Monday, April 12, 2010

First Puffball!

First Puffball!

Common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

My lawn's first dandelion-gone-to-seed-of-the-year has brightened my day. I carefully plucked this dandy specimen and gently brushed the "soft, fluffy pappus on long beaked seeds" on the ground, spreading future yellow-flower-joy to other parts of my domain.

This white blowball has hundreds of seeds, each with it own little parachute, light as a thistle, designed to float with the wind to every corner of the world. How can anyone resist its sunny disposition and its selfless desire to gladden every heart?

"Official Remedy" is the translation of its scientific name, a tribute to its once proud position as a widely-used herbal medication. At one time, the seeds were purposely carried from place to place for cultivation (Harrington, 52).

Almost every book on my plant reference shelf includes a description of the dandelion. It is the King of DYC's (Darned Yellow Composites, referring to the uncountable numbers of yellow-flowered plants with which God has blessed us!)

Here's a brief rehash of the dandelion's myriad uses as food and healing:


  • peel, slice like carrots or use whole, and boil until soft
  • roast or fry, grind as for coffee


  • fresh in a salad
  • boiled as a potherb or tea (fresh or dry leaves)

Flower heads:

  • drop on top of pancake batter on the frying pan
  • dip into pancake batter and fry as appetizers
  • boil, add sugar, oranges, lemon, raisins, and yeast to ferment into wine


  • blow on the puffball
  • count the sees left to determine how many times you'll marry (Gibbons, 78)

Potential benefits:

  • vitamins A, B, and D
  • improves blood circulation (Brown, 103)
  • fiber
  • iron
  • calcium
  • protein
  • prevents or cures liver diseases
  • purifies your blood
  • dissolves kidney stones
  • improves gastro-intestinal health
  • assists in weight reduction
  • cleanses your skin and eliminates acne
  • improves your bowel function
  • relieves both constipation and diarrhea;
  • prevents or lowers high blood pressure;
  • prevents or cures anemia;
  • lower your serum cholesterol
  • eliminates or drastically reduces acid indigestion
  • prevents or cures various forms of cancer

Reference Links:

  • Harrington, H. D.; Western Edible Wild Plants, 1972, The University of Mexico Press
  • Brown, Tom; Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival, 1983, The Berkley Publishing Group
  • Densmore, Frances; How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, 1974, Dover Publications
  • Gibbons, Euell; Stalking the Wild Asparagus, 1962, David McKay Company