The modest dandelion is most often considered an annoying weed in gardens and farmer’s fields. However this golden yellow flower is actually a herbal remedy of a wide variety of ailments and has been considered a panacea since ancient times.
The botanical name of dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. ‘Taraxacum’ comes from a Greek word which means to alter or stir up and this probably refers to its medicinal properties which altered the diseased state of being. The term ‘officinale’ was given to all plants with officially recognized status as healing agents. The ancient Romans called the plant ‘Herba urinaria’ as an indication of its diuretic properties which is also why the French colloquially named the plant Pissenlit, meaning ‘wet the bed’. The German name for Dandelion is Lowenzahn or Lion’s Tooth and the same meaning is indicated in the French version, “Dent de lion” from which the plant gets its current name, Dandelion. In Belgium, the dandelion is especially cultivated as a crop. The inclusion of dandelion in herbal remedies goes as far back as 1373 when it was first documented in a French medicinal text. Today dandelion is a registered drug in developed nations like Canada.
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Dandelion and its aphrodisiacal properties
According to folk wisdom, dandelion root is supposed to have stimulating properties and thus work as an aphrodisiac. However today dandelion’s reputation as a sexual aid chiefly rests on its ability to alleviate problems of the urinary tract and maintain proper kidney function. Any person suffering from urinary tract infections or kidney problems cannot hope to have enjoyable sex no matter how high his sexual stimulation. It is here that dandelion comes useful in that it helps to flush out toxins from the body and regulate healthy functioning of the urinary system. In fact dandelion has been used as a diuretic since ancient times which is why perhaps it was commonly known as the “pee in bed” herb. Use of dandelion helps to increase the water content in urine, thereby disposing off dangerous waste products from the system. Moreover unlike commercial diuretics, dandelion does not result in potassium deficiency which is why it has been regularly used to treat children too.
Dandelion is a source of vitamins
Dandelion is also a rich source of several vitamins which are crucial for the healthy functioning of every system of the body and this includes the sex organs too. The plant is especially packed with Vitamin C and so regular intake of dandelion can provide all the benefits of a diet rich in this vitamin. In fact in the old days, dandelion’s high vitamin C content made it a vital supplement for settlers, armies and ship crews as a means of avoiding scurvy, the disease brought on by the deficiency of vitamin C. Today Vitamin C is recognized as one of the most important anti-oxidants which help to protect the body from free radicals and thus prevent the effects of aging, not to mention giving one younger looking skin for a long time to come. Vitamin C is also a known immunity booster and enables the body to fight infections. Among other nutritional components present in dandelion are iron, proteins, calcium, glucides, vitamin B1 and magnesium. All these are indirect but important means of pepping up one’s sex life.
Dandelion for weight loss
Yet another way in which use dandelion may indirectly help one to enjoy sex is in its ability to treat obesity. This is again the consequence of the plant’s diuretic properties since it helps one to avoid water retention, edema and thus reduce obesity arising from those factors.
Dandelion helps the liver and gall bladder
Among other health benefits of dandelion are those accruing to the liver and gall bladder. By helping to stimulate production of bile, dandelion is believed to cure disorders of the liver like jaundice and cirrhosis of the liver besides helping to strengthen the liver. Some patients also claim to have successfully cured gallstones by regular consumption of dandelion.
Yet another report suggests that dandelion root contains a sugar that does not stimulate excessive quantities of insulin in a person’s body unlike processed or refined sugars. Thus dandelion root extract is beneficial to people with late onset of diabetes.
The popularity of dandelion as a herbal medicine, its richness in nutrients and its easy availability all over Europe and Asia has given rise to a number of ways in which the plant can be consumed. It figures as an important ingredient in folk European culinary traditions where dandelion leaves are used in salads, soups, sauces and teas while a delectable wine is made from its flowerheads. In England, a popular drink named Dandelion & Burdock may still be available in some supermarkets. Dandelion root is in fact a common component in many coffee substitutes. As far as medicinal purposes are concerned, dandelion leaves are best taken in the form of tea prepared as infusion, decoction or even maceration. Apart from the leaves, dandelion tea may also include pieces of its root, rhizome and stems. Herbologists recommend that a cup of this tea be taken three or four times a day when used for diuretic purposes. Dandelion juice is preferred by those who want to make the most of the nutritional supplements present in the plant. Apart from the natural parts of the plant, dandelion is also used in the form of tinctures, extracts and capsules.
Side-effects of dandelion
Though dandelion is a mild herb, excessive use or unsupervised consumption may lead to certain side effects. Some people who have been using the herb for an extended period may develop allergies, bile aches, intestinal irritation or dermatological problems. While these side effects are not typical to dandelion, overuse of the ingredient like with any other herb can be harmful.
The humble flower which grows unbidden in grass and fields has made a very special place for itself in herbal medicinal tradition. Interestingly it also figures in a number of folk magical traditions like being used in love spells that call for fulfillment of desires kept secret. This aspect combined with its beneficial effect on physiological functions, especially of the urinary system, has led to its reputation as an aphrodisiac in some cases but more widely as a tonic for general purposes.