In a culture so accustomed to ‘foraging’ at a supermarket, it is often overlooked that the bounty of nature is evident in our own backyards. In this post we will be looking at one species of plant that may be of use to the preparedness minded, and those holding to shinobi-no-jutsu principles of bush-craft.
Taraxacum officinale, commonly referred to as dandelion, is an ubiquitous perennial with medicinal and nutritional properties that have been exhaustively documented. It is teeming with water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins such as A,B,C, and D, and also boasts of mineral content that includes zinc, potassium, and iron. In supplementing a preparedness perspective, knowing the nutritional properties of this plant will aid in the prevention of disease (such as scurvy, a vitamin C deficiency) if usual sources of vitamins become scarce.
The entire plant, root, stem, and flower are edible, but rather bitter due to their high flavanoid content (though I have accustomed myself to enjoying the taste), and while this edibility is a useful property of the plant, it is important to remember that its medicinal properties make it a poor choice for consistent consumption (don’t make it a mainstay of your everyday diet and consult herbology texts on uses).
Its leaves contain a diuretic which have lead to the conjecture that it may help in treating heart conditions, though no institutional research on humans, so far as I know, have been conducted. Animal studies, however, have given some indication that this plant may be used to lower blood pressure, increase HDL (high-density lipoprotein, aka good cholesterol) and reduce inflammation.
In addition to the medicinal and nutritional properties of dandelion, the plant also makes for a yellow-dye that can be used to create a ‘bruising’ appearance on the skin or make one appear jaundiced. Other uses for the pigment may be derived from personal creative efforts.