Monday, April 22, 2013

Dent de Lion

To many people this bright flower is a weed to get rid of. A gardener, or home owner looking after the lawn, will spray it, mow it, dig it out - do whatever they can to get rid of this stubborn blossom. Yes, today I am talking about the common dandelion.

Dent De Lion is French and means 'teeth of the lion', which aptly describes the flower of this hardy plant.

The first mention of the dandelion goes back to the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries. This medicinal plant was referred to as sort of a wild endive and called taraxcacon.
In Wales, there is reference to the plant as early as the thirteenth century.

Dandelions are seen throughout history. Ancient Egyptians, Greek, Romans made use of them and the plant is a staple in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. (I also hear they make good wine!)

It is thought that dandelions came over on the Mayflower, not as a pesky stowaway but purposely for their medicinal qualities. Dandelions have been used to help the liver remove toxins from the bloodstream, as a diuretic and the help the digestive system work at peak efficiency.

At one time, these sunny blossoms were a favourite in gardens in Europe. And what is more fun for a child then to run through a field full of 'lion's teeth'? If said child can catch a flying dandelion seed, he or she gets to make a wish.
Dandelions have been used to heal things like dandruff, baldness, toothaches, sore, fever, rotting gums, weakness, lethargy, depression and vitamin deficiencies.

The dandelion contains more vitamin A than spinach,  more vitamin C than tomatoes and are full of iron, calcium and potassium.

As any gardener can tell you, dandelions are masters of survival. They are fast growers - going from bud to seed in days - and a plant can live for several years. The root, which sinks deeper over the years, can go down 15 feet. The root clones when divided and one inch of root can grow a new dandelion. They also grow in the strangest places; a dandelion can push its way through gravel and cement to thrive in otherwise barren areas.
Believe it or not, dandelions are also good for your lawn. They have wide spreading roots that loosen hard-packed soil, aerate the earth and help reduce erosion.

The plant has a deep taproot, which pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil. It then makes the nutrients available to other plants and fertilizes the grass.

So the next time you decide to eradicate all the dandelions on your lawn pause for a moment. Considering all the benefits of this much aligned plant, is it really necessary to destroy it?

Thanks to A Modern Herbal website and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association website for the information on the dandelion.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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  1. I never new dandelion history and all its properties. I have a recipe for Dandelion Wine and use the leaves for part of the lettuce in the salad. Thanks for the great lesson. Your fan Lana Lee

    1. I was out walking on Saturday and they were all around so I started taking some photos of the flowers. From that I got this entry. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. You will have to let me know how the wine is and I was reading that you only use the young, tender leaves for salad. The older ones are bitter. Just like people! LOL

    2. My Grandparents and Mom made some years back but I was to young too taste it. However they said it was pretty good. I also have a recipe for Rhubarb wine. I never tasted that either. Keep on Karen you are doing a great job. Lana Lee

  2. Aw, this was an extremely good post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a
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    1. Thank you. It was fun to write! I procrastinate all the time too but I'm getting better.