Detox Naturally with Dandelions

Dandelions are gardener’s worst nightmare, they are weeds that are hard to get rid of, but I never really knew how beneficial they are until recently.  Dandelion are easy to spot, they are bright yellow flowers surrounded by long stem green leaves. When the flower matures, it becomes a ball of delicate feathery like white hairs known as a “blow ball”.  When blown by the wind, the hairs disburse  seeds, multiplying the plant in the surrounding area.

IMG_4067 IMG_4064 IMG_4063

Growing up in Poland, dandelions were and still are part of the landscape.  They are native to Europe, Asia, North and South America.  I remember picking dandelions flowers growing in fields and make crowns out of them.  Today, I see more and more dandelions sold in supermarkets.  They are often found in the organic veggie section.  I always purchase mine in Whole Foods or Wegmans.

Dandelion uses:

Although the culinary and medicinal use of the plant are new to me, dandelions have been used for centuries all over the world.

The whole dandelion plant can be used. The flower petals are often used to make tea, wine and can be fried and eaten as fritters.  The flower can even be made into jelly.  The roots are used as coffee and beer. The dandelion leaves are used in teas, salads, and they can be added to soups, stews, sandwiches or even blanched to remove the bitterness of the green.  I use the dandelion leaves in my smoothies. 

Health benefits:

Dandelions are packed with vitamins and nutrients.  They contain beta carotene, iron, calcium and vitamin A, C, E and K.  The whole dandelion plant provides health benefits.

Dandelion health benefits:

  • increase the amount of urine that the body produces
  • helps in weight loss
  • aids with digestion
  • can lower blood glucose levels
  • has antioxidant properties
  • reduces water weight
  • helps relieve pain from headaches
  • reduces menstrual cramps
  • relieves depression
  • promotes blood circulation
  • detoxifies the liver and gallbladder
  • supports a healthy kidney function
  • mild laxative
  • possible anti-cancer properties

Although dandelions are generally safe,  as with many plants they should be taken with caution.  Before introducing dandelions to your diet, I recommend viewing The Nutrition and You website which is a great resource in learning more about the plant as well as it’s possible side effects.

Source:

University of Maryland Medical Center:  http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/dandelion-000236.htm#ixzz2UKDXWA1K

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taraxacum

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/cerc/danoff-burg/invasion_bio/inv_spp_summ/Taraxum_officinale.htm

http://realfoodforlife.com/dandelion-flower-health-benefits/

Advertisements