Plant wonders: Delicious Dandelion

May is in full bloom, and natural treasures are everywhere. One of the most valuable plants worth harvesting now is the dandelion, says expert and doctor of pharmaceutics Vija Eniņa.

The great thing about dandelions is that they're free - all that is needed is the time to go somewhere away from traffic, harvest the nature's gift, and dust them off.

Harvesting

Both dandelion flowers and leaves can be collected. They can be used fresh in salads, leaves can be juiced, and dandelion-flower honey can be made. Dandelion roots can also be collected, but they will be more valuable come autumn.

Drying

Leaves and flowers are spread on paper (not newspaper) or clean cotton or linen fabric in a thin layer. They should be placed somewhere well-aerated, shady, out of direct sunlight. Roots should be thoroughly washed, dried off, cut into pieces and then left to dry. It is best to dry the roots in the oven at 60 degrees Celsius, as they are dense and tend to retain moisture.

Use

The dandelion is a great metabolic regulator and immunity-enhancer which adjusts cholesterol and restores balance in the body. It is good for liver health and contributes to bile secretion. Leaves and flowers can simply be submerged in boiling water and left to infuse. If using roots, take one glass of boiling water per tablespoon of dried roots. Simmer for 15 minutes on low heat. Place lid on the pot and let it stand for 40 minutes. Drink one third of a glass three times a day before meals.

Disclaimer: Only consume plants you are sure of. Do not us plants you don't recognize or plants that have grown in dubious locations.

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