The common dandelion (lat: Tarakacum sect. Ruderalia) is widespread in the entire northern hemisphere, except in the polar regions. A herbaceous plant with a height of between ten and 30 centimeters can be found on most roads, in gardens and meadows. The increased occurrence of wild dandelion plants on agricultural land indicates a high nitrogen content in the soil.
Strong dandelion root can reach a length of one meter and more. Mostly from March to May – occasionally in autumn – the plant produces hollow, sapid stems of inflorescences that can reach a height of half a meter. Aside from the slight rise of the felt, they remain bare to the top.
Dandelion flowers and leaves are increasingly being collected and processed into salads, tea or honey. The part of the plant that is somewhat forgotten is the dandelion root. Dandelion root is also extremely healthy for the body. Special attention is paid to bitter substances that can alleviate digestive problems.
All those who have not yet discovered dandelions, have missed a lot. The plant, which is often discarded as a weed, can be used almost entirely in the kitchen and in the production of medicines. Young dandelion leaves are prepared in a similar way as spinach, but can also be served as a salad with a dressing of your choice. Dandelion tea is a tried and tested home remedy for various diseases. Even flowers can be consumed or processed into honey. In the past, dandelion was considered a cheap substitute for coffee, which still knew how to inspire with its intense aroma.
Dandelion root is just as versatile as flowers and leaves. The root can be used wonderfully in the kitchen. Of course, taste is especially relevant here. Dandelion root is recognized primarily by its sweet, but also bitter taste. That is why it is very popular in salads and as a side dish.
What is in dandelion root?
The use and consumption of dandelion root is especially recommended because of its valuable ingredients. Bitter substances are of primary importance here. There are not many natural products in which bitter substances are naturally present, so this plant plays a special role. These bitter substances are, among other things:
Thanks to these three substances, dandelion root has a very positive effect on digestion and can, among other things, help create significantly more digestive juice. Dandelion root also contains a substance similar to furosemide.
Dandelion root effect
Thanks to the ingredients, dandelion root has a number of positive effects on the body. For example, bitter substances provide a much stronger flow of bile. For increased bile flow, the liver must work harder than before, which is why it also benefits from consuming dandelion root. In addition, dandelion root has a positive effect on digestive juice and saliva.
The root can resist the development of bloating and heartburn. Another use is for urinary tract infections . Dandelion root is convincing here due to its dehydrating effect and provides quick relief in the urinary tract. Those who suffer from dry skin can use dandelion root to restore greater elasticity to the largest human organ. For this, pressed juice can be produced, which is then applied to the skin. Regular use of pressed juice pays off. On the one hand, it has a positive effect on the complexion, on the other hand, it also ensures healthier hair.
Dandelion root due to loss of appetite
Dandelion root is also a proven remedy for loss of appetite. Various causes, such as constant stress, personal problems or gastrointestinal illnesses, can contribute to loss of appetite. You can counteract the loss of appetite by consuming dandelion root. Feeling of hunger that occurs after consuming dandelion root due to bitter substances. Bitter substances stimulate digestive juice, on the one hand, and saliva, on the other. Both eventually signal to the body that it is hungry and, in turn, create an appetite.
The large flow of saliva leads to another advantage: saliva can decompose food very quickly, so that the ingredients quickly enter the bloodstream and are further transported.
Dandelion root accelerates fat burning
Meals high in fat and legumes ensure that bile production is maintained. This is noticeable through various discomforts:
- Feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen
- Fat chair
In the case of limited bile production, fat digestion can be accelerated by ingesting dandelion root. For successful relief, it is important to take dandelion early. Only in this way can it stimulate the production of bile.
Important: Dandelion root should not be used by people with gallstones.
Dandelion root for the treatment of urinary tract infections
People with urinary tract problems are also often advised to use dandelion root. In addition to dandelion root, the dandelion plant can also be an important aid in flushing the urinary tract. In addition to the rinsing effect, dandelion root also has a draining effect. The root can be used preventively, ie to protect the urinary tract from infection . In this case, a sufficient amount of fluid is needed. It should be at least two liters a day.
How is dandelion root used?
In order for dandelion root to develop its full potential, it must, of course, also be used properly. As with all other parts of the plant, dandelion root can be used in different ways. The best way to use dandelion root is to make tea.
Many thousands of species and one name
The botanical peculiarity of the common dandelion is that it makes no sense to name one species. Due to the liquid, variable and very difficult to distinguish variations, depending on the definition, several thousand species are placed under one name, dandelion. So-called levels of ploidy are central. This means the number of chromosome sets present in the cell. In the case of common dandelion, there can be two (diploid), but also three (triploid) or four (tetraploid). In addition, there are mutations in the genome (aneuploid) in which there are additional chromosomes or some are missing.
Dandelion dandelion, although fertile, is not compatible with other diploid plants. Triploid young plants usually develop together with tetraploid dandelion. Like most aneuploids, they reproduce asexually by germ cell fusion and form their own species with each form of mutation. In the past, dandelion species were a collective species, Tarakacum officinale.
In the case of flowers, the harvest of the plant is of course concentrated in the main flowering period in the spring. Other above-ground parts of the plant are available until autumn. Dandelion roots (Tarakaci radik), on the other hand, should not be harvested until autumn. Then the leaves gradually withdraw, and the concentration of the active ingredient, especially inulin, is highest in the root.
A story full of magic
Historically, the dandelion is surrounded by a mysterious aura. Its meaning as a prophecy or a plant with magical power passes into the realm of the mystically hidden. For example, in North America, the natives not only smoked dried tobacco leaves for cult purposes, but also dandelions. In European regions, rubbing the plant on the skin was associated with the fulfillment of desires. In addition, on the night before All Saints’ Day, she was on Christmas Eve, whence the word “Halloween”, part of the Druid advocacy ritual. It is also quite obvious that dandelion has attributed prophetic power. For example, the number of umbrellas left after blowing once is an indicator of the remaining years of life.
This contains dandelion: Ingredients
On the other hand, the ingredients that make up the plant and turn it into an effective medicinal herb have nothing to do with magic. At first glance, these are:
- Bitter substances of sesquiterpene lactone (eudesmanolide tetrahydroyridentin B and germacranolide ainslioside)
- bitter substance taraxacin
- triterpene taraxasterol
- Sterols (coumarins and flavonoids, as well as sitosterol)
- Vitamins (choline, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C and D)
- Minerals (especially potassium)
- Inulin (especially in the root)
Most of these substances are present in all parts of the plant, although they can achieve a higher concentration in the dandelion root thanks to its storage function.
The bitter substances of dandelion, which are rarely found in other plants, are especially interesting. These include, above all, some so-called sesquiterpene lactones. These are derivatives of terpenes, sesquiterpenes. These secondary plant substances serve to defend against fungi and bacteria, but also against other pests, such as worms, and even keep some mammals away. Over 4,000 sesquiterpene lactones are known. In dandelion, they occur mainly as tetrahydroyridentine B of the eudesmanolide type and as an ainslioside belonging to the germacranolide type.
Squalene is formed from two sesquiterpene units. These are unsaturated compounds that give triterpenes. Triterpene taraxasterol is especially present in dandelion milk juice together with the bitter substance taraxacin. Other active ingredients in dandelion are sterols such as sitosterol, but also various coumarins and flavonoids. There is also choline, vitamins and minerals, including a very high content of potassium. Mucus and inulin are concentrated mainly on dandelion root. Inulin is a complex sugar that is indigestible to humans, but it is very easily accepted by some intestinal bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium breve. In addition to bitter sugars, it gives the root a sweet taste, along with other simple and multiple sugars, while the plant is very bitter.
Dandelion in traditional folk medicine
In folk medicine, dandelion has traditionally had an excellent reputation as a diuretic. This is evidenced by cordial dialect names such as “Bettschisser” or “Pissblume”. In addition, dandelion is one of the home remedies for rheumatism, and especially milk juice for the treatment of warts. It has also been used to purify the blood, detoxify, support during fasting and to alleviate liver and gallbladder problems.
Dandelion: a digestive medicinal plant
Starting from folk medicine, dandelion is also found in modern medicine. Many traditional uses have been confirmed in practice. However, there is still insufficient research on the mechanisms of action of dandelion ingredients. Well-documented digestive and appetite effects, as well as its gentle effect on bloating and bloating, are probably due to bitter substances. It is very likely that they are also the reason for the improvement of bile flow, and together with the high content of potassium, for diuretic properties.
Dandelion as a tea and more: recipes / application
Dandelion roots and herbs are traditionally served as tea. If a dried plant is used, one tablespoon should be used per cup. One teaspoon of powdered root per cup is enough for dandelion root tea. In addition, there is cold water, which is now cooked with dandelion and taken from the hob. After ten minutes of boiling, the tea can be strained and consumed. You can drink three to four cups a day.
Fresh dandelion roots can also be used as a coffee substitute. For that purpose, dandelion root is cut into small pieces, dried and baked in the oven. The pieces are ground, boiled with water and immediately poured through a sieve.
In addition, powder from dandelion root can be used as an addition to spices to many dishes. Salads and soups, as well as vegetable dishes are served – carefully dosed.