Dandelions are North America’s Native Medicine
Dandelions are those pretty, little, yellow flowers commonly referred to as “weeds”, which are routinely removed and discarded from lawns across the country. The truth is, dandelions are not weeds at all, but completely edible flowers with powerful medicinal benefits. The plant is native to North America and Eurasia, and has been used as food and medicine for thousands of years. The roots, leaves, stems and flowers all have vitamins and minerals that support a healthy body and mind.
Dandelions contain high levels of vitamins K, C, A and B6 that support a healthy, balanced diet. There’s also a significant amount of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium that help regulate blood pressure and produce healthy, red blood cells. Here are the benefits and uses of each part of this miracle flower:
Dandelion roots have long been used to treat liver and stomach issues, and today are commonly used to treat heartburn, gastrointestinal disorders, high cholesterol, diabetes and more. They contain bitter compounds that work as a mild laxative to aid with digestion.
Usage: Typically, the raw dried or fresh root is brewed into a tea or infusion. Additionally, the root can be made into a poultice and applied topically to ease acne, eczema, rashes and other skin conditions.
The dandelion flowers contain high levels of polyphenols, which help fight against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Plus, there are tons of antioxidants in addition to vitamin A and B12 content. The flowers can help relieve headaches, muscle cramps and even boost mood. In Korean folklore, they were used as a powerful antidote to skin infections and tuberculosis.
Usage: Dandelion flowers, like the roots, can be used in teas and tincture, in addition to infused into syrups, honeys, wines and cordials. Also, the sweet and crunchy flower can be eaten raw, breaded or fried. Even the sap from the stem of the flower can be used topically to treat rough skin, calluses, corns and warts.
Dandelion leaves, also known as dandelion greens, are the greens that grow in abundance directly around the flower. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that help protect vision, control blood sugar, encourage wound healing, protect heart health and prevent certain types of cancer. They’re dense in vitamins A, C, K and calcium.
Usage: Dandelion greens are popularly used in salads. The taste is a bit earthy and bitter, kind of similar to radicchio. In a salad, they can be consumed raw and slightly massaged to make them more tender with lemon or dressing. Alternatively, the greens can also be sauteed with garlic and oil for a nutritious side to any meal.
Dandelions are a true medicinal flower that grow abundantly here in the USA. If one picks dandelions for consumption, they must be sure that the lawn has not been treated with any fertilizer or toxic chemicals. In addition, they should make sure that they are not allergic to dandelion or dandelion pollen. If unsure, avoid consumption. Teas and poultices, as well as the flowers and greens, can also be found in many health food stores and organic markets.