It’s springtime and I’m sure you’ve seen bright yellow dandelion flowers littering your lawn.
Most folks view them as a nuisance, and break out the weed killer to eradicate them.
But, hold on a sec!!
Those bothersome “weeds” are catching your attention for a reason. And, it’s not to kill them and discard them. It’s to use them for a much higher purpose – your health and wellbeing.
Dandelions are highly revered medicine.
Before the 20th Century, gardeners used to weed out the grass to make room for more dandelions. Wow! Imagine that?
Dandelion, aka Taraxacum officinale, has a long history of being used as a blood purifier and spring tonic. It improves metabolism, supports weight loss and enhances vitality. And, according to internationally renowned herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, dandelion is invaluable to women going through menopause.
So, let’s take a closer look at this medicinal plant.
Every part of the dandelion is used as medicine.
- The root, used for its alterative effects, thins the fluids, especially the bile. In this way it slowly cleanses and supports the liver and gallbladder and is a classic remedy for gallstones and gastrointestinal challenges. Dandelion has long been prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its ability to clear heat from the liver. This is one of the reasons why it would be great for menopause (excess liver heat contributes to many menopausal symptoms). The root can be used as tincture, or as a nutritive food and tea.
- The leaf, with its jagged tooth-like edges, is salty and minerally tasting. Dandelion leaves contain vitamins A, C and K, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. They promote water removal while increasing potassium levels, supporting the health of the kidneys and spleen, and resolving swellings within the body associated with dampness. The leaves can be eaten in salads, stir fries, or prepared as a tincture.
- The flowers are mildly laxative, diuretic, and analgesic (pain relieving). They can be prepared as tea, eaten fresh in salads, made into wine, or applied as a poultice. I remember my cousin once told me that he used to make dandelion wine. I hope he reads this and is inspired to make it again. I would gladly travel from NYC to PA for a glass or two.
As you can see, this weed is growing to support your health and happiness.
Yes, that’s right, I said “happiness.”
Do you remember at any point in your childhood grabbing a dandelion that has gone to seed, making a wish, and then blowing that fluffy little ball into the wind? As you watched the little seeds fly away like miniature parachutes, you were compelled to smile. They are quite magical in that way.
If you haven’t had that experience as a child, please try it as an adult. I bet it’ll make you happy.
For those of you that haven’t tried dandelion as a food, here are some easy and delicious recipes for you:
- Dandelion Pesto
- Dandelion and Cabbage Salad with Horseradish Dressing
- Dandelion Fennel and Apple Salad with Toasted Milk Thistle
- Dandelions and Radish Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
And, remember… think twice about getting rid of the weeds in your lawn. You may be better off getting rid of your lawn instead.
 The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism, Matthew Wood, 2014 North Atlantic Books, pgs 230-233
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.