Dandelions: A Dandy Folk Remedy
By Sherry L. Stoll
You probably know the common dandelion as a nuisance in your pursuit of a perfect lawn. But did you know that this “weed” is actually good for you?
They are common perennials that pop up worldwide. They grow to about twelve inches tall, have spatula shaped leaves, and have bright yellow flowers. Many people try to eradicate them from their lawns before the flowers turn to puffballs and scatter seeds in all directions when the winds blow.
Dandelions have long been harvested for their greens when the leaves are young and tender in early spring. They have a mildly bitter taste, which is similar to endive.
Whether eaten in salads or ingested as a tea, dandelions are a common folk remedy for water retention. For centuries, Europeans have used dandelion tea as a tonic to strengthen and invigorate the body’s systems. It’s believed that the slightly bitter taste of the leaves stimulates and enhances your liver function thereby eliminating impurities from the bloodstream and excess fluid from your body.
Dandelion greens are a natural source of beta-carotene and they actually contain more iron and calcium than spinach. They are also noted for their decongestant properties.
If you would like to make your own dandelion tea, pour one cup of boiling water over four teaspoons of fresh chopped leaves (or two teaspoons of dried dandelions) and let it steep for ten minutes. Strain, and then drink three or four cups as needed. Never make tea from dandelions that have been sprayed with yard chemicals.
A simple way to use dandelion greens for a salad is to add them to fresh spinach or lettuce, tossing them with a vinaigrette made from extra virgin olive oil and fresh orange juice.
Dandelion roots contain a substance that can be used as a laxative. The roots can also be roasted and ground as a substitute for coffee. The flowers are sometimes used for making wine.
If you are unsure of what dandelions look like, consult a plant identification book. Remember to never use them if they have been sprayed with chemicals.
So the next time you try to drive dandelions from your lawn, you might want to think again. But if you still strive for landscape perfection, dandelion products are available at your local health food store.
Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any alternative treatment method and never use any dandelions that you think may have come into contact with chemicals.
This article is not intended as medical advice and is for informational puposes only.
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That was very interesting Sherry, but being married to a Horticulturist/Greenkeeper, and having a garden maintenance business, I'm afraid the old dandelion isn't considered all that "dandy" around here. ;-) But isn't it great knowing that everything, weed or not, was created for a reason and a purpose? With love, Deb
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