Yes, Dandelion is an edible plant!
These small yellow flowers that cause headaches for so many homeowners all over the world are not only edible, but are nutritious and have medicinal properties as well. Just break out your trusty blade and start getting lunch!
Taraxacum: also known as dandelion, is a small common weed that is native to North America, Eurasia and is found worldwide.
Many people think about Dandelions as an annoyance. This time of year, I constantly hear folks sharing concepts on how to eliminate those darn dandelions and which toxins work the best. On the other end of the spectrum, there are those throughout the world who welcome and embrace the dandelion as both food and medication.
The dandelion is a wild veggie that is abundant, very nutritious and still totally free. The parts used are mainly the leaves and root. They are high in vitamin A, B, C, beta-carotene, minerals, and fiber.
Dandelions function as a natural diuretic and are a popular blood and liver cleanser. They are also considered a general tonic to assist nurture and strengthen the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestinal tracts.
Dandelions have actually been understood to help with anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, liver disease, and jaundice, reducing serum cholesterol and uric acid levels. Dandelions have even relieved menopausal symptoms for some.
Hot flashes have actually been connected to liver congestion in certain people. When there is liver congestion, previously utilized hormones that are ready for discard ended up being caught in the liver, recycled and utilized consistently, eventually causing toxicity.
Then there are those who just love to cook with dandelions. Dr. Peter Gail, founder, and president of The Defenders of Dandelions has looked into recipes and folklore on wild plant usage by individuals throughout the world.
He has collected over 3000 dishes for 105 plants, including over 600 for dandelions. He began eating weeds as a young kid as a necessity for survival after a pal presented Gail’s household to them.
In 1994, to promote using dandelions, Dr. Gail’s company, Goosefoot Acres, chose to sponsor a nationwide dandelion cook-off in Dover Ohio.
It is held the first weekend in May every year and draws people from all over the nation eager to enter their preferred dandelion dish in the contest.
If you are ready to head out and pick some dandelion greens, it’s best to select the leaves when they are young and tender, specifically if you are going to consume them raw. This is prior to when it flowers. After it flowers, merely cut the plant back to the root and in about 2 weeks or so you will have more tender leaves.
This can be done all summer season.
It may be unhealthy to choose and consume dandelions from soil that has actually been exposed to duplicated applications of herbicide.
Chris Atzberger of Columbus Ohio has a recipe for the Classic Dandelion Salad that serves 4.
- Half lb. fresh dandelion leaves, chopped,
- 1 little onion minced,
- 8 oz. fresh mushrooms chopped,
- 2 T. balsamic vinegar,
- 3 T. olive oil, half t. salt,
- One-eighth t. black pepper.
- Toss and serve.
I also like mixing dandelion greens in with my other salad greens. They can also be prepared like any green. I wouldn’t dispose of the water after draining, for that’s where the majority of the nutrients are.
My spouse chooses steaming the greens in a little water or sautéing them in a little olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
The dandelion root is the part used primarily for medicinal purposes. It might be collected, dried, cut up then made into a tea. It must be simmered for 30 minutes or two. If you want to delight in some of the health benefits of dandelion but are not that adventurous, dandelion tea might be purchased as well as the capsules.
The dandelion root is also utilized to make a delicious and healthy coffee replacement called, dandy mix. Dandy blend had a delicious coffee-like taste that can also be used in baking or added to vanilla ice cream to provide a delicious velvety coffee taste.
Dandelion as A Food Source:
Dandelion is a great source of vitamin A, C, B6 and potassium. It also contains calcium, folic acid, copper, iron, riboflavin and magnesium. Dandelion leaves are one of the best eating greens available, and they have more calcium and iron than most cultivated greens.
The roots can be roasted, ground and used as a coffee substitute. The flowers can be made into jelly, syrup and wine. The flavor is very similar to honey. The leaves can be dried and added to soups and stews all year round.
Dandelion as Medicine:
Dandelion has been used medicinally for hundreds of years and was first documented in the early 1300’s. Some uses of the dandelion are, as a tonic, diuretic, decongestant, antacid, cholagogue, aperient and itch reliever.
The leaves and roots of a dandelion can be chopped up and boiled then strained to create a tonic to help with decongestant, urine flow, bile discharge from the gallbladder, and neutralize acids in the intestinal tract.
It is also said that Dandelion root may improve gallbladder and liver function, and help to strengthen the immune system.
A Word of Caution:
Although the dandelion may be used to strengthen the body and treat diseases it can also cause allergic reactions in some people. If you are allergic to ragweed, iodine, daisies, chamomile or marigolds you should refrain from using dandelions.
As with all herbs, one should research the plant thoroughly to avoid any unwanted side effect.
Mother Nature provides! It pays to know how to utilize the plants and trees in your area, or an area you plan to explore. With a little knowledge of the available resources, a survival situation becomes much less an emergency and more like another day in the woods.
Geared To Survive recommends these great books for identifying and using plants as food and medicine
Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition (Peterson Field Guides)
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
You can learn more at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Website or by watching below: