With Spring quickly approaching in Oregon, I am looking forward to the emergence of dandelion plants. Many people think of these plants as a terrible nuisance when they see them in their yards but these are a nuisance with many healing properties. Every part of the dandelion plant from the leaves to the roots is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down our body’s aging process at the cellular level. They are also rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene the precursor to vitamin A. Many see these ubiquitous flowers and think of the work of removing them from their yard but hidden in these plants are many healing properties.
Dandelion helps increase the production of bile (which helps with fat digestion) and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages while also helping to detox the liver and promoting digestion.
Dandelion is amazing for diabetics. It can have a positive impact on those facing blood sugar challenges in two different ways. First, it can stimulate the production of insulin from the pancreas, helping to control blood sugar levels and because dandelion is a diuretic, it stimulates urination, helping to remove excess sugars from the body.
Dandelion is high in calcium which helps support strong and healthy bones.
Dandelion root has high levels of dietary fiber, aiding digestion by stimulating bowel movements with by adding bulk to the stool.
Dandelion is high in iron which helps fight anemia.
You can enjoy the benefits of dandelion in a variety of ways. Every part of the plant is edible. In last few years, I have seen dandelion greens in the grocery stores and farmers markets. You could add the greens to a salad. Make a dandelion green pesto or add them to a stir fry. Add the flowers as a colorful addition to a salad. You can make a delicious cup of Dandy Blend Tea (I drink this instead of coffee). There are many forms of dandelion root tea available at your local grocery store.
Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion, and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to their health care professional before adding this potent plant to their diet.
Photo from flickr.