The wonders of a weed

Have you ever stopped to think about the humble dandelion? What a happy looking flower it has, how it keeps on thriving even in the worst of conditions (and possibly no matter how many times you try to pull it out!)?

The dandelion is a common sight in our gardens and throughout the countryside. Seen as a weed nowadays, it wasn’t always that way. During medieval times it was the dandelion, not the buttercup, which was held under a child’s chin to predict through the glow how rich they would become and in the 18 century the glow symbolised how sweet and kind the child was. Before we started the tradition of making a wish before blowing a dandelion, it was believed that the number of stalks left after you blew it represented how many years you had left to live, hence the term ‘clock’ for this stalk.

Deeper symbolic beliefs are also held about this rampant little plant.

The dandelion is seen as the only plant which represents all three of the celestial bodies. The flower is the sun, the puffball the moon and the seeds are the stars.

It is also said to symbolise many different type of personal healing, spirituality, joy, the granting of wishes and the ability to survive and thrive through the difficult times. The bright yellow of the flowers radiates happiness and the colour is said to help not only stimulate our minds and memory but increase our energy levels, both mental and physical.

And it doesn’t end there! Our friend the dandelion has many practical uses, with the root, the leaf and the flower all being used as ingredients in food and medicinal preparations and as dyes; it even produces a milk which can be made into latex as well as treating some skin conditions. The dandelion is low in calories but rich in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium so adding it to your salad or using it as a vegetable will provide a healthier (if a little bitter) variation in your diet. Drinking dandelion tea is believed to both aid digestion and, with its diuretic properties, help to clear the kidney and bladder of toxins and fats. Of course, you could just make dandelion wine instead or even dry, ground and roast the roots to make a fabulous caffeine free coffee substitute!

Be warned though – for a few people the dandelion can cause an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis so make sure you research your facts before you go on a dandelion forage!

Thanks to the following websites for their information on the dandelion:

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