Nature Knows Best: Dandelions are more helpful than you think!
As I write this it is 14 degrees outside with a much cooler windchill factor. But, spring will be here soon! Many people do a yearly spring cleaning of their home not to mention the amazing opportunities outside for projects and gardening. However, I am here reminding you about the possibility of spring cleaning your body!
I love to eat with the seasons which means in the fall we eat our bounty full of pumpkins and squashes. In the summer it is fruits and veggies straight from our garden or Sapulpa’s own Route 66 Farmer’s Market. It just makes sense to me that the Lord knows what our bodies need during each season so He makes those foods readily available to us.
With that being said, did you know dandelions (taraxacum officinale) aren’t really a weed? Oh…I know some lawn care specialists may argue with me but a dandelion is chocked full of nutritional benefits so in my book they are technically medicinal herbs! Dandelion can be made into syrups, teas, salads, soups and more. And…they are the first food for the bees in the spring!
If you want to astonish someone this spring just pick a yellow dandelion flower and pop it in your mouth. Little do most people know those little flowers contain antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, can help relieve depression and much more!
The leaves and roots of dandelions are potent. Many people will throw rinsed leaves into their salad which contain Vitamin D, fiber, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium and protein to name a few. The young leaves are less bitter than mature leaves and always make sure to collect organic dandelions (plants that have NOT been sprayed with chemicals).
Dandelion root makes a great detox tea. If you don’t have time to make your own it can be purchased at the health food store and some grocery stores in the tea section. My family and I drink it every spring as a gentle detox. It is a diuretic which increases urination so it helps the kidneys remove waste. It also acts as a digestive aid and helps balance beneficial bacteria in the intestines!
I have just skimmed the surface of the many health benefits of dandelion. Webmd.com has this to say, “Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstone, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic. Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer.”
Please note it is very important to teach children this rule: just because some plants are edible does NOT mean all are safe and to always check with an adult. Also note that some people with allergies can be allergic to dandelion.
I hope this helps you see “the weed” growing in your yard in a different light.
Brooke DeLong, N.D.
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Disclaimer: The goal of Nature Knows Best is to empower and educate people to take control of their health, naturally. Please use common sense, visit with your health care provider and do your own research if something piques your interest.
About the Author
Brooke DeLong has a degree in Naturopathy and is passionate about educating and inspiring people. She is a wife and mom to four awesome kids.