Dandelion - More Than a Pesky Weed!

Dandelions are often thought of as weeds. They grow everywhere and their little puffballs go flying in the wind with just a breath of air. Did you know that they’ve been around forever; probably about 30 million years. However, they’ve only been in North America for a couple of centuries – having made their grand entrance on the Mayflower, it’s believed, brought here for their medicinal purposes.

Naturally Botanicals-Dandelion-Taraxacum officinale fieldDandelion is translated from dent de lion (tooth of the lion) because its leaves look like a lion’s tooth. The genus name, Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos, meaning “disorder,” and akos, meaning “remedy.” And it’s no wonder why it’s been called that. Dandelion greens are known as Taraxacum officinale.

Part of the flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, including Jerusalem Artichoke, the plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, milk witch, lion's-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, and puff-ball. 

Dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. They were well-known to ancient civilizations and have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat hepatitis, bronchitis, mastitis, and to enhance immune response to upper respiratory infections, for over a thousand years. Dandelion was first noted for its medicinal qualities in the works of Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries as being used to treat liver and spleen disorders. Native Americans used the dandelion root in preparations to treat kidney disease and heartburn.

Naturally Botanicals-Dandelion-Taraxacum officinale

The entire plant, including the leaves, stems, flowers and roots, is edible and has a high nutritional value. The root was traditionally roasted and consumed as a beverage, while the leaves and flowers were used in salads and other raw vegetable dishes. Dandelions are low in calories and high in fiber. It contains abundant vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A, C, D, K, and B-complex.  Dandelions are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, sodium, beta-carotene, and potassium. They are especially high in antioxidants. The roots are rich in inulin, a prebiotic that helps encourage the growth of healthy microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.

 

Dandelion is thought to help provide the following health benefits:

  • improving appetite
  • reducing joint pain and muscle aches
  • helping relieve digestive ailments, upset stomach and intestinal gas
  • stimulating the functions of the stomach, liver and bile
  • treating infection 
  • treating skin conditions
  • as a laxative 
  • and as a diuretic

Dandelion contains more vitamins and minerals then most vegetables. It’s eaten raw in salads, cooked or boiled, the flowers can be batter-fried, and the dried roots are used as a coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee not your thing? Try dandelion tea made with the dried herb or root. Or go for the dandelion beer or wine!

Sauteed Spicy Dandelion Greens and Onions features onions, cloves, a hot Italian cherry pepper and ground black pepper. Spice up those greens!

https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/sauteed-spicy-dandelion-greens-and-onions-51233220

 


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