Eat Your Weeds!
One of our favorite salads is dandelion salad with Balsamic dressing. Yum!!
Easy to make and rich in vitamins and minerals, dandelion greens are also relatively inexpensive yet pack a powerful antioxidant punch for strengthening the immune system. A virtual pharmacopeial treasure chest, dandelions are known as a digestive supporting herb. They increase bile flow in the liver, which promotes digestion of fats and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and E.
Nutrients in a 100 gram / 3.5 oz (approx. 1.5 cups)
Principle Nutrients and RDA:
- Carbohydrates 9.2 g @ 7%
- Protein 2.7 g @ 5%
- Total Fat 0.7 g @ 3%
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Dietary Fiber 3.5 g @ 9%
Dandelion greens contain 338% vitamin A and 649% vitamin K RDA.
- Folates 27 mcg @ 7%
- Niacin .806 @ 5%
- Pantothenic acid .084 mg @ 1.5%
- Pyridoxine 0.251 mg @ 19%
- Riboflavin 0.260 mg @ 20%
- Thiamin .190 mg @ 17%
- Vitamin A 10161 IU 338%
- Vitamin C 35 mg @ 58%
- Vitamin E 3.44 mg @ 23%
- Vitamin K 778.4 mcg @ 649%
- Sodium 76 mg @5%
- Potassium 397 mg @8%
Dandelion green are a good source of iron, calcium and manganese.
- Calcium 187 mg @ 19%
- Iron 3.10 mg @ 39%
- Magnesium 36mg @ 9%
- Manganese .342 mg @ 15%
- Phosphorus 66 mg @ 9%
- Selenium 0.5 mg @ 1%
- Zinc .41 mg @ 4%
Phytonutrients boost immunity, detoxify and repair.
- Carotene-a 363 mcg
- Carotene-ϐ 5854 mcg
- Cryptoxanthin 121 mcg
- Lutein zeaxanthin 13610 mcg
Dandelion for Detox
Dandelion tea is a powerful detox brew and one that we use whenever we’ve fasting or clearing out our system. Whether it’s from too much treat foods or weekly green juice detox day, we use dandelion tea to help reinforce the troops doing their job to rebalance the system.
I place a dandelion tea bag in my water bottle and leave it there to steep all day, even as I refill my bottle.
BUT, caution: dandelion tea is a powerful detox brew that can cause pain and discomfort as a part of the detox process, especially in the lower back area of the kidneys. If you experience pain, discontinue use and check with your physician.
Dandelion, (taraxacum officinale), flowers and even the roots have been used for centuries in herbal teas as a medicinal plant. Today, dandelion parts turn up in coffee substitutes, and even wine. Dandelions are rich in the minerals potassium, iron, calcium and magnesium. They contain nature’s highest level of vitamin A, as well as many B vitamins important for energy metabolism. As with all vegetables, they are a great source of fiber.
Where to Buy Dandelion Tea?
Dandelion teas have become so popular that you can even find them at most local grocers these days. We get ours from our local grocery stores, Whole Foods or Amazon.
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Dandelion roots, leaves and flowers have been used for centuries for food and medicine. Brought to North America by our European ancestors and used for centuries by Native Americans as well as in traditional Chinese medicine, the entire plant is useful for numerous ailments.
We use dandelion as an effective liver and detox tea.
Hundreds of species of dandelion grow in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Dandelion is a hardy perennial that can grow to a height of nearly 12 inches. The plants have deeply-notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are shiny and hairless. Dandelion stems are capped by bright yellow flowers. The grooved leaves funnel rain to the root.
Dandelion flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly.
Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine your body makes. The leaves are used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Dandelion flower has antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system.
Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to help kidney function.
Medicinal Uses and Indications
Most scientific studies of dandelion have been in animals, not people. Traditionally, dandelion has been used as a diuretic, to increase the amount of urine and eliminate fluid in your body. It has been used for many conditions where a diuretic might help, such as liver problems and high blood pressure. However, there is no good research on using dandelion as a diuretic in people.
Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used as a mild appetite stimulant, and to improve upset stomach. The root of the dandelion plant may act as a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion. Preliminary research suggests that dandelion may help improve liver and gallbladder function. But this study was not well designed.
Preliminary animal studies suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol in diabetic mice. But not all the animal studies have found a positive effect on blood sugar. Researchers need to see if dandelion will work in people.
A few animal studies also suggest that dandelion might help fight inflammation.
You can find dandelion herbs and roots fresh or dried in a variety of forms, including tinctures, liquid extract, teas, tablets, and capsules. Dandelion can be found alone or combined with other dietary supplements.
For safety, always ask your doctor before giving supplements to a child of taking them yourself.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. However, herbs can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs under the supervision of a health care provider.
- Dandelion is generally considered safe. Some people may have an allergic reaction from touching dandelion. Others may get mouth sores.
- If you are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, you should avoid dandelion.
- In some people, dandelion can cause increased stomach acid and heartburn. It may also irritate the skin.
- People with kidney problems, gallbladder problems, or gallstones should consult their doctors before eating dandelion.
- Dandelion tea is a powerful detoxifier that can cause discomfort in the liver or kidneys.
- Dandelion leaf may act as a diuretic, which can make drugs leave your body faster. It also interacts with a number of medications that are broken down by the liver. If you are taking prescription medications, ask your doctor before taking dandelion leaf.1)http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/dandelion
Where to Buy Dandelion Greens
We get our dandelion greens from three places:
- Whole Foods typically has organic dandelion greens
- Harris Teeter, our regional grocery chain here in NC
- Farmers Markets, some specialty growers provide these
- Our own garden; yes! We’re now growing our own!
Dandelion Salad Greens with Warm Balsamic Vinaigrette
Serves 6 to 8
Make sure to serve these dandelion greens right after tossing them in the warm garlic-infused vinaigrette.
2 1/2 pounds dandelion greens
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Trim off thickest part of the stems and discard along with any tough leaves. Roughly chop remaining greens and transfer to a large salad bowl.
Heat oil in a small heavy skillet over low heat. Add garlic and hazelnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is golden. Stir in vinegar and salt and pepper.
Pour hot vinaigrette over greens and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
Per Serving (174g-wt.): 140 calories (70 from fat), 8g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 5g protein, 16g total carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 290mg sodium2)http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=681
If you’re interested in gardening, you may be interested in this article on other garden and yard “weeds” you can eat, from GardensAll.com.
For more info on dandelion tea, you may enjoy this article.
If you like gardening you might consider growing your own dandelion greens. I know. Sounds weird when many people are working hard to kill the dandelions in their yards. But… we would never think to get rid of highly beneficial nutritional supplements, right? So… same thing with those dandelions! Eat those weeds! They’re precious nutrition and healing!
Here’s that recipe in another format, should it be easier for you to download:
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