It’s that time of year again when commercials for gardening, home improvement, and weed killing are widespread. Currently, a TV commercial is airing that highlights how to deal with those “pesky dandelions”. I beg to differ, and that is what has inspired this post.
Growing up with Dandelions
We had dandelions in our yards every summer. It seemed that some people didn’t care that they were there, and others seemed tortured by the pretty bright yellow flowers that had taken over their yard. Whenever people called them weeds, and picked or sprayed to try and eliminate them, I was always kind of puzzled by it.
As kids, we played with them all summer during the dandelion’s different stages of growth. There were all kinds of rhymes, games, and fortunes to be told, with the magical powers of this plant.
Skip ahead to my late teens – around 1990, my new found passion was learning about herbs and supplements, and I was working in a health food store for the first time. As I started to become more familiar with the overwhelming and amazing amount of herbs available in tea, tincture, extract, oil, and capsule forms, one of the things I recall was the popularity of dandelion as a supplement.
Later in life as I moved to bigger cities, I found that dandelion leaves were part of the produce section of grocery stores for salads, cooking, and juicing!
Dandelions are packed with nutrition
1 cup raw dandelion leaves contain 7,000 i.u. of vitamin A. They are also an amazing source of iron, and a good source of vitamin C. The flower is full of carotenoids and lecithin. The leaves offer most of the diuretic action, and the root loves to keep your liver and your gallbladder healthy.
According to Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, dandelions have all of these amazing properties, history, and healing possibilities in conjunction with: PMS, high blood pressure, colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, boils, ulcers, obesity, dental problems, itching, internal injuries, liver remedy, jaundice, gallstones, water retention, bloating, yeast infections, digestive aid, diabetes, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor.
Most people understand that the long-term use of diuretics can be hazardous because they deplete the body of potassium. The good news is, dandelion as a diuretic for short-term use is a good choice since it is naturally high in potassium. (Brides take note here, if you are set on using a diuretic for the day or two before your wedding, dandelion tea would be a natural choice especially compared to an over the counter pharmaceutical.)
Dandelion is GRAS, (Generally Recognized As Safe) according to the FDA. As a supplement, in most cases it is considered safe in recommended amounts. As with any supplement you should always consult your qualified health care practitioner. In the case of dandelion this especially true if you are pregnant, nursing, taking diuretics, prone to skin rashes, have gout or gallstones.
There are a lot of potential therapeutic uses for this beautiful weed; but the easiest, most economical, and safest way to reap the health qualities of dandelion is to eat it as a food in salads and sautés. As always, make sure you get them from a trusted source, and not covered in herbicide and pesticide residue.
Photo credit: 123rd.com and polyvore.com