Photo Credit: http://www.ediblewildfood.com
Gardeners have cursed the dandelion and its pervasive nature. They pop up everywhere in spring and are so hard to get rid of.
Having grown up in a small West Texas town, I am no stranger to the Dandelion; although we pulled them up with our gloved hands or chopped them down with the hoe. We had no idea what we were missing out on and clumped this healthy plant into the weed family.
To be perfectly honest, I always thought they were poisonous. I guess it was because of the white milky sap that oozed from the stems. When I first started reading up on edible plants, I just couldn’t believe Dandelions were on the list. I’m excited about all of the health benefits associated with eating this plant and can’t wait to give it a try!
- The Normans called this plant “dent de lion”—tooth of the lion—for its jagged leaves. Anglo-Saxons corrupted this name into dandylion.
- The Vikings brought dandelion seed with them to Iceland and Greenland where the plant still thrives today.
- The Chinese call it “nail in the earth” for its long taproot which draws nutrients and moisture from deep in the ground.
- In medieval times, dandelions gathered on St. John’s Eve—June 24—were believed to repel witches. The milky sap, given the name “devil’s milk pail”, was used to cure warts and pimples.
DANDELION HEALTH BENEFITS
Seeds were brought here by the Puritans to plant in their herb gardens and the plants soon escaped, making their way across the country. Since all parts of the plant are edible and rich in vitamins, that is not a bad thing.
- Dandelions are more nutritious than spinach, have 25 times the vitamin A of tomato juice, and are a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, lecithin, and vitamins C, B, and E. For many early settlers, dandelions made a life-saving spring tonic.
- The dandelion was a standard medicinal plant used by herbalists for generations. Their Latin name—Taraxacum officinale—means a remedy for disorders. The leaves are a powerful diuretic but since they do not flush potassium from the body they are safer than pharmaceutical diuretics. The roots are slightly laxative and a tea made from ground fresh or dried roots is reported to improve digestion.
- Similar to their cousin chicory, the roots can be roasted until they are dark brown inside and out, ground into a powder, and used as a coffee substitute.
For more health benefits and also recipes, please visit: https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/garden-journal/dandelion-health-benefits