Every year millions of dollars are spent trying to eradicate weeds from yards across our country. Dandelions are considered a nuisance by many. It's quite true that dandelions can quickly overtake a yard. My dad who mows lawns for a living says that he can have a yard looking lovely and within a day or two the dandelions will be several inches high.
So, we set out to learn a little more about this so called weed. It took us a couple of days to locate a dandelion because I would notice a couple in the morning hours and we would go back and look for them in the afternoons and they would seem to have disappeared. I began reading in The Handbook of Nature Study and learned that the dandelion closes after being open for several hours.
We finally found a dandelion and used a shovel to dig it out of the ground. We examined the root closely and noted that the small dandelion had a very big root. Perhaps this has a lot to do with its success as a weed?
I know that Dandelions have valuable health benefits, so I consulted a couple of herb books that I have here...
We learned that the flower, leaves and roots are the most commonly used parts. The leaves can be eaten in salads. Dandelion can be combined with yellow dock for a potent blood purifier and liver cleanser. The roots can be dried and ground as a strong, bitter coffee substitute. According to Darryl Patton in Mountain Medicine, legendary Herbalist Tommie Lee Bass recommended the milky sap from a dandelion plant be applied to warts. The sap would kill the virus causing the warts and they would disappear.