Dandelion, with the scientific name Taraxacum officinale and also commonly called bitter chicory or meacamas, is a plant that, despite being considered in many cases an adventitious herb, has numerous medicinal properties, highlighting its powerful diuretic power to eliminate toxins and retention of liquids.
Join us in this article if you want to learn what the dandelion plant is like and what it is for in the field of natural medicine.
How is the dandelion plant – characteristics
This plant is a species of the asteraceae or compound family. It is a perennial plant with a height of approximately 40 cm, with flowers of a characteristic yellow by which it is easy to identify it. Another of its most defining characteristics are its cipselas, which in many places it is customary to blow to spread them to the wind.
The origin of the dandelion is valued as European, although it is currently widespread throughout much of the world. It is a very common plant to be found in the wild in fields, meadows and roads, a fact for which, as we pointed out above, it is sometimes considered as a “weed”.
What is dandelion for – properties and benefits
Dandelion has a large amount of nutrients to contribute to the body: vitamins B and C, potassium, carbohydrates, beta-carotenes, flavonoids, oleic and linoleic acids and tannins. Thanks to its nutritional composition, the properties and benefits of dandelion are several:
- It is a plant with mainly cleansing and diuretic properties and, therefore, an ally of the liver and the kidney. Its diuretic effects help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
- In addition, its root has healthy sugars that are easily digested , which is why it is sometimes used for people with diabetes.
- The plant also has mild laxative effects , so it can be used as a remedy against constipation.
- Its purifying properties make it also indicated to help people who are recovering from chemical or food poisoning, and for this reason it is beneficial for the fight against cholesterol.
- The infusions of this plant, once cold, can also be used to wash wounds or treat skin conditions , and thanks to its high level of tannins, it helps with peripheral circulatory problems, such as varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
How to grow dandelions
Since it is such a hardy plant, planting your own dandelions at home shouldn’t be a big problem if you follow our guidelines for growing dandelions at home :
- The first thing to take into account when planting dandelions is the climate of the area. This plant prefers temperate climates, and conditions of direct sun or semi-shade. In addition, it is resistant to frost and wind.
- Regarding the soil, it is a plant that does not require pots or substrate, and that in fact grows much better directly in the ground. In addition, this plant is very undemanding to them, and any moist soil rich in organic matter will suffice, although with good drainage .
- To reproduce the plant by its seeds, it is preferable to sow at the end of spring . Ideally, prepare a seedbed for the seeds, which we will moisten and enrich with compost before planting them. We recommend the Bokasi or bocashi compost , which you can learn more about here.
- Leave the seedbed in the sun and keep it moist, and in about three weeks the seedlings should have already developed their second leaf, by which time they are ready to be transplanted to their final location.
- Dandelions do not need too much watering, being enough to do it about twice a week in hot seasons, and much less in cold seasons, although in the first days after sowing or transplanting you should water more often.
- It is also possible to reproduce the plant by division of roots. If you do, transplant a piece of clump that comes from a plant that is at least 2 years old, from the point of the rhizome. The best time to carry out this type of propagation is in the fall or late winter, and a single plant can be divided into as many new ones as there are rhizomes produced. By doing so, you can transplant directly to the ground, not being necessary the previous step of the seedbed or the temporary pot.
- Outdoors, it is recommended to form the dandelions in rows or rows, keeping a distance of about 10 cm between each plant .