Dandelions

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Daffodils and dandelions tell us spring is just around the corner. Both plants produce lovely yellow flowers, but one we fertilize, and the other we poison. Ironically, it’s the one we detest that we should actually revere. Daffodils may be pretty, but dandelions are packed with nutritional and medicinal benefits!


Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins K and A, and also contain vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, and folate. They’re a good source of iron, calcium, and potassium, with smaller amounts of manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Did you know that dandelion leaves are among the best sources of beta carotene, along with other leafy greens? It might be well worth your while to create a special bed or pot in which to grow organic dandelions. No need for a green thumb either! They’ll thrive even under the most negligent of conditions.


The leaves are best eaten in the spring, when they’re young and tender — full-grown leaves tend to be bitter. You can add the leaves to salads or cook them with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice, for a simple but nutritious side dish. If the flavor is still too strong combine them with other greens like spinach or chard.


Dandelion leaves are also used in some digestive drinks and herb beers. New Belgium has recently come out with Dandelion Ale. And check out this recipe for Homemade Citrus Spiced Dandelion Bitters. Don’t feel like making your own? Buy Gaia Herbs’ Sweetish Bitters.


Dandelion flowers are typically not eaten, although I’ve seen recipes for them. They were apparently used in parts of England to make Dandelion Wine! In fact, here’s an article that includes a recipe: Dandelion Wine


The most common medicinal uses come from the dandelion root, which is excellent for detoxification and liver support. You can easily find Dandelion Root tea or make your own, combining it with herbs that improve the taste. (Try ginger or chai tea with it.)


Other benefits and uses include:


1. Diuretic

2. Tonic

3. Urinary, kidney, gallbladder, bladder, spleen, pancreas and liver disorders

4. Digestive aid (helps with constipation)

5. Stomachaches (drink 1/2 cup every 1/2 hour until better)

6. Breast abscesses 

7. Lowers high blood pressure

8. Hepatitis

9. Hypoglycemia

10. Diabetes

11. Increase lactation

12. Cancer support (For example, the Dandelion Root Project at the University of Windsor, UK is currently studying the use of dandelion extract for terminally ill cancer patients.)


There are no known side effects from eating dandelions or drinking dandelion root tea, but there are many health benefits! You can easily drink several cups of tea every day as a preventative or for maintaining good health.


This spring, don’t poison your dandelions! They are God’s gift to you for good health. Enjoy them!


References:


http://foodfacts.mercola.com/dandelion-greens.html

http://www.leaflady.org/health_benefits_of_dandelions.htm

http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/articles/homemade-citrus-spiced-dandelion-bitters/

http://www.uwindsor.ca/dandelionrootproject/

https://www.healthaliciousness.com/articles/food-sources-of-vitamin-A.php

http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000135000000000000000.html

Grieve, M. (1971). A Modern Herbal. New York: Dover Publications

Tierra, M. (1998). The Way of Herbs. New York: Pocket Books

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™