Dandelion: properties, benefits and uses in the kitchen

Dandelion: properties, benefits and uses in the kitchen

Dandelion is truly a plant with a thousand virtues capable of promoting the functionality of the liver, kidneys and intestines

Also called "piscialetto" for its diuretic and purifying properties, or "dandelion" for the shape of its petals, Dandelion is a perennial herbaceous plant. In these first weeks of spring it is not difficult to meet him in the uncultivated meadows and along the edges of the country roads and paths.

A plant with a thousand virtues – say Maurizio and Sandro Di Massimo in the book “The leaves. Culture and health from wild plants "(Aboca), a volume rich in information that is proposed as an invitation to learn about the main spontaneous plants for medicinal and food use – as can be understood from the etymology of the name. According to some interpretations, in fact, the scientific name taraxacum seems to derive from the Greek taraxo, which means disorder, and takos (pain or remedy).

Index

  • Property
  • Benefits
  • Food uses

Property

The pharmacological action of this plant is due to numerous active ingredients, among which the presence of taraxacin, taraxin, taraxasterol, sitosterol, lactupicrin, choline, organic acids, inulin, flavonoids, carotenoids (lutein and violaxanthin), substances tannic and resinous, mucilage, vitamins A, B, C and D, enzymes and mineral salts (including potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc).

Benefits

“In the phytotherapeutic field – reads the volume – clinical and experimental studies confirm the properties attributed to this plant over the centuries. Dandelion is an elective remedy in the treatment of functional problems of a digestive and renal nature, capable of stimulating the production of gastric juices, the excretion of bile from the liver, and of exercising a diuretic and mildly laxative activity.

Due to its strong purifying action (thanks to the elimination of toxins and metabolic waste) it is used in the classic detoxifying spring treatments (often combined with Chicory, Artichoke and Milk Thistle) ".
Like all remedies with a diuretic effect – the authors warn – it must not be administered for long periods of time, as it can cause a reduction in potassium reserves, a key element for good cellular functioning, although we must not forget that the same Dandelion is rich in this mineral: this mitigates any side effects of a long-term cure. However, a compensatory action can be achieved by increasing the consumption of bananas (notoriously rich in potassium) and fresh vegetables.
"Studies in the experimental phase seem to hypothesize an antitumor activity of this plant and a potential anti-inflammatory action capable of counteracting even severe forms of arthritis", add the experts. And its virtues do not end there, because among the traditional remedies the application of dandelion latex (obtained from the root and stem) on leeks, warts and calluses is mentioned to facilitate their elimination.

Food uses

While the plant is well known by those who use ready-made herbal remedies that can be purchased in herbal medicine for the purification of the body, not everyone knows that freshly harvested Dandelion can be an excellent ingredient to use in the kitchen. "From the food point of view, the basal rosettes collected when they are still tender before the formation of the flower stem – say Maurizio and Sandro Di Massimo – have a particular taste, pleasantly bitter and can be used in the preparation of recipes according to everyone's tastes . They are excellent eaten raw in mixed salads or cooked, mixed with other vegetables and seasoned with extra virgin olive oil or sautéed in various ways (with garlic, oil and chilli, with olives or anchovies). They are used in the preparation of soups, broths, omelettes, risottos and fillings for savory pies, calzones and wraps.

In the countryside it was customary to keep the flower buds in brine or oil, to replace capers.
The flowers can be added to salads and omelettes, while with only the petals, cooked over low heat with water, sugar, lemon and orange juice, a syrup (or "honey") is prepared, excellent to accompany fresh cheeses, yogurt. and sweets.

Finally, the dried and roasted root mixed with other ingredients (barley, chicory, chickpeas, figs, etc.) can prove to be an excellent alternative to coffee ", conclude the experts.

Tag: Infusions Natural remedies

Category: Welfare
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