Wednesday, May 18

Delectable Dandelions-Taraxacum officinale

My grandmother loved dandelions. After my grandfather died, she did not continue to cultivate his vegetable garden in the corner of their property. Instead, she let it go to the dandelions. Year after year the dandelions thrived. Relatives who mowed the lawn for her complained that she wouldn't let them mow the corner. She ignored them. In the rich soil those dandelions grew to be the largest, most beautiful dandelions I'd ever seen. Grammie was proud and boasted about her dandelions. I'm not sure what Grandpa would have thought. I remember him digging dandelion roots and eating greens, so I like to think he'd be happy. The soil he worked so hard to build for decades nourished one of the most amazing and useful plants on the face of the earth.


The dandelions in my own yard aren't nearly as big as Grammie's but my children and I think they are beautiful. I ignore my neighbors' perfectly boring manicured lawns and let the dandelions to run free on my lawn. Like brilliant yellow stars scattered through the night sky, they create constellations on my little piece of earth.


So far, my family has only used the greens of the dandelion. But, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Just a few dandelion uses include:

Roots:
  • roasted and ground to make a coffee like drink
  • used to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney problems, fever, joint pain, as well as cancer
  • natural diuretic
Flowers:
  • Dandelion Syrup
  • Dandelion Wine
  • Nectar for Bees
  • Provides food for birds and wildlife
  • endless flowers for little ones to pick and give to mamas around the world
  • Give hope: millions of wishes have been made upon a dandelion!
Leaves:

Full of vitamins: vitamins A, C, D, B complex,  potassium, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, and more. It's wonderful steamed, in a stir fry, juiced, in salads-basically can be used like any other green.

Stem:

break and use the white liquid to
  • treat bee stings
  • clear acne
  • treat warts

I know many more benefits and uses could be listed. We'd love to hear how you-or your parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends- use the dandelion plant. Do share your stories, recipes, folklore, and medicinal uses of dandelion with us in the comments. Perhaps if we advocate for the dandelion, someday the dandelion wars will end and this beauty will grow free everywhere.
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