One of my personal favorite plants is now in bloom, and I am ecstatic! This bright, enthusiastic and hearty herb dots the landscape and lawns everywhere, and is a bane to many who keep a well-manicured lawn. I’ll admit it – I’m a dandelion lover, and guilty of blowing those fuzzy seedheads!
There is nothing that pleases me more in spring than when the dandelions bloom. Their brilliant yellow color is a welcome sight to brighten up any yard. But beyond their aesthetic appeal, they have value as both food and medicine. Around the world, this plant is celebrated for all it’s uses, even though many Americans regularly try to rid their yards of this weed with chemicals. I invite you to learn a little more about them before you grab your bottle of weed killer…
The fresh green leaves are filled with life and are delicious to eat in the early spring when young. The leaves are a great source of flavonoids, calcium, iron, vitamins, and minerals like potassium. Older greens are still edible, but become bitter-tasting, which is actually good for digestion. Bitter-tasting plants stimulate the gall bladder to produce bile, which helps digestion and elimination. The leaves are also a mild diuretic, which helps relieve water retention without depleting potassium in the body.
The florets are a pleasant addition to a salad and can be made into a delicious wine. The root has been traditionally used as a liver tonic, but can also be cut up and added to soups when the root is young and tender, adding potassium and other needed minerals to your diet.
Please be aware that if you have a lawn service, they use herbicides and it’s not safe to eat the dandelions from your lawn or your neighbors’. All those weeds that we try to kill in our lawns often have medicinal value as well as food use. We have free sources of food and medicine growing right in our yards, like chickweed, another “weed” we try hard to eradicate. Grasses don’t provide a lot of medicine, and the ones we often plant are not native and don’t do well in this area anyway.
So welcome, dandelions, bright beauty of the spring! I welcome your return and your gifts of beauty, food, and medicine for all to enjoy, if so moved.
Love & Light,