I’ve Grown A New Love For Dandelions
When I was a child, I was like every little girl around. The dandelions came out and those little yellow flowers were like little sprouts of gold. I used to pick them to give to everyone I loved and when I got older I used to braid them together to make my own brilliant yellow crown. I didn’t even mind that my fingers got a little sticky from the guck that comes from the steams. The coolest part was when they transitioned into fluffy spheres and in one breath you could make tiny white summer snowflakes dance through the air.
Eventually, I was programmed that dandelions are a weed. They have no use. They ruin lawns. The prickle your feet (I thought thistle came from dandelions). They needed to be eradicated with harsh chemicals. Bring on the round up. Let’s get our lawns beautiful again. If they turned white, it would be a failure as I knew we would shortly have new ones we needed to deal with.
Our acreage “lawn” has always been full of dandelions. In fact, you could even call it a dandelion field. Our garden loves to cultivate dandelions too. The first few years I lived out here it drove me crazy. We were on the natural living train so round up was not an option. We wanted our garden to be as organic as possible so I tried hard to pull each plant out from the roots and then squirt vinegar in it to ensure that no plant would re-appear. Unfortunately, I failed with too many and let them reach that dreaded white stage and when my nephew came over and innocently plucked one from the ground, held it to his lip and then blew, every part of me would cringe.
Until, one day as I was driving home from teaching dance out in the country, I listened to a CBC radio program. It was probably 4 or 5 years ago and I still remember it so clearly as it rocked my dandelion programming and took me back into my childhood appreciation for this little yellow plant.
Did You Know…
Every part of the dandelion is edible and can be used for something to benefit us directly!
Dandelions are incredible.
The flowers of the dandelion have been used to make teas, tinctures and even wine. The flower is a great immune booster for the body. The flower is also rich in beta-carotene (an antioxidant that helps with cell damage) and vitamin C. The tea is sometimes used used to help relax muscles and act as a digestive aid.
The leaves are becoming very popular in health food stores as they are an excellent liver tonic. They are also high in iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and B vitamins. This provides the body with trace minerals that are necessary for optimal functioning of every cell of the body. They are also loaded with antioxidants and many use them to aid in cancer prevention. People will also consume the leave to help cleanse the body of toxins (especially those built up in the liver). The leaves are also high in protein and can be used to help soothe cuts and wounds. You can eat them in a salad or many will juice them to increase intake.
The roots are being used in many natural coffee replacements as they have a slightly bitter taste (like coffee) and a diuretic effect. They also contain trace minerals, antioxidants and potassium. The roots are generally blended with the flowers to make tea. The roots will have an anti-viral effect and have been found to improve urinary infections. The roots have the highest levels of zinc in the plant and as such are great for boosting your immunity.
The stems are the only part of the dandelion that are considered edible, yet not many people will consume it. You would think this makes it useless, however, that guck that comes out of it is actually an excellent natural glue! In Denmark, they plant field of dandelions and harvest every part, including the stem. The glue from the stem can also be used to help heal wounds, cuts and even warts!
So, over the years I have learned to embrace my yard full of dandelions. I’ve spent an afternoon cutting off the flower heads and drying them out for tea. I’ve harvested the roots of dandelions that I’ve pulled from my garden and one year I even tried to brew my own wine.
In these last few weeks, my little girl has lit up seeing the yellow flowers in our yard and when she plucks them and gives them to me I smile. When she picks up a fluffy white one and blows on it, I’m not worried, I’m calm as I know that even though my neighbors may still see them as the enemy, I know they have a purpose. If we embrace that purpose and reach a bit outside the norm our health can improve drastically from this little flower and we won’t have to pollute our yards with round up!
Love And Light