Dandelions have been around since ancient times and have been used to treat everything from cholesterol to high blood sugar. However, the dandelion has definitely had a lot of bad press over recent years. No longer seen as being beneficial to their health, people try everything to eradicate it from their gardens. However, this unwelcome plant has many hidden talents and is certainly not a mere weed to be scoffed at. Moreover, it needs to be rebranded as a superfood.
This plant is a nutritional powerhouse that can be used as both a diuretic and liver cleanser. The lowly dandelion supports healthy liver function, has mild diuretic effects, helps boost immunity and promotes healthy skin. All this from a garden weed! Who would have guessed it?
The dandelion is a natural source of potassium, vitamin C, fibre, iron, zinc, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. It contains vitamin D, B complex vitamins, organic sodium, and even has more protein than spinach. It is a gentle diuretic, which is also rich in antioxidants that help fight infection and speed up wound healing. The list is endless.
Did you know that you can use all of the plant?
The leaves can be used to make a pesto or either fresh or dried can be brewed into dandelion tea. They are full to the brim with the major antioxidant vitamins – vitamin C and E.
The cheerful yellow petals can be used to brighten up your salads and stir-fries. These flowers contain beta-carotene, vitamin C and iron.
The roots, having a very sweet taste, can be roasted and cooked like parsnips. They can also be dried and used as a tea or a caffeine-free coffee substitute. This has a mild, laxative and diuretic effect. It has anti-viral properties and contains insulin, a prebiotic that encourages healthy gut flora.
Collect roots between autumn to early spring for best results. Never collect wild plants from chemically treated lawns or gardens.
So from now on, if you see these lovely flowers spring up on your lawn, don’t make a mad dash for the weed killer. You may just find that these sunny little flowers aren’t so bad after all.