You know, those pesky weeds that take over your yard…
They may be invasive, but lucky for us, dandelions are an excellent food and herbal medicine that anyone can find, grow, and put to use.
Dandelions are a rich source of beta-carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A. They are also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and a good source of B complex vitamins, trace minerals, protein, and even vitamin D. It has been eaten for thousands of years and used to treat a multitude of ailments.
If you choose to collect the flowers, seeds, greens, or roots from your yard, make sure they are free from pesticides!
The following, are health benefits provided by dandelions:
Bone Health – Dandelions are rich in calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones, and they are rich in antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin, which protect bones from age-related damage like osteoporosis.
Digestive Aid – Dandelions contain high levels of dietary fiber, making it beneficial for digestion and proper intestinal health. Dietary fiber stimulates healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stool, which reduces constipation as well as diarrhea. It regulates bowel movements, which can prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues. Dandelion also promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Kidney and Urinary Tract – Dandelion is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system as well.
Liver – Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance.
Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells.
Skin Care and Acne – Dandelion sap, also known as dandelion milk, is useful in treating skin diseases which are caused by microbial and fungal infections. Sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal, insecticidal, and fungicidal properties. It can reduce itching, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions. Dandelion juice is a good detoxifier, diuretic, stimulant, and antioxidant which make it a great treatment for acne.
Cancer – Dandelion acts against cancer to slow its growth and prevent its spread. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants, such as vitamin-C and Luteolin, and phytonutrients that combat cancer. Antioxidants reduce the free radicals (major cancer-causing agents) in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cancer.
Diabetes – Dandelion juice may help diabetic patients by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, helping to regulate blood sugar levels.
High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic, dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also help to regulate blood pressure.
Anemia – Dandelions are a good source of iron, vitamins, and protein. While iron is the integral part of hemoglobin in the blood, vitamins like vitamin-B and protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells and other components of the blood.
Cholesterol – Research has shown that dandelion can lower and control cholesterol levels.
Gallbladder – Dandelions are very beneficial for the gall bladder and liver by increasing bile production and reducing inflammation to help relieve gallbladder problems and blockages.
Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling throughout the body.
Immune System – Research has shown that dandelion may boosts immune function and fight off microbes and fungi.
Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible. They have a slightly bitter flavor. Cooking, decreases the bitter flavor and the leaves make a great addition to raw salads. Dandelion greens can also be added to pastas, dried and used in teas (along with the roots), as well as made into wine (used by the Amish to relieve cold and flu symptoms).
A Few Words of Warning: Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to inulin, ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion. Also, if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs, you should consult a health care professional before adding something new to your diet.