We live on the outskirts of Golden at 6200 feet, which has been right about at snow line for the past month or so. The result is that, while even the bottom of the neighborhood is decked out in tulips and lilacs, we are still (im-) patiently waiting for the profusion of blooms to hit at our house. So today when I went outside to take some photos for the newsletter, all I could find in my backyard was a big, happy, sunny patch of dandelions–which reminded me how fantastic is our friend the dandelion. Let me count the ways:
Dandelion leaves are power packed nutritionally: One serving has more than a day’s supply of Vitamins A and K, and are high in Vitamin C, Iron, and Calcium. They are also a good source of trace minerals such as Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium and Copper. The beauty of dandelion leaves is that they are a diuretic, meaning they help move excess fluid out of the body, which can be helpful during spring cleansing. On the flip side, they also replace minerals, as opposed to other diuretics which tend to leach minerals from the body.
Dandelion roots are wonderful medicine. I frequently add dandelion root to herbal formulas where gentle support to the liver is desired. This is helpful for liver conditions but also for spring cleansing, allergy support, or chronic inflammatory issues. Roasted, ground dandelion roots have also long been used as a coffee substitute.
Dandelion flowers are also edible and medicinal. The flowers can be thrown into pancakes and muffins, boiled in a sugar solution to make a lovely yellow honey-like syrup, or fermented to make wine. Studies suggest that the flavonoids found in dandelions help to prevent oxidative damage to cells and are protective to the liver.
So, even if spring hasn’t quite turned the corner into full bloom at your house, remember to look down under your feet and celebrate the return of the Dandelion. It has so many gifts to offer! (Also remember, please to only harvest in a place you know has been free from pesticides, runoff from industrial chemicals, and marking animals. 🙂