Most people agree that yellow dandelions are a weed that gets busted annually with weed killer or pulled up by its roots. For others, they are learning what many ancestors had knowledge of; its entire plant has medicinal uses for mankind’s well-being.
Many people spend hundreds of dollars year after year buying weed killer and spraying “those pesky dandelions.” Some even pay professionals to rid their yard of them. However, the old recipes for eating dandelion flowers and greens are again, blooming beautifully in kitchens.
Yes, did you know that you can eat this “wicked” weed?
The internet has multiple authors, writers and health institutions that praise the benefits of this weed.
The dandelion has a long history of medical use, particularly in traditional Chinese Medicine, Arabic, Indian and Russian medical systems.
Many people are familiar with the making of dandelion wine, medicinal teas or the grinding of the roots for a coffee-like drink or jellies.
An old-time favorite is to fry the flowers to make dandelion fritters or fry them turned upside down in pancake batter, topped with a little honey for a sweet dessert.
The dandelion is an herbaceous perennial that belongs to the Asteraceae family of plants, along with daisies and sunflowers. Native to Europe, dandelion seeds were brought to America by American colonists, where they were initially planted for culinary and therapeutic use.
There are plants that look similar to the dandelion, such as cat’s ear and false dandelion.
The true dandelion is known for its bright yellow blossoms, deeply toothed leaves that point back towards the center of the plant and hollow stems that only produce one flower.
It is suggested that people allow some dandelions to grow in gardens because they are a source of food for pollinators, including bees, butterflies, beetles and birds.
Dandelion has many health benefits, is low in calories and packed with vitamins, whether consumed raw or cooked. Every part is edible – roots, stems, leaves and flowers.
Multiple websites and major studies agree that dandelions have potential benefits for many organs and may help keep one healthy and disease-free by “providing natural, biologically active compounds, including some called flavonoids and terpenoids.”
Here are some additional facts about the dandelion:
- They contain natural antioxidants that compound to help your body rid itself of free radicals, which are “unstable molecules made in your body that can damage cell membranes and DNA.”
- Life Sciences found that cancerous cells cultured with dandelion extract grew more slowly and eventually died, compared to cells grown without the extract
- Reduces the risk for cancer. A study published in the journal Oncotarget noted that aqueous dandelion root extract may be a safe and effective alternative to chemotherapies because it “efficiently and selectively triggers programmed cell death pathways.”
- Helps growth and strength of bones and is rich in calcium and Vitamin K
- Assists liver functioning, having antioxidants like Vitamin C and luteolin which protects it from aging and helps treat hemorrhaging in the liver
- Aidsin maintaining proper flow of bile, while stimulating the liver and promotingdigestion which can reduce chances of constipation and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages
- Weight Loss. The more one urinates, the more water and fats are expelled. Being diuretic in nature, it promotes urination, helping to lose “water weight” without causing side effects
- A diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt and excess water by increasing urine production. (Dandelion also replaces potassium lost in the process.)
- Inhibits inflammation and that sesquiterpene lactones and other phenolic substances in dandelion contributes to its anti-inflammatory properties. By fighting inflammation, dandelions may help reduce the risk for inflammation-related diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
- Used as sweeteners – low in calories
- Helps detoxify the body
- Leaf and flower extract may help reduce the risk for skin photoaging by protecting against UVB damage and suppressing the production of reactive oxygen species
- Good for feminine health, helps to balance hormones
- Rich source of beta-carotene which converts into vitamin A, fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium and vitamin D
- Contains more protein than spinach
- Treats anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression
- Helps lower blood pressure levels and reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases with its hypolipidemic property. Also a good source of potassium, which may help normalize blood pressure levels “by regulating the effects of sodium and easing the tension of the blood vessel walls.”
- Helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, through its ability to control lipid levels
- Lowers and controls cholesterol levels while improving cholesterol ratios by raising HDL may help improve levels of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) while reducing serum total cholesterol, triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)
- Boosts immune functionand fights off microbes and fungi optimal immune health with its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
When going on a Dandelion harvest, avoid areas where weed killer might be sprayed.
Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels, however, some people may have allergic reactions, therefore people should study before consuming.
Here is a recipe for Appalachian Style Fried Dandelions: 2 cups coconut flour, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 4 eggs, 80 unopened dandelion blossoms (stems removed) and 1/2 cup butter
Combine coconut flour, salt and pepper in mixing bowl and set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl, then add in the dandelion blossoms. Mix well until flowers are completely coated. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Remove half the dandelions from egg mixture, allowing the excess egg to drip away. Toss flowers in seasoned coconut flour until completely coated, then toss them between your hands to remove excess flour. Cook flowers in melted butter until golden brown, stirring occasionally for five minutes. Drain on paper towel. Enjoy your new ‘all-natural good for you’ meal.
The next time your child wants to blow the little bloomed dandelion weed ball all over the yard, you can say with a smile, “Go ahead sweetheart,” as you smile and contemplate new recipes for next year.