Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, says dandelion is one of the greatest tonic herbs of all time. What makes dandelion so special is that it can be used as both food and medicine, every part of the plant is actually edible and in temperate parts of the world it will grow without any effort.
Dandelion is native to Europe but can be found throughout temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. European settlers brought dandelion to North America.
Dandelion is part of the Asteraceae family. Other common names for dandelion are cankerwort, common dandelion, lion's tooth, and swine snout. As mentioned the entire dandelion plant can be used, the roots, leaves, and flowers.
Health Benefits of Dandelion Root
Dandelion root is rewarded for its digestive bitters. It has a stimulating effect on the liver which helps induce the flow of bile and cleanses the hepatic system. The root can be used as a diuretic, and tones the kidneys while aiding in proper water elimination.
Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens
Let's talk about the health benefits of adding dandelion greens to your diet. Dandelion greens are nutrient-dense and a great source of vitamins and minerals, like calcium, folate, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Dandelion has been shown to help control blood sugar in people with Type 2 diabetes. It is considered an anti-diabetic plant because of its anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Dandelion also has diuretic effects because of its high potassium content, which helps increase urine and treat water retention. This also means dandelion greens can help treat high blood pressure due to their diuretic effects. Dandelions also can help control or lower cholesterol because they affect lipid metabolism.
As mentioned it also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and even heart disease. The antioxidants present in the dandelion greens can also help protect the body against cancer and metabolic disorders and disease, by keeping the immune system strong.
Dandelion Green Nutrition
Dandelion greens are one of the most nutrient-dense greens you can eat. In one cup there are 25 calories and vitamins and minerals, like:
- Calcium (103 mg)
- Folate (14.8 µg)
- Iron (1.7 mg)
- Potassium (218 mg)
- Vitamin A (279 µg)
- Vitamin C (19.2 mg)
How To Use Dandelion
Dandelion is both a food and medicine. The roots, leaves, and flowers of dandelion can be used to incorporate medicinal benefits into your diet.
Since dandelion greens are bitter they can be used by mixing in with your tamer salad greens for a similar (but more intense) kick to arugula.
Dandelion greens can be cooked and this actually reduced bitterness, saute or steam the greens and if you like mix in other greens like spinach or kale. Make sure to add some salt cause this helps reduce the bitterness and to enhance the meal try adding some garlic or sprinkling with some nutritional yeast.
Dandelion greens can also be made into pesto, try our dandelion pesto recipe which can then be used on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, toast, and anything you would put traditional pesto on.
Dandelion greens can be infused for tea.
The flowers can also be used in salads. Used fresh or dried to make dandelion flower tea.
Dandelion flowers can be infused for tea or made into wine.
Dandelion root can be added to soups and broths to add additional nutrition and medicinal properties to your meal, just keep in mind the root is also bitter so not much is needed.
Dandelion root can be decocted and served as a tonic tea. Roasted dandelion root can be used as a coffee substitute since it makes a strong brew similar to coffee.
Dandelion, Common Questions
What parts of dandelions are edible? All parts of the dandelion are actually edible, the leaves, flowers, and roots can all be used as food and for medicinal purposes.
Can you eat dandelion greens? Dandelion greens and the entire plant are edible.
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