Dandelion Madness

| June 4, 2009 | 18 Comments

dandelion-3

Every morning, particularly in the spring, you can catch me scampering around my front lawn in my bare feet. Yes this is fun and yes, this is good for you (for at least 5 reasons I can think of) but no, this is not march madness nor spring maypole dance thing going on.

The reason I’m out there on my lawn is because I’m harvesting dandelions for my breakfast smoothie.

There are at least 7  reasons why I am digging up dandelions which include:

1.     It keeps my neighbors happy. I think dandelion flowers look great – that perfect solitary yellow bloom against a background of green… but if there was too many flowers, my neighbors who don’t like them, might revolt.

2.     It helps the environment. Assuming you do want to stay friendly with your neighbors, pulling up dandelions is an alternative to soaking up the ground and water table and general environment with deadly toxic chemicals.

3.     I’m thrifty. I don’t have to pay for herbicides.

4.     I’m very thrifty! (cheap) Using dandelion reduces the amount of greens I have to buy for my smoothie. Spinach, the main ingredient of smoothies, is a great value considering all the nutrition and benefits but dandelions are … well… FREE!

5.     I like to feel great. There is tremendous health benefits to dandelions. The dandelions’ scientific name Taraxacum officinale, means the “Official Remedy for Disorders”. It has such a long list of benefits that I have to list them latter.  There is benefits to the root, the leaf, the flower and the stem.

6.     Dandelions are tasty. The leaves when young are not too bitter, the flowers are sweet. Even the root, if roasted, is white palatable. Some people use it for substitute for chicory.

7.     I’m efficient! (lazy) With one small act, I reduce grocery shopping, I reduce weed killer shopping, I reduce herb remedy shopping,  I save money, I get healthy, I enjoy the sun, I enjoy the fresh air, and it feels good on my feet!

A short list of the health benefits of dandelion are:

  • Prevent or help with liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice.
  • Act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health.
  • Assist in weight reduction.
  • Cleanse your skin and eliminate acne.
  • Improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
  • Prevent or lower high blood pressure.
  • Prevent or help with anemia.
  • Lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half.
  • Eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods.
  • Prevent or help with various forms of cancer.
  • Prevent or help control diabetes mellitus.

Because most parts of the dandelion help your liver and because the liver has at least 50 functions in the body, the benefits could go on for pages.   Some people also consider that the dandelion is nature’s long term mechanism for balancing out your soil. It’s roots go down far deeper than the lawn and bring up lots of minerals which help your soil when they die. It’s those minerals that are good for your liver and rest of your body. Pretty good …. and did I mention its FREE!

Just a few days ago I sat down to a meal with friends that had  leaves and greens in the salad.  Another friend is on a two week liver cleanse of just dandelion stalks right now and still another puts dandelion flowers in her omelets.  You get the idea.  For my green smoothie I just substitute SOME of the spinach or just add some instead of Swiss chard. If you used too much dandelion leaves it would be too bitter. I also add all the flower petals that I dug up.

A final point to note is that Dandelion is just one edible weed (or plant that you didn’t intend to eat) growing in your yard right now.  Do you know others?  I’m from the Sask. prairie where often the biggest plant is caragana bushes. The yellow flowers taste like honey.  It takes a lot of work to fill up even partially but it is fun trying!

Please post your favourite interesting plant that you eat or have eaten from your yard in the comment section below.  I hear  that Trudy on the east coast has bamboo growing like a weed in her yard.  Too bad it wasn’t sugar cane.  I could eat that!

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About Randy Fritz

A certified Nutritional Consultant, Randy has been teaching health and personal development principles for over 30 years and has personally helped individuals with over 10,000 Body Health Assessments.

Category: Health Tips

About the Author ()

A certified Nutritional Consultant, Randy has been teaching health and personal development principles for over 30 years and has personally helped individuals with over 10,000 Body Health Assessments.

Comments (18)

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  1. Ann Humble says:

    Thanks Randy for this great info. It comes at the perfect time when all of our lawns are bursting out in these great yellow blooms. If more people knew about these great benefits, maybe some enterprising person or company could figure out a way to market them…oops I forgot that was one of the benefits…they’re FREE! Forget my idea.

    Thanks again, I’ll be forwarding this info on to my group!

    Ann

  2. Diana says:

    Dandelions for Dinner!

    Dandelions are one of the most useful and nutritious herb foods. The leaves are high in potassium, Vitamin A, B, C and D, the A content being higher than that of carrots. They also have iron, fiber, protein and a little carbohydrate.
    The best thing about them is that they are free and are there for the picking as Randy does. I will dig them up with the roots intact and keep the roots in water in a bowl till I am ready to eat them thus keeping them as live food.

    Other then putting them in smoothies and salads; I simply steam them along with my other vegetables.

    Does anyone have any great recipe ideas for Dandelion Greens?

  3. Marijke says:

    Do you just eat the greens and flowers? You don’t do anything with the roots?

  4. Randy says:

    I don’t have a LOT of experience with the roots. (perhaps because I’m lazy?) A big root looks something like a carrot with the outer skin that has to be washed and then pealed, a middle fleshy portion and a woody center. I suspect the fleshy center is the ‘good’ part to you because it tastes much stronger than the woody center. Its so strong that I just nibble a bit at it. If you BAKE the root it tastes much better.
    Washing and baking the root is a lot of work. I don’t know how they do it commercially but I am glad there are good sources of high quality dandelion root that you can buy!

  5. susanna says:

    Friday dandelion smoothie:

    I live in the country during the week and by Friday the fridge often gets dangerously empty, especially on greens. But we have a huge lawn with thousands of dandelions.
    I am also on a candida cleanse right now, so no fruit for me, except for lemons.
    That leave me with this very simple smoothie:

    dandelions, dandelions,dandelions
    1/2 a lemon
    water

    okay I admit this doesn’t taste great,
    but add a few celery stalks and some soaked almonds, some ground flax seed and it becomes almost delicious !
    And the good thing is I feel great and it hasn’t killed me yet. And it is free and abundant!

  6. Randy says:

    I’m impressed that you can take the taste! You’re a better (wo)man than I am, Gunga Din!

  7. Randy says:

    There is another post about weeds called Good Weed – Bad Weed at …….

  8. jilene_f says:

    Just wondering about dandelions growing in lawns that are full of pesticides/chemicals. I know the Weed Man or Lawn Care ppl come to the house like clockwork in the spring, and start putting all this stuff on the lawn – for what, I don’t know. Actually now that I think about it…we don’t have any dandelions on our lawn! So I guess dandelions will not grow if the lawn has been treated w/ chemicals. So is it safe to say that if dandelions are growing, they are safe to eat, free of chemicals?

  9. Randy says:

    I personally would not eat dandelion from a area I know was sprayed. There are so many nonsprayed areas to chose from . I had never thought about there no being spray if there is weeds. This would be true MOSTLY. Dandelion are so vital and invasive I suspect a lot of them could still grow in an area that was sprayed. Most herbicides work mostly on the leaves so young plants could still grow.

  10. Marlene says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I have a whole yard full of dandelions!

  11. Randy Fritz says:

    thanks for the comment Marlene. Just don’t eat TOO MANY dandelions at one time. I did that once. See Dandelion Moderation at http://realfoodforlife.com/dandelion-smoothie-tips/ where I tell my story.

  12. Alan says:

    Great article! I love Dandelions so much I started a Dandelion Appreciation Society, feel free to check it out
    Peace

  13. sandy says:

    In Greece they eat Dandelion (called Hortah) every day……wash well, boil, drain and serve with olive oil, lots of fresh lemon, ground pepper and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese! Cheese is a must. Use no salt.

  14. Randy Fritz says:

    Thanks Alan. I went to your site and it has a lot of great information on it. Congrats and I hope you keep up YOUR good work.

  15. mmm Sandy that recipe sounds yummy! Thank you.

  16. sandy says:

    Hey Diana,
    Try cooking fresh beets with their greens and serving the same way. Most people don’t realize beet greens are edible and oh so tasty! Enjoy!

  17. Yes Sandy beet greens are great and I eat a lot of them every summer because they are tasty and nutritious.

  18. Bette says:

    I love to add fresh young nettles to spinach, swiss chard, garlic scapes and dandelions in a garlic/avocado oil saute.

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