A Weed To One Person Is Medicine To Another
Every spring; your yard is suddenly full of sunshiny little yellow flowers, happily growing and populating as they go, popping up here and there. Your neighbors’ husband is desperately trying to eradicate them from his precious lawn while you on the other hand are harvesting food and medicine for the coming season.
As surprising as it is; Dandelion contain high levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, known to provide strong protection against cellular damage and can slow down the aging process. And because of this; it is a wonderful and natural superfood; a rich source of nutrients such as vitamin A, C, K and the B-vitamins. Not only that; but essential minerals including magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline. And, all parts of these little plants can be eaten.
1. DANDELION GREENS ARE HIGH IN NUTRIENTS AND FIBER
Dandelion is a great source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Add it to your healthy diet; cooked as a side dish or raw and added to your salad. I personally have added leaves to my salad for a nutrient boost.
Dandelion leaves can also be added to a sandwich like lettuce. Early spring leaves are best. Later leaves can be a bit bitter. Adding to some leaves to vinegar and using like a salad dressing can help prevent osteoporosis and is reported to help to reduce sugar cravings.
When I was a kid; my brother brought a baby rabbit home in his pocket. Mom bought a cage and other accessories and we named him Thumper. Every spring and summer we went out in the front and back yard and picked dandelion greens. He loved them.
2. DANDELION ROOT CAN BE DRIED AND GROUND TO PUT IN CAPSULES TO BE TAKEN ORALLY
The root of the dandelion is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber found in plants that supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy bacterial flora in your intestinal tract.
Dandelion root can be dried and infused into a nutritious tea. Root can also be eaten in its whole form. It is also a natural diuretic and is used to flush excess water from the system. The root and leaves are often used as the ingredients in poultices for abscesses and sores.
This miracle herb is reported as being good for the skin. It can be applied to the skin directly as in tinctures or poultices and many people also take it in capsule or tea form to help clear up their skin issues.
3. THE PRETTY YELLOW FLOWERS CAN BE EATEN OR MADE INTO A TASTY WINE
While the flowers are still bright, fluffy yellow, they can be eaten raw or cooked. They can also be made into wine. The recipes out there on the web call for the yellow petals only. Remove the green base or your wine will be utterly bitter and a waste of time and flower.
The season may be over for us here in Illinois but lets plan for next year. You could clear your entire yard of the luscious yellow balls of sunshine just for wine. This site a good recipe https://commonsensehome.com/dandelion-wine-recipe.
4. EVEN THE STEMS WITH THAT MILKY CENTER; HAVE MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Fresh Dandelion stems are reported to be great for relief of chronic liver inflammation, glandular swelling, gout, and rheumatism. But when you pick them, they turn your fingers sticky and a funny color, so I’m not sure I’d be willing to try them.
NEXT SPRING; GRAB YOUR BASKET AND HEAD OUTSIDE TO YOUR VERY OWN HERBAL WONDERLAND
An extension of your garden; you grab your favorite harvesting basket and head out to your yard to pick, pluck and dig to get at the flowers, roots, and leaves. Native Americans knew the benefits of Dandelion and used it to treat illness and as a nutritious food source.
When gathering your supply of dandelion make sure that the area has not been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides and that your dog has not visited the spot to do his business.
Herbalist Judith Berger calls dandelion “A supportive plant in the deepest sense”
“It is no accident that dandelion grows so abundantly in places which are heavily populated. Though we imagine that the cure for our ills are complicated, exotic, and expensive, often the plants which are meant to be our constant companions love to settle at our feet.”
Though Dandelion is generally considered safe, those allergic to ragweed, flowers in the mum family or iodine may not be able to consume it.
Always check with a doctor before taking this or any other herb as it may interfere with any other medications you’re taking.
Written by Liz Nellis
As a certified family herbalist and nutritional Herbologist; I write about herbs and their uses in our lives.