[Sca-cooks] Newbie question about dandelions

Christine Seelye-King kingstaste at mindspring.com
Mon Mar 10 21:21:48 PDT 2008

Ok, don't laugh, but are dandelions old world or new world food, and does
anyone have any recipes or know how they were used?  How did they differ
from the common yard dandelions of today?  I have heard of eating them as
greens and making wine from them but no other uses.  Is it worth trying with
our current crop in the backyard or is this just an exercise in futility?

Christianna (the newbie one from Texas who mostly just lurks) 

Well, Greetings, Christianna, and welcome to the list! 

I've attached the notes I have on dandelions below.  You might consider
joining the SCA Herbalists list if you are interested!

Mistress Christianna MacGrain, the noisy one from Meridies ;)

DANDELION 						Compositae Family
	Taraxacum officinale, aka Leontodon taraxacum

History of the Name:  
Dandelion = 'dent de lion' = French = 'lion's tooth'
Leontedon = lion's tooth
Taraxacum = Persian = Bitter Herb

Characteristics and Native area: Perrenial, with a long, stout root.  Jagged
leaves, yellow flower which turns into 'puff ball' seed head.  This herb has
European origins, possibly from the Alps, and has spread worldwide.  

Major Uses:
Promotes the formation of bile and enhances digestive functions. 
Removes excess water from the body
Acts to remove poisons from the body.
Affects all forms of secretion and excretion from the body.  It acts as a
mild laxative, a tonic, diuretic and stimulant.  The fresh juice is most
effective, but can be prepared as a tea.  

Culinary Uses:
Young greens are used in salads and Dandelion Wine. (Later they gain a
bitter quality.)   Dried roots are roasted and used as a coffee substitute,
and can be fed to rabbits.  Roots can be cooked like or with parsnips and

Historical Uses: 
One medieval name for it was "Piss-a-beds" for its diuretic properties. 

Aperient - stimulant for the bowels, mild purgative
Cholagogue - agent for increasing the bile into the intestines
Diuretic - agent that increases the secretion and expulsion of urine
Stomachic - strengthens and tones the stomach.
Tonic - tones the body

Propagation -  by seed.

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