOT USE AN ELECTRIC GRINDER, it won’t work if you do. You lose too much of the good part in dust. You must do it as I have said or don’t do it at all. I’ve tried shortcuts, but it seems someone was looking over my shoulder, and I know when I made a mistake. I’m just an old farmer and not a scientist, so I wouldn’t know the correct amount to take on my own. Now take a little over one-half teaspoon once a day at any time and mix it with water, orange juice, etc. Do not use in soft drinks, liquor, or anything hot. When mixed, use it all. Don’t let it stand around. Keep the power in a dry place. After taking it three or four days, you will feel good, but nothing else. That is because your blood is building up. When you blood is happy, you’re happy. In most cases, this will build your immune system in from three days to three weeks to the point it takes back control of cancer cells and thus the cancer stops spreading. In most cases it is going to help. There is no body feeling as it works. You just feel a little better each week. After three weeks most of the pain will be gone in your back and you know it’s working if you had pain there like I did. If you have bone cancer in the spine, it will take three months to work. This is not an overnight cure. It took a while to get in this condition and it will take a while for your body to heal. The sooner you start, the quicker you will be over cancer. Young people heal faster than old people, but it will help at any age. I know because I’m 80 and have been taking it for over three years. No cancer has come back and no side effects except when my body has had enough, it lets me know by getting heart burn. Then I back off some. Some people get stomach aches when they need less. It also means your cancer is under control and you don’t need as much. You will also find you probably won’t catch a cold while you are taking it full-strength.

The biggest enemy for this root is Chemo. The stronger the Chemo, the less chance the power has to help you as Chemo tears your immune system and appetite down, two of the most important things you need to cure cancer. There is only a ten percent chance Chemo will cure you. With no chemo, your chances are 75 to 80% but you must take it every day. Don’t let your doctor give you that old treat if you turn him down that goes, “If you want to throw your life away, I can’t stop you.” Just remember that 90% of the people that take his advice and take chemo are in the cemetery. Don’t blame the doctor, he is doing his best with what he has to work with or you could ask for a written guarantee.

I have only mentioned cancers that I know people have had and used this root. It should help pancreas cancer if taken before the appetite is gone and most body cancer. This is food, not a drug. It shouldn’t interfere with medicine your doctor may be giving you. Only two doctors have told patients to keep taking the power when they have made a miracle recovery. The rest of the doctors have run the power down and blasted the people even if the cancer has disappeared. The medical world is not going to accept this easily.

Going back to not washing the roots and leaving a little soil on them, it is for your own good. A good bit of immunity comes from the soil, it starts as soon as you are born. Your fingers touch something, and you put them in your mouth. A little dirt at first, and more as you grow older and start crawling. Then everything you touch goes in the mouth. When children go outside to play and when they come in, they are the dirtiest around the mouth and hand. The hands go in their mouths no matter how dirty they are. Many diseases and bacteria live in the ground, but they don’t seem to cause any trouble but it does build up the immune system. Some animals can’t live if they can’t eat a certain amount of soil. If you read this article over, you will see it all goes back to common sense. I wish all of you people with cancer and other problems the best.

George Cairns
Phone: (815) 338-1526, or send self addressed envelope to:

708 Hughes Road, Woodstock, IL 80096

This ad does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Northwest Herald. The dandelion root powder you can buy at a Health Food Store is not made the same way. It is not known to help cancer. This is a reprint of the ad in The Northwest Herald.



Jeff
 
                    
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Dandelion, one of my favorite plants (among so many). I don't know what the Chinese are up to concerning Dandelion, but I can tell you what I learned in my youth, and how we use them.
Dandelions grew big and fat at home.  It is my dream to improve my soil to the point it grows good dandelions, not the measley ones I get now. By the way, the ones in the video are nothing to write home about either.  When we bought our isolated fourty acres, there was not a single dandelion growing here. Zilch.  We built a small house and I prayed, "dear God, please send me some dandelion". Next spring when we came to the "farm" there was one plant growing in front of the kitchen window. No place else.
As  a child I picked baskets of dandelionfor the rabbits.  Dandelion salad in early spring, with a hot, sweet sour dressing on it.  The root, dried and ground, or chopped and dried, for stomach and liver.  The stems, while in season, eat ten of them every day if you are diabetic, if you are not, your pancreas will like it anyway. They taste crunchy, mildly sweet and mildly bitter. Not bad. The buds, when they are still tightly closed,  prepare like brussel sprouts, steam and season.  good for a couple of meals. The blossoms, okay, there is the famous dandelion wine, which I never cared for. But what we do like is Dandelion "honey," which really is syrup, which looks and sort of tastes like honey, you could fool some people.  I used it in baking at Christmastime for Lebkuchen, we used it on pancakes and in herbal tea like honey. I have not made any since we moved to the "farm" as the blossoms just are so wimpy.  with really big fat blossoms I would just cut the green part off with scissors and not pluck the petals. If too much green is in the mix, it tastes a tad bitter and not as good.  My husband likes to eat the blossoms like the girl did in the film.  I tried it and got a case like hay fever. I used to have hayfever  when the meadows were yellow with dandelion.  They are past their prime now, but I still pick leaves and put them in the Vita Mix with other stuff that I use to make a green drink.  The flowers are so beautiful,  I am sure if it was rare and difficult to grow, much effort would be put into growing it in gardens. 
 
                          
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what a wonderful plant dandelion is.

That story about the man curing his cancer with dandelion was very inspiring.

here is an excerpt from susun weeds website.

Eating Dandelion greens, even just a few, with your meal will encourage your stomach to produce hydrochloric acid, your liver to produce enzymes, your gallbladder to produce bile, and your intestines to step up peristalsis. The whole digestive process is assisted, and as a result we are able to assimilate more nutrients from our food, and problems like gas and constipation are decreased. Dandy is a potent liver tonic and rejuvenator, prized as a spring tonic by many cultures. Several leaves a day will go far in helping you make a healthy transition into the springtime.

Worth eating for their nutritional value alone, the greens are extraordinarily high in Vitamins A and C, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in iron, phosphorous, and the b-complex, as well as other trace minerals. Tasty both fresh and cooked, try adding a chopped handful to your salad and put some in with your other steamed greens. I like to cook them with sweet foods that help cut the bitterness, like onions, squash, and garlic. Surprisingly, without their telltale yellow flower dandelion plants can be hard to identify in early spring. The best key is that their toothed leaves have no hair at all, unlike their look alikes. And remember- the flowers are edible too!
 
Haru Yasumi
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This year I'm planning on harvesting the seeds from the dandelions as well as the leaves and roots, then start a bunch of seeds in a pot for some easy, nutritional greens 
 
ronie dee
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If you can get a patch to grow close together outside, you can cover the Dandy in early winter when it gets cold. Leaves will work or a box of some kind. On nicer days uncover the Dandy and there are long blanched narrow leaves that are super crunchy sweet with just a hint of bitter. You always wish there was more than you have.
 
                          
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i read they attract ladybugs (great if you have spidermite issues
 
Ru Deana
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Great info! Thanks!
 
                                              
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Elfriede B wrote:
Dandelion, one of my favorite plants (among so many). I don't know what the Chinese are up to concerning Dandelion, but I can tell you what I learned in my youth, and how we use them.
Dandelions grew big and fat at home.  It is my dream to improve my soil to the point it grows good dandelions, not the measley ones I get now. By the way, the ones in the video are nothing to write home about either.  When we bought our isolated fourty acres, there was not a single dandelion growing here. Zilch.  We built a small house and I prayed, "dear God, please send me some dandelion". Next spring when we came to the "farm" there was one plant growing in front of the kitchen window. No place else.
As  a child I picked baskets of dandelionfor the rabbits.  Dandelion salad in early spring, with a hot, sweet sour dressing on it.  The root, dried and ground, or chopped and dried, for stomach and liver.  The stems, while in season, eat ten of them every day if you are diabetic, if you are not, your pancreas will like it anyway. They taste crunchy, mildly sweet and mildly bitter. Not bad. The buds, when they are still tightly closed,  prepare like brussel sprouts, steam and season.  good for a couple of meals. The blossoms, okay, there is the famous dandelion wine, which I never cared for. But what we do like is Dandelion "honey," which really is syrup, which looks and sort of tastes like honey, you could fool some people.  I used it in baking at Christmastime for Lebkuchen, we used it on pancakes and in herbal tea like honey. I have not made any since we moved to the "farm" as the blossoms just are so wimpy.  with really big fat blossoms I would just cut the green part off with scissors and not pluck the petals. If too much green is in the mix, it tastes a tad bitter and not as good.  My husband likes to eat the blossoms like the girl did in the film.  I tried it and got a case like hay fever. I used to have hayfever  when the meadows were yellow with dandelion.  They are past their prime now, but I still pick leaves and put them in the Vita Mix with other stuff that I use to make a green drink.   The flowers are so beautiful,  I am sure if it was rare and difficult to grow, much effort would be put into growing it in gardens. 


Part of the issue with you having smaller dandelions, is likely genetics as well. It sounds like when you were young you had a variety that was over time selected for the best plants. Possibly over a VERY long time.

the last part in your post, that if dandelions were hard to grow that everyone would strive to grow them had me laughing... 
 
Suzy Bean
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I was looking over a couple of sites, and this one had a nice summary http://www.farminfo.org/garden/dandelion.htm . On another site, I learned that the whitish juice from the roots is a good mosquito repellant!

Planting

Dandelion requires a long growing season and develops best at low temperatures. Sow seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep in May to early summer and thin seedlings to 8 to 12 inches apart in the row. The plants form a rosette of leaves and overwinter in the garden. They will grow in any well-drained garden soil. A polyethylene tunnel can be placed over the row to force growth for late winter or early spring cutting.

Dandelions can be grown in the garden and should be treated similar to lettuce. If grown for a fall crop it should be planted in mid-summer. Dandelion is a perennial and can become a problem in gardens if allowed to grow unchecked.

Harvesting

Harvest in the fall when plants are of satisfactory size. Cut just below the crown with a sharp knife so that the leaves remain attached. Unharvested plants may be left for use in the following spring. Harvest in early spring before the plants form flower stalks and go to seed. If flowering occurs, the greens will become bitter and of poor quality. Some gardeners blanch the inner rosette of leaves by tying the outer leaves together over the plant. Blanching makes the leaves milder and less bitter.

Dandelion is extremely high in iron and vitamin A. The young tender leaves fresh from the garden are used in salads or served with vinegar, and crumbled bacon.
 
paul wheaton
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Eden Gal from True Nature Farm in Boulder, Utah starts off by telling us about how dandelions will soften soil.

alexia allen pf Hawthorn Farm in Woodinville, Washington shows a polyculture with a lot of garlic and some huge dandelions. She finds a dandelion leaf that is more than half her height. And eat it. She talks about which leaves are less bitter and how her taste for bitter has developed as she has gotten older.

toby hemenway, the author of the popular permaculture book "gaia's garden" explains how the dislike of dandelion is due to the desire of an unnatural single species of grass for a lawn. He talks about how the dandelion will show up in compacted soil, and solve that compaction problem. And he covers how dandelions will share the nutrients they find down deep with their neighboring polyculture plants.

Jamie from Vashon Island, Washington shows how sometimes when you try to blow on a dandelion puff ball, the little parachutes (seeds) aren't ready to leave yet.

Matt, from Feral Farm, talks about the permaculture concept of being a dynamic accumulator because of it's tap root. He then talks about how grass is a big focus/battle for his techniques and the dandelion helps to displace the grass.

Kristi from Carnation, Washington eats a dandelion blossom. She expresses that it isn't just edible, but also quite palatible.

Gunella from Carnation, Washington is eating the blossoms and explains that she doesn't like the stems.

Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski, of Hot Springs, Montana, talks about how eating dandelion is good for your liver. Later in this video he explains how he sold a bunch of dandelions for $900!

Kyle Kolini from Duvall, Washington tells us that the scientific name for dandelion is "Taraxacum officinale" which means "the official remedy for disorders". Apparently dandelion was brought to north america as a medicine and as a food.

Samantha Lewis thinks that if we can get more dandelions in our lawns that would be awesome. She explains how the dandelion taproot will punch through hardpan soil and bring minerals up from the deep and then shares those minerals with neighboring plants. She advocates eating the leaves, the root and the blossom. She thinks putting the leaf, root and flower into a tea makes an excellent tea. She explains that the dandelion coffee is actually roasted dandelion root tea. Then she points out that it doesn't taste like coffee, "it tastes like kinda burnt roots."

Samantha says the name for the dandelion comes from the leaves being deeply notched like the teeth of the lion. One identifier for dandelion is that there is no stem.

Samantha pointed out that some gravel in the video is machine packed, but the dandelion was still able to get through.

Owen Hablutzel, director of PRI USA and a holistic management certified educator, asks why farmers and ranchers buy lime to put on the soil, when dandelions will bring calcium to the surface for free.

The mighty, the glorious, the amazing sepp holzer (author of "Rebel Farmer", "sepp holzer's Permaculture" and "Desert or Paradise", plus the star of several documentaries about permaculture) scatters some dandelion seeds for the sake of having more lettuce near the kitchen.

Jacqueline Freeman of Friendly Haven Rise Farm and spiritbee.com in Battleground, Washington, talks about how dandelions provide some of the earliest bee food.

Helen Atthowe of veganicpermaculture.com in Stevensville, Montana expresses how eating the first dandelions in the spring not only helps cleanse your system, but helps to fight a lot of human ailments including cancer. She mentions vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and other micro nutrients, B vitamins including B6.

Kelda Miller, a permaculture instructor in Tacoma, Washington, gives tips on how to reduce the bitter flavor. Both by removing the central leaf vein, and by chopping the leaf finely and adding olive oil.

Norris Thomlinson from Portland, Oregon talks about the flavor from the different parts of the dandelion. He says the stems can be used to make dandelion spaghetti. He finds that the roots taste really good when cooked.

Samantha comes back and shares that the seeds come off of the head at 70% humidity. This is so the seeds will come off just before the rain comes.
 
Daniel McGinnis
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Location: Kansas City Kansas
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I use the vitamix and chop fresh leaves up with other fruits and vegetables can't taste the bitterness at all I love those pesky weeds
 
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