I am starting a new series called HERBS in which I discuss a particular herb and its medicinal benefits and preparation tips. Here is the first entry.
Key actions: diuretic, mild laxative, help remove gall stones, bile stimulation, liver cleanser (tonic), digestive aid (due to its bitterness), skin and blood toner, treats UTIs
Although this is a weed, dandelion has many medicinal benefits. You can harvest the dandelion greens (not the flower) and eat them in early Spring (you can eat them later in the year too, they will just taste very bitter). The bud/flower of the plant can be used to make dandelion wine. You can also had the dandelion greens to soups or dry them and make a tea. Commercial versions of dandelion root tea are wihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifdely available, with Traditional Medicinals making a nice organic variety. Roasted dandelion root is apparently used as a coffee substitute as its color and bitter taste are similar to coffee. However, there is no caffeine in dandelion root tea/coffee (it would be great for someone transitioning to less coffee or for an after dinner drink). There are lots of "how to" videos online that teach how to make dandelion root "coffee" at home (using your very own weeds!). Here is one with videos to match.