Dandelions are currently in a full bloom and if you fancy something sweet, simple and delicious to make, try this amazing banana and dandelion flower cake recipe. This cake recipe is absolutely delicious with moist texture and ingredients that you may have in your garden and it is super easy to make at home.
For the cake you will need:
1 cup of oat flour
1 cup of graham flour
6 ripe bananas medium size
Half a cup of coconut milk
Quarter cup of of brown sugar
10 dandelion flower heads
Silicone tray (round form)
Utensils (spoons, spatula, mixing bowl)
Blender (you can do it by hand)
The Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale, Weber, T. Densleonis, Desf; Leontodon taraxacum, Linn.) belongs to Asteraceae (Compositae) family and it is widely known for his medicinal properties in Europe and Asia. The name probably had derived from Greek “taraxos”, which means disorder and “achos”- remedy.
However the common name- dandelion has been used in France as the “Dent-de-lion” (lion’s tooth), “Dens leonis” in Latin and “Leontodon” which was assigned by Linnaeus. In the past, dandelion was often referred as piss-in-bed, wet-a-bed or bitterwort which indicated the herbaceous uses of the plant (Weed, 1989).
Botanical description of Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) tap root appears long and thick with kind of brownish colour, from where the leaves are radiating just above the ground in the shape of rosette. This physical appearance help maintain in Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) the adequate water level and nourishment. The leaves as mentioned before are basal and they are lying in the shape of rosette. They margins looks like they have been cut and wavy especially is noticeable in mature plants. They are also divided into lobes (segments) which are running into the centre of the plant. The stem is straight, hollow and leafless, which posses single flower head in the end of the stalk, called scape. Inside the stem is white/milky juice running which have bitter taste.
The flower of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is bright yellow with golden hints, which consists of many, close packed tiny, disc shaped ray florets. In the centre of the flower, each stigma consists of tube with developing seed under and sticking out anthers with pollen (Grieve, 1995). The bloom is supported outside by green bracts- the involucres. When the flower head matures the florets become to shed’s away and in its place the fruit appears called achenes, which is attached to parachute-like extension called pappus, hence its name dmuchawiec and pushki use in Eastern European countries which is subscribed to the flying seeds of Dandelion.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial plant, it begun to flower from early spring to late summer. Dandelion is recognized world widely as a herbaceous and weed plant. It can be found everywhere from Europe to Asia along with different species of this plant (see images 1-3 below). Dandelion grows in moist habitat where there is full access of sunlight and helps restore natural balance of minerals in poor soil.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is widely cultivated by farmers and gardeners. The flowers are great source of nectar for honey producers whereas the leaves found they place in menu in many farm animals. Leaves are great for rabbits and birds, where the roots are mainly used by collectors for their medicinal purposes. Grieve has suggested that sowing Dandelion seeds should be placed one foot apart from each other otherwise they can spread out really quickly. The soil should be also cleared from stones as the root could developed branches which can be hard to dig up (Grieve, 1995).
In the past, many farmers where following the natural cycle of the moon as they believed that if the moon can affect human body can also affect the plants as well. As the rule applied, the sowing and planting of the plants and vegetables that grows above the ground should be done on the waxing moon, where plant roots should be done on waning moon. The reason for that is, on the waxing moon plants stores they content in the aerial parts of the plant, where in the waning moon their context is moving towards the roots. Furthermore, the transitions of the lunar cycle from one zodiac sign to another was indicating which particularly moment is more favourable to collect flowers, fruits, leaves or roots. Earth signs like Taurus and Virgo is excellent day for sowing or collecting roots, they will preserved much longer in the good condition(Paungger, J., Poppe, T., 2000).
The Dandelion root (Taraxacum radix) could be used fresh or dried. The dried roots should be collect until October or early spring due to their nutritive context (Inulin) and then washed and cut into small pieces. After drying process they should be kept in the dark and dry condition. If they are break easily with white appearance the roots is ready to use (Grieve., 1995). The favourable moment for the leaves is on the water days of Scorpio which involves sowing, planting and harvesting.
The Dandelion leaves are often picked up during the early spring so they don’t have the bitter taste. As for the flowers, they should be planted and harvested on the air days of Libra. The blooming flowers of Dandelion are really good to collect before the noon when they are fully developed (Paungger, J., Poppe, T., 2000).
Historically, it was popular as a “spring tonic” or “ blood purifier”. In Chinese medicine, Dandelion was known in 659 CE as diuretic, for the liver issue and lymphatic. The plant is “drying” and cooling in nature which takes away excess fluids from the body hence used for enlarged lymph nodes and cancer (Wood., 2008?). The Dandelion appeared in Europe in the 15th century, it was known later on as a “spring tonic” and “blood purifier”. It was described in “Complete Herbal” by Culpeper (1653 ed.) as cleanser, diuretic, liver, spleen and gallbladder problems under planet Jupiter [accessed online].
In the 16th century Dandelion was used in Polish folk medicine for liver spots, fevers and digestion. The root was dispensed in wine and vinegar with fennel. The whole plant was collected in May and the fresh leaves were used for cuts and wounds (Hodorowicz., 1999). Although Dandelion become popularised as a “spring tonic” in Europe, it has also been known as main ingredient in beer production. Often was combined with nettle to increase their purifying action and smooth stomach ailments (Buhner, S. H., 1998).
In Modern medicine Dandelion root has mainly hepatic properties due to compound named taraxacin which is more prominent in the roots. Another important substance found in Dandelion is Sesquiterpene lactones which have anti-inflammatory properties. Leaves of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) perform different actions, due to their high potassium and sodium level. The leaves act as diuretics and restore mineral balance in the body. The research done by M. Wood (1998), indicate that Dandelion could be used for many specific conditions:
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) teas should be prepared from 3-4 teaspoons and infused for 15min, the tea could be drunk one time per day (Bartram., 1998).
Dandelion (Taraxacum radix) decoction: 1 teaspoon of the root cover with boiled water and leaved for 15min to infuse. The decoction could be taken half of the cup daily (Bartram., 1998).
Tinctures of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) should be dispense 1-5 parts in 25 per cent of ethanol (Bartram., 1998).
Tablets or capsules for urinary flow: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) powder 90mg; Horsetail (Equisetum arvense L) 10 mg and Uva Ursi (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) powder 75mg (Bartram., 1998).
Dandelions should be used with caution for those who suffer with allergy for any plant from Compositae family. The symptoms may include dermatitis and light sensitivity. There has been also reported parasite infection and gastrointestinal disorders. Dandelion should be avoided when taken anticoagulants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Women during pregnancy should not use Dandelion herb (NCAM., 2009).
If you have been feeling recently a bit under the weather or suffered from winter chills we have few natural remedies that may definitely keep you in tip top condition this winter and are available from Balanced Body Clinic in Twickenham. In our winter essentials collection you can find refreshing and warming teas made with hibiscus flower (Rosa sinesis) and cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) that will take you back to the memories of “mulled wine” and wintery nights surrounded by crackling fire. Just one tea spoon in boiled water with extra honey will bring warm and comfort to your senses after long and hard day.
Or those who suffered recently from chills and feel a bit flu-ish we have our wonderful and incredible tasty homemade rose hip syrup with honey and lemon to support your immune system and fight the first symptoms of feeling under the weather. Made with only natural ingredients, the rose hip syrup is a perfect choice for children and older adults who love honey based syrups with an extra splash of lemon.
The rose hip fruit (Rosa canina) is sourced locally and it may naturally contain around 450mg of vitamin C per 100g of fruit as well as other essentials vitamins and fatty acids. Our honey is also sourced locally in the UK and its potential anti microbial and anti inflammatory properties may aid in fighting nasty cold infections. We only use natural preservative in our rose hip syrup which is lemon juice that also contains lots of vitamin C giving a boost to your immune system.
You can enjoy our rose hip syrup in the morning and evening, on its own or in glass of water. Just be aware there is limited stock supply for our rose hips.
Our last but not least winter remedy is homemade marigold (Calendula officinalis) and chickweed (Stellaria media) extract salve which is perfect for chapped and dry skin.
Marigold has been traditionally used in skin formulations to deeply nourish and repair damaged skin and with added beeswax it may help to retain lost moisture back to the skin that has suffered from cold and dryness. Chickweed on other hand makes an invaluable remedy for itchy skin that has suffered from eczema or psoriasis. It may help with the first signs and symptoms of itching and superficial inflammation known as hives due to its anti inflammatory properties. Our salve contains only locally sourced ingredients like plant extracts, oils, beeswax and essential oils and does not contain any nasty ingredients.
You can apply small amounts on clean area and leave it on just to make sure to keep your salve after it in the dark and cool place to prolong its shelf life.
The medicinal benefits of hawthorn are due to number of constituents, particularly the oligomeric procyanidins (OPC’s) and flavonoids that have been confirmed to have beneficial effect on the heart through:
Except cardio protective abilities, hawthorn berries have been also used as a relaxant and mild diuretic for both children and elderly.
Whereas hawthorn has been much recognized for its medicinal action in the kitchen it has been completely forgotten and it is shame as it tastes really delicious especially in cakes. This hawthorn cake recipe it was more experimental than anything else but it came out simply divine. It is a bit time consuming but all worth it by the end.
Ingredients for the cake:
2 whole eggs
1 glass of flour
¼ glass of sugar
2 tbs of double fat cream
2tbs of coconut oil
4tbs of milk
1tbs baking powder
1L of ripe hawthorn berries
75g of baking margarine
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