I tell you now about a reviled weed, infesting the lawns of the respectable garden-proud gardener who deserves respect for his lawn in his garden. Phooie, I tell you! I am here to extoll the virtues of a flower so wonderful, so magical, so magnificent and glorious, it survives despite the best efforts of the murderous chemical-strewing lawn-slavers of the garden elite. I tell you about Taraxacum Officionale. I tell you about the weed of the Lion's Teeth, I present to your mind's eye, (oh, sorry, there's a picture over there), the mighty, the great, the uncontested medicinal weed...

Dandelion

Surely I am kidding. Not. I have, on more than one occasion, risked the ire of a particularly disagreeable executive officer by poking a screwdriver into the lawn under his office window. Hey, look, if he can't hire decent gardeners, I might as well take advantage of their collective incompetence and harvest dandelion roots during my tea time. To make tea. Which I then used to leave standing on my in-tray to draw. You must understand that this could have been very traumatic if I was the type to give a fig. "Hey, Cilo, I see you got your dope brewing again", or "Do you think this is appropriate?" from a guy still drunk from last night's party. I took all this in good spirit, because once my tea was drawn, I could walk over to the person that has been irritating the office with constant sniffling, cajole, shame, badger, bribe the victim into drinking one small cup, and go back to work knowing the so-called cold or flu or whatever virus is in fashion this week magically disappears. People tended to be grateful for the help, until you show them how to help themselves. Somehow, and I can only speculate why, seeing a dandelion as a weed on a lawn, instead of a nicely prepared tea, suddenly makes it disagreeable, and many of them would never drink any tea I made again. Others stood queue just to see what I concocted today...some people.

Pictures are not always as expressive as the photographer or editor thinks. Let me describe dandelion for you: fluffball puffball yellow flower flat on the ground milky sap. Huh? Okay, look at the picture somewhere around this article. There are really only two plants that look very much like that; dandelion, and lawn daisy. There are three obvious differences: milky sap when broken, like real milk-y. the leaves are soft and shiny, no hairs. Ever. The third difference is in the flower stalk. Dandelion flowers each come from its own stalk. Lawn daisies have hairs on the leaf, branches on their flower stems and a much less sap. Dandelions never branch. And they leak milk when broken. Easy.

If you can, get the root, but the leaves, flowers, stems, they all be good. It takes seven years to grow a good root, but mostly I grip what I get. Whenever I get to a new town, I always make sure I know where to expect dandelions. The slightest idea that my system is unhappy, I grab a fistful of dandelion, chop it into smithereens, and draw it like you would any teabag. The leaves float, but by the time the tea has cooled to drinking temperature, most if not all leaves will have sunk to the bottom. You might want to add honey now, but as an old hand, I just gulp it down in one swallow, sifting the leaves out with my teeth.  I kid you not, get the stuff down, you'll feel better before anyone notices the lettuce on you incisor. Honey is also a magnificent medicine, provided you get it from free bees. Enslaved bees seem to sabotage their honey on purpose, like they refuse to deliver more larvae to the satanic mill. Boiled, cooked, irradiated and otherwise abused sugar syrup of beelike origin tastes almost like honey, but has little of the true magic of wild honey. You can also eat your dandelion in a salad, real nice and fresh.

To see what we use Dandelion for, go to the GREENPETS HERBAL