Dandelions: The superfood you never thought to eat
This week's weed is probably the most common and most well known of all the weeds in your back yard. The dandelion aka the taraxacum is a yellow flowering plant that becomes white the white and puffy flower you see little kids picking and blowing to make a wish (Yes they are one in the same).
Dandelions are one of the most hearty and robust "weeds" out there. They are commonly seen coming up through cracks in pavement, foundations of buildings, and in between sidewalks. Most may see the intrusiveness as a nuisance, which in today's society they are, but they have been held in high regard as a food as well as for their medicinal properties well before we started paving the sidewalks they penetrate.
The root is the part of the plant most commonly used in teas and sold as herbal supplements (seems like a waste since its growing all around us). The health benefits of the root include:
- Hangover cures
- Rich in vitamins A, B, C, & D
- Nourishes and cleanses the liver
- Fights free radicals
- Lowers cholesterol
- Neutralizes acidity in the blood stream
- Detoxifies the body
- Reduces bloating
- Decreases glucose levels
- Relieves heartburn
The leaves, root, flower, and stem are all edible. Dandelion greens are sometimes even sold in grocery stores alongside the kale, arugula and collard greens. There are many benefits of including the plant in your diet alongside the other leafy greens sold in stores such as:
- Balancing beneficial bacteria in intestines
- Keeping the kidneys clear of waste, salt, and excess water
- Balancing electrolytes
- Rich in antioxidants
- Slowing the spread of cancer
- Regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
- Reducing inflammation throughout body
- Boosting immune system and fighting off fungi
After reading this article and learning about all the benefits of dandelions, you may be tempted to run to your back yard and start gathering a nice bunch of dandelion greens. NOT SO FAST! If you are to forage outside for dandelions, make sure the ones you collect have not been treated with any pesticide, insecticide, or any other type of chemical that may be harmful to humans.
Thank you for reading this article, and I hope it taught you something you didn't know about something you are so familiar with!