Before You Get Out the Weed Killer – Dandelions are good for your health
Spring has sprung in Kentucky. The wildflowers are showing up on the hiking trails and dandelions are showing up in yards. In past years, you would have found Gayle in the yard digging them up by the roots and putting them in our yard waste bin.
But, not this year. We discovered that dandelions are a friend to our health and to our yard.
So, before you get out the weed killer, keep reading as you will soon discover in this article, the dandelion could be your new healthy best friend.
Dandelion (Taraxacum official) is considered a herb and all 4 parts of the Dandelion can be consumed – the root, the leaves, flower and even the stem.
The Bitter Truth
Dandelions have a bitterness characteristic that is good for your health. That bitterness is medicine derived from pant acids and healing alkaloids and makes them a cleansing herb.
Each of the four parts (the root, leaves, flower and stem) has a different degree of bitterness and each correspond with helping different areas of the body cleanse.
1. The flowers cleanse the stomach and intestinal tract, gallbladder, bladder, lungs, uterus and heart.
2. The Phytochemicals in the leaves help with poor circulation and purifying the blood. The bitterness of the leaves is geared to squeeze toxins out of the lymphatic system, making them ideal to include in your diet if you are facing swollen lymph nodes and edema.
3. The stem helps with cleansing the spleen, liver and even brain. It does this by pushing out bile that’s no longer useful.
4. Herbalists know that the most powerful part of the dandelion is the root, and its true power lies in helping to detoxify the liver. The root is the bitterest part of the plant and it forces organs to purge on the deepest level for an intensified purification.
Woah! That’s a lot of reasons already to include them in your diet, but keep reading.
One of the great things about dandelions, is that not only do they cleanse, they provide vital nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, B vitamins, manganese, iodine, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, silica and chlorophyll. In fact, dandelions even contain more protein, almost as much iron, and four times the vitamin A content found in spinach! It also has more vitamin C than tomatoes!
Dandelions are probably more nutritious than many of the vegetables in your garden. Not bad for a common “weed”.
- Dandelion helps the body by being a preventative for many health issues.
- Dandelion can help aid in digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- The Dandelion root cab help flush out fat deposits from the liver.
- Every part of the dandelion has some antioxidant properties and may help improve the immune system.
- Dandelion root can be effective as a blood cleanser.
- Dandelion may have beneficial effects on both red blood cell count and hemoglobin count.
How to bring them into your diet
- Easy way to bring dandelion into your diet is drinking dandelion tea
- You can add dandelion leaves to your morning smoothie
- You can steam or stir fry the leaves
- You can add the leaves and yellow blossom to your salad
Word of Caution
Before you go digging dandelions up in your yard to eat, make sure you haven’t recently treated your yard with harmful chemicals nor has your neighbor. If you or you neighbor have recently treated the yard with harmful chemicals opt for purchasing your dandelions at the local grocery or farmers market.
- Seeds can travel 5 miles before reaching the ground.
- They are actually flowers, not weeds.
- They are good for your lawn because they help fertilize grass.
- Every part is edible.
- They are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
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Ding A, Wen X. Dandelion root extract protects NCM460 colonic cells and relieves experimental mouse colitis. J Nat Med. 2018 Sep;72(4):857-866. doi: 10.1007/s11418-018-1217-7. Epub 2018 May 8. PMID: 29740735.
Davaatseren M, Hur HJ, Yang HJ, Hwang JT, Park JH, Kim HJ, Kim MJ, Kwon DY, Sung MJ. Taraxacum official (dandelion) leaf extract alleviates high-fat diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Aug;58:30-6. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2013.04.023. Epub 2013 Apr 18. PMID: 23603008.