5 reasons why dandelions are Mother Nature’s Miracle plant
Ahh dandelions! Their bright yellow flowers bob in the sun signaling, for so many people, the beginning of summer.
One of my favorite childhood memories is of blowing big, puffy dandelion seed heads with my friends, much to the dismay of my father who tried so hard to maintain that “perfectly manicured” lawn.
But, to so many, they are a loathsome weed. People will spend hundreds $$ in weed killers or hours of back-breaking work pulling them out of their lawns and gardens.
And yet … the dandelion is truly one of Mother Nature’s miracles.
Why dandelions are so much more than a weed
Did you know that dandelions will grow where no other plants will? They are Mother Nature’s way of healing soil that has been depleted of nutrients by restoring the soil’s mineral content.
Dandelions also help create drainage in compact soils making them ideal for your veggie garden if you’re trying to grow root veggies in dense soil.
Dandelions support bee and other pollinator populations
Dandelions help support pollinator populations, which is so incredibly important these days with the decline of bee populations.
Their longer flowering season - from early spring through May - help support bees as they emerge from hibernation. And while the bees need a varied diet in those early spring days, dandelions help fill the gap when bees don’t have access to other types of pollen.
Butterflies also nectar on dandelions. Quite often, dandelions are the only food source available for early-season pollinators such as the painted lady butterfly.
Using dandelion leaves and flowers in food
Every single part of the plant is edible. The leaves & flowers are wonderful in salad or sandwiches, and you can make a tea out of the roots, flowers, or both combined.
The roots are excellent as a digestion aid, and can be roasted whole like carrots. Simply slip off their fibrous exterior to reveal their tender interior that’s delicious with a bit of butter and salt.
Dandelions also make a beautifully golden, clear, jelly, similar in taste to honey. Or, mix freshly picked dandelion petals (just the petals, not the stems) with butter and raw honey for a delicious dandelion butter to spread on toast or scones.
Tap into your inner winemaker and try your hand at using the flowers to make dandelion wine.
Or, if coffee is more your speed, the roots make an incredible coffee substitute. If you’ve never tried dandy blend coffee, I highly recommend it! It tastes like coffee without some of the bitterness and has rich, earthy tones. Thankfully, there’s a couple of great companies out there that have done the hard work of grinding & transforming the dandy roots into a powder that tastes remarkably close to coffee without the caffeine. All you gotta do is add hot water.
Dandelions are a great source of complex carbs and nutrients
Now that you know a few of the many different ways you can eat dandelions, here’s why you should make them a part of your regular diet.
Not only are they highly nutritious, but they contain potent antioxidants, help fight inflammation, aid in blood sugar management, may reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels, help lower blood pressure and promote liver health.
Dandelions contain vitamins A, C, E and K and small amounts of vitamin B. They also contain iron, calcium, potassium, folate and magnesium.
Dandelion greens boast an exceptional amount of vitamin K. And vitamin K plays an important role in protecting you from osteoporosis and coronary heart disease. Preliminary studies have shown that they can help lower your triglycerides and HDL (bad) cholesterol.
Because dandelion greens are a good source of Vitamin A, they not only help protect your vision but also play a part in protecting you from developing age-related macular degeneration.
Fight inflammation with Mother Nature’s dandelion medicine
Dandelions are also medicine! In traditional Chinese medicine, the dandelion has been used to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems, such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, it was used to treat fevers, boils, eye issues, diabetes and diarrhea. 1
Dandelions are also known to have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, making them ideal for our Ache Away Salve. Dandelion flowers are carefully harvested and infused in local, organic olive oil for a minimum of four weeks in order to extract their medicinal properties. The infusion is then combined with plantain and calendula infused oils to create a salve that eases body aches and pains.
These same anti-inflammatory benefits make dandelions ideal for soap-making. Our seasonal, limited-edition dandelion dreams goat milk soap is ideal for those with sensitive skin, eczema, psoriasis or dry, itchy skin. It’s also rich in antioxidants, which protect your skin against sun damage.
How to use dandelions to heal cuts
Dandelions can also heal minor cuts, scrapes and burns. They help regenerate the skin while moisturizing dry skin. Treat skin issues by applying a thin layer of dandelion infused oil. You can easily make your own by infusing dried dandelion flowers in a light oil such as olive or sweet almond oil for a minimum of 4 weeks.
You don’t have to be 10 to love a good dandelion patch
Next time you stumble across a good dandelion patch I hope you’ll take a moment to channel your inner child. Pick a globe, give it a mighty blow, and watch with delight as the puffs flutter through the air.
Then smile, knowing you just distributed the seeds far and wide, giving mother nature’s miracle plant a helping hand.
1. Mt Sinai health library: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/dandelion#:~:text=In%20traditional%20Chinese%20medicine%20(TCM,problems%2C%20diabetes%2C%20and%20diarrhea.