Dandelion Officinalis Is A Useful Weed. Description, Useful Properties. Photo

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Dandelion Officinalis Is A Useful Weed. Description, Useful Properties. Photo
Dandelion Officinalis Is A Useful Weed. Description, Useful Properties. Photo
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Dandelion is familiar to everyone. One of the first summer flowers, it covers meadows, meadows, roadsides and city courtyards with a bright yellow blanket. Noticing it, gardeners rush to get rid of it, as from a malicious weed, and few people know about its benefits. Meanwhile, the ancient Greeks knew about the medicinal properties of this bright plant; in ancient Arabic medicine, dandelion was widely and variedly used. In Chinese folk medicine, all parts of the plant are still used as an antipyretic and general tonic. In the folk medicine of Russia, the medicinal dandelion was considered a “life elixir”.

Dandelion officinalis (Taraxacum officinale)
Dandelion officinalis (Taraxacum officinale)

Content:

  • Dandelion names
  • Description of Dandelion officinalis
  • The use of dandelion in everyday life
  • Dandelion health benefits

Dandelion names

The Russian name "dandelion", as it is not difficult to guess, comes from the verb form "blow", which is similar in meaning to "blow". This is how the name reflects the peculiarity of the dandelion - there is enough a slight blow of the breeze and parachutes-fluffs quickly leave their basket.

Probably for the same reason the scientific name of the genus 'Taraxacum' appeared - from the Greek word tarache - "excitement".

There is also a medical version of the Latin name for dandelion, according to which Taraxacum comes from the Greek word taraxis ("shaking"): this is how doctors in the Middle Ages called one of the eye diseases, which was treated with dandelion milk juice. From this name, the name of the disease in the people still preserved the expression "goggle."

Popular names for dandelion: hollow, kulbaba, cannons, puff, milkman, milkman, baldhead, priest bald head, Jewish hat, milker, tooth root, ridge, euphorbia, cotton grass, oil flower, cow flower, March bush, milky color, light, airy flower, etc.

Dandelion medicinal
Dandelion medicinal

Description of Dandelion officinalis

The most beloved and common dandelion in Russia is the medicinal dandelion.

Medicinal dandelion is a perennial herb of the Aster family; it has a thick tap-branched root that goes almost vertically into the ground and reaches a length of 50 cm.On the whitish surface of the root under a magnifying glass, you can see the belts of milky passages in the form of dark rings. Leaves in a basal rosette are ply-pinnate-dissected. Their value depends on the place where the dandelion grows.

On dry soils in bright sun, dandelion leaves are no more than 15-20 cm long, and in ditches, where it is humid and shady, they often grow three times longer. If you look closely at the leaf of the plant, you will notice that something like a groove passes through its middle. It turns out that these grooves collect moisture, including nocturnal moisture, and direct it in streams to the root.

The flower stem (arrow) of the dandelion is thick, leafless, cylindrical, fistulous, at the top it bears one yellow-golden head, which is not a separate flower, but their whole basket. Each flower looks like a tube with five fused petals and five stamens adhered to them.

Dandelion inflorescences behave differently during the day and depending on the weather. In the afternoon and in wet weather, they close to keep the pollen from getting wet. In clear weather, the inflorescences open at 6 am and close at 3 pm. Thus, according to the state of dandelion inflorescences, you can quite accurately find out the time.

Dandelion fruits are weightless, dry achenes attached by a long thin rod to parachute fluffs, which are easily blown away by the wind. It is interesting that the parachutes fulfill their purpose exceptionally accurately: when flying, the dandelion achenes do not swing or turn over, they are always below, and, upon landing, are already ready for sowing.

The minimum temperature for seed germination is + 2 … + 4 ° С. Dandelion seedlings from achenes and shoots from buds on the root collar appear at the end of April and during the summer. Summer seedlings overwinter. Blooms in May-June. The maximum fertility of the plant is 12 thousand achenes, which germinate from a depth of no more than 4 … 5 cm.

The dandelion easily adapts to environmental conditions and survives safely, enduring trampling and grazing. It cannot be drowned out and pressed by any other plants!

Dandelion medicinal
Dandelion medicinal

The use of dandelion in everyday life

Drinks and jams are made from dandelion inflorescences, which taste like natural honey. Europeans pickle dandelion buds and use them as they are in salads and soups instead of capers. And in Russia there were once salad varieties of dandelions. They differed from wild species in larger and softer leaves.

Dandelion honey is golden yellow in color, very thick, viscous, quickly crystallizing, with a strong odor and a pungent taste. Dandelion honey contains 35.64% glucose and 41.5% fructose. However, bees collect nectar from dandelion in small quantities and not always.

The inflorescences and leaves contain carotenoids: taraxanthin, flavoxanthin, lutein, faradiol, as well as ascorbic acid, vitamins B 1, B 2, R. The roots of the plant contain: taraxerol, taraxol, taraxasterol, as well as styrines; up to 24% inulin, up to 2-3% rubber (before and after the Great Patriotic War, two types of dandelions were bred as rubber plants); fatty oil, which contains glycerols of palimitic, oleic, lenolic, melisic and cerotinic acids.

Dandelion roots are inulin-bearing plants, so when roasted they can serve as a substitute for coffee. This also includes earthen pear tubers, chicory roots, elecampane roots.

Dried Dandelion Root
Dried Dandelion Root

Dandelion health benefits

Dandelion has a choleretic, antipyretic, laxative, expectorant, sedative, antispasmodic and mild hypnotic effect.

An aqueous infusion of dandelion roots and leaves improves digestion, appetite and general metabolism, enhances milk secretion in lactating women, and increases the overall tone of the body. Due to the presence of biologically active substances, food gruel from dandelion passes the intestines faster, and this helps to reduce fermentation processes in colitis.

Experimentally, during the chemical and pharmacological study of dandelion, anti-tuberculosis, antiviral, fungicidal, anthelmintic, anticarcinogenic and antidiabetic properties have been confirmed. Dandelion is recommended for diabetes, as a tonic for general weakness, for the treatment of anemia.

Powder from dried dandelion roots is used to enhance the excretion of harmful substances from the body with sweat and urine, as an anti-sclerotic agent, for gout, rheumatism.

In modern medicine, dandelion roots and herb are used as bitterness to stimulate appetite in anorexia of various etiologies and in anacid gastritis to increase the secretion of the digestive glands. It is also recommended to use it as a choleretic agent. Dandelion is also used in cosmetics - freckles, warts, age spots are reduced with milky juice. And with a decoction of dandelion and burdock roots, taken in equal proportions, eczema is treated.

Dandelion roots are pivotal, fleshy, serve as a place for the accumulation of nutrients. Raw materials are harvested in spring, at the beginning of plant regrowth (April - early May), or in autumn (September-October). Summer harvest dandelion roots are unfit for consumption - they give poor-quality raw materials. When harvesting, the roots are dug manually with a shovel or pitchfork. On dense soils, the roots are much thinner than on loose ones. Repeated blanks at the same place are carried out no more often than after 2-3 years.

The dug dandelion roots are shaken off the ground, the aerial part and thin lateral roots are removed and immediately washed in cold water. Then they are dried in the open air for several days (until the release of milky juice at the incision stops).

Drying is usual: in attics or in a room with good ventilation, but best of all in a thermal dryer heated to 40-50 ° C. The raw materials are laid out in a layer of 3-5 cm and periodically turned over. The end of drying is determined by the fragility of the roots. The yield of dry raw materials is 33-35% of the freshly harvested weight. Shelf life up to 5 years.

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