Dandelions....Weeds or Friends?

Dandelions....Weeds or Friends?


It's the first signs of spring... as the grass comes back to green, it's speckled with yellow flowers.  Many will see this as a nuisance, but these common plants have many benefits, and not just for us.  The dandelions are the first food for the bees, as they come out from their long winter relying on the stores of honey which may be growing sparse.  It is a welcome sight knowing that our most beloved pollinators can start to replenish and get ready for a busy season of pollinating to give us fruits and vegetables.  Bees are another love of mine, I have come to appreciate how amazing they truly are and how much we rely on them.  Maybe I will write about the wonders of bees once the herbs are covered.  Back to the dandelions...as you can see I regard them as a beneficial plant and I collect the greens to sauté with some butter/olive oil and a little garlic.  They can be a nice addition to your asparagus medley, since that is one of the first crops to harvest in the spring.  You can eat them alone as well, or wash and cut up into a salad.  The benefits of the greens is the liver detoxing effects.  If you make a smoothie you can add, or juice into a green juice.  I have used the greens in many detox cleanses as well, a blend of celery, carrots, romaine/leaf lettuce, dandelion greens, cilantro, beet greens, as an example of an amazing  juice cleanse.  
For anyone that is not familiar with how to identify a dandelion, they are commonly with a yellow flower, alternatively the seed head is a ball of white cloud looking puff balls and as it ages could have just the empty stem of what is left of the empty flower.  They have a deep tap root that reaches deep into the soil.  It gets its name from the leaf edges, which are jagged and are said to resemble a lions tooth.  
The entire plant is edible and has many benefits.  It is best to harvest the greens when the plant is young, as they become more bitter with age.  The root can be dried and can be roasted as a coffee substitute, or when fresh can be cooked and eaten (the taste compares to a turnip).  The flowers can be eaten, commonly battered and fried, if unopened they can be prepared into pickles similar to capers or they can be boiled and served with butter.  The leaves and roots can be made into a tea, although bitter, is beneficial.  
The roots can be used for stomach and liver issues, the leaves as a diuretic when used for medicinal purposes.  The entire plant has vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants.  The leaves can be gathered and dried early in the spring so that they can be used later as needed.  You can make tinctures, teas, and can be used along with other herbs/plants to increase effects.  
For a simple tea take a 1/2 teaspoon of chopped and roasted dandelion root in 1 cup of boiling water, pour the water onto the root and allow it to steep for 20 minutes, strain and drink.  Do not add sweetners as it will reduce the effectiveness.  You can drink up to 3 cups a day for the medicinal  benefits.  If you are struggling with urinary tract infections, this could be a good addition to prevent and even help to eliminate an active infection.  Although there are many other uses, I wanted to highlight just a few common ones that may be useful without making a 3 page post.  If you have any questions about other uses, feel free to email/comment and I am happy to answer questions.  I will be back with the next post soon with another useful herb.  Have a great weekend!

Dr. Melanie 



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.