Benefits of the Common Dandelion

This post was prompted by Colleen Brigg’s post on the flower she found growing in her yard which I believe might be a dandelion.  However, I have since learned that there are some look-a-likes.  Here is a way to tell the difference:  The leaves grow from the crown of the root or sometimes as leafless stalks that have individual flowers on top but if the stalk has branches then it isn’t a dandelion.

dandelion

Dandelion leaves are smooth not fuzzy or spiny . The leaf resembles a lion’s tooth and the word dandelion comes from the French dent de lion.

dandelion leaf

The flowers are bright yellow until they turn to white fluffy heads of seed.

DandelionFlower

 flowerseed

 

There are many nutritional benefits that we can get from dandelions.  Dandelions are edible but if you accidentally pick one of the counterfeits, it won’t cause you any harm. Some nutritional benefits are:

  •  Vitamins A, B, C, and D
  • minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc,  iron, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon.
  • purifies the blood
  • mild laxative
  • diuretic
  • prevention of urinary tract infections
  • promotes liver and gallbladder health
  • great help for hepatitis
  • promotes energy and endurance
  • great for various skin conditions

Some warnings: Dandelions may decrease antibiotics and interact with lithium, liver medication and water pills

Dandelion is classified as an herb-yes, an herb! Not a weed!  The roots are typically roasted to make a coffee substitute. The leaves are dried to make tea and the flowers are used in dandelion wine.  You can also put the leaves and flowers in salads as well as make dandelion flower fritters (removing much of the green part as possible as it is bitter).  Below are links for more information on the dandelion as well as some dandelion recipes!

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/benefits-of/organic-dandelion-leaf

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-706-DANDELION.aspx?activeIngredientId=706&activeIngredientName=DANDELION

http://frugalliving.about.com/od/eatforfree/tp/Dandelion_Recipes.htm

http://www.splendidtable.org/recipes/dandelion-flower-cookies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum

 

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4 thoughts on “Benefits of the Common Dandelion

  1. Wow, I didn’t know dandelions were so good for you. So no branches on stalk = dandelion. Gotcha. I wouldn’t want to be digging up people’s dandelion look-a-likes. 😉

  2. We eat the leaves here, in salads or warm with a dressing of vinegar and bacon. I drink dandelion tea, which is tonic for the liver and has some of the earthiness of coffee (in fact, you can buy dandelion “coffee”, too). I have also made a nice oil from dandelion blossoms that is great for bruises and sore muscles. The humble dandelion is a powerhouse!

  3. So interesting! I’ve been looking up dandelions and hawk’s beard, trying to figure out what my weed is. Since it is now just a brown skeleton, I’ve been referring back to the photos I took. I have one photo that shows the stalks and leaves, and the leaves are long, thin, and smooth-edged and don’t all originate from the base but at intervals on the stalk. So I think that means it’s not a dandelion? But what is it!? Thank you for a most interesting post about dandelions! What a fascinating “flower.” 🙂

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