Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens in bowl

Weed Eater: Dandelion

I remember vividly helping my father fight an endless battle to eradicate these “nasty buggers” from our yard when I was of chore-age. And boy, what a chore it was… I could hardly ever get the elusive roots out no matter how I pulled them and the milky sap would make my hands a sticky mess. I kind of hated these things when I was growing up, now though, I have had a change of heart and would welcome an entire garden devoted just to them.

Once I fully understood the serious health benefits of these flowering weeds, I have a much bigger appreciation for their existence. I mean anything that provides 973% RDA of Vitamin K per 100g (about a cup) wins my affection in a big way. It also has about 200% Vitamin A and it has loads of Calcium, Iron and Potassium.

Dandelion is a wonderful detoxifier, it helps to stimulate bile production in the gall-bladder which in turn helps to cleanse the liver. This can improve overall digestion and make the elimination process more efficient. It is also a diuretic which assists the kidneys, and the pancreas, which can be of great benefit for diabetics. This can also be of great benefit in eliminating water-retention we all get from time to time.

The plants white sap is full of beneficial properties also – also known as dandelion milk, is useful in treating skin diseases which are caused by microbial and fungal infections. This treatment stems (no pun) from the fact that the sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. This sap can be used on itches, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions without the risk of side effects or hormonal disturbances commonly caused by pharmaceutical skin treatments. [You should be careful while using this sap, it can irritate sensitive skin and always avoid any contact with the eyes]

I encourage you to experiment with this superfood, it can be juiced, or the leaves eaten in salads. It is bitter, so it is wise to always include lemon, which will help cut the bitterness.

It’s unfortunate that these cute little flowers have gotten such a bum wrap all these years. Just think how healthy we would all be if we had been more interested in harvesting rather than killing. Hmmm…