by Renee Lindstrom, GCFP
This has been a wet spring for us in Greater Victoria so some of these dandelions are giants! Spring here has been cooler and wetter than most so they have just began to flower this week, almost a month after last year!
Our garden in Oakland’s is postage stamp size and this batch of Dandelion Leaves & Roots shown is only a small portion from our relationship corner of the garden. Cleaning them took some time and created smiles reflecting on how so focused we have been on weeds. Could this be why?
Health & Wellness
Dandelions are becoming more popular in mainstream health and fitness programs due to the volume of goodness each plant packs. I have heard it called a super food. I just recently discovered that flowers are a mild pain reliever when infused with oil and used on joints, aches and pain. As a Feldenkrais®Practitioner, since 2007, this is good news as many students and clients would be relieved to use more natural ways of controlling their pain.
Dandelions are a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. Their active ingredients are found in both the roots and leaves. They are a good source of;
- Vitamins: A,C, K and B-vitamins
- Minerals: magnesium, zinc, potassium, iron, calcium and choline
Their chemical breakdown:
- Sesquiterpene lactones (bitters): taraxinic acid (taraxacin), tetrahydroridentin B
- Triterpenoids and sterols: taraxasterol, taraxerol, cycloartenol, beta-sitosterol
- Other: Vitamin A, Vitamin C, tannins, alkaloids, pectin, inulin, starch, potassium, beta carotene, caffeic acid, flavonoids (apigenin)
It is interesting to note that Dandelion leaves are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and have more iron, calcium and protein than spinach!
Conditions Dandelions Have been used for and currently being researched for:
- Digestive Aid
- Immune System
- Liver Detox and Cleanse
- Urinary disorders
How to use Dandelions
All of the plant is used as an edible, for making medicinal remedies and for tea. The flowers are used for fresh tea and the roots and leaves have been used mostly as a dried herb for tea. I have begun to dry the flower petals to use in tea when not in bloom! Fresh leaves and a few flower petals have been tossed in salads. However, did you know that, you can cook the spring roots, leaves, flowers and buds or add the to a smoothie, make wine or use as a coffee substitute?
Try stir frying fresh spring leaves with oil and garlic and toss the unfurled flower buds in. As you eat the buds they pop in your mouth! I notice that the bitterness is reduced with cooking. In spring, the roots also are soft and tender and can be added together with leaves into a stir fry or stewed dishes and soups. Add flower petals to a grain dish to add colour and flavour.
Next time you weed your garden set them aside to try them in your own recipes.
- See Recipes
- Dandelion Flower Tea
- Dandelion & Forsythia Blossom Jelly
- Edible Flowers and Weeds, Medicinal and Dye Plants
- Wellness Audits
Traditional uses and properties of herbs are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Every attempt has been made for accuracy, but none is guaranteed. Any serious health concerns or if you are pregnant, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs.