By Kris Vaughan, CH
As a kid I used to love to pick the fuzzy dandelion and blow the seed pods into the air, I also loved dandelion’s bright yellow flower. I had no idea it was considered a pest in the yard and I didn’t care; I just thought they were beautiful.
Now I look at dandelion in a whole new way and it actually pains me to see people spraying these plants with weed killer. All parts of the dandelion are useful and edible; the flower, the leaf, and the root. Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D. Whew, that’s a lot, but not everything. Dandelion contains protein too, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years and used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.
If that’s not enough, here are a few more health benefits of dandelion:
Digestive Aid– Dandelion promotes digestion, stimulates appetite with its bitter action in the leaves, and balances natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
Kidney Support – Dandelion leaves are diuretic and help clear waste, salt and excess water from the kidneys. It also inhibits bacterial growth in the urinary tract.
Liver – Dandelion root has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and improving hydration and electrolyte balance.
High Blood Pressure – Because dandelion is diuretic, it increases urination which lowers blood pressure. It also contains potassium and fiber which also helps maintain normal blood pressure.
Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.