Since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic I’ve been on a quest to grow as many fruits, vegetables and herbs as possible for my health, and in case anything happened to our food system. During this quest I found out that Dandelion is highly nutritious.
Dandelions are full of antioxidants and boost the immune system which is great news at a time like this. Especially because I have quite a few growing in my yard and they are growing organically without any chemical sprays. This may be the case for you too. Free nutrition and enhanced immunity to help us get through the pandemic healthy!
The leaves, flowers and roots all have minerals, vitamins and antioxidants including Vitamins A, C, E and K and minerals iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
There are many health ailments it can help, but just knowing the vitamin and mineral content was enough for me to begin adding it regularly to my diet. If you are interested in the health benefits, you can do a search on Google. Also be sure to check with your Dr. to be sure it is safe for you to use. If you spray your yard with chemicals, you wouldn’t want to use them, or if you harvest them from somewhere else, be sure they are organically grown and not next to a busy road collecting pollution.
So far, I’ve been using the leaves and flowers in salads (see Dandelion Salad), in tea, and I made a syrup from the flowers. I’ve also been drying the leaves, flowers and root so I’ll have some in the fall and winter that I can use. To dry them, I’ve been laying them on a towel in my kitchen and once they are crispy dry, I put them into glass jars with lids (the jars are from store-purchased jelly, pizza sauce, pickles etc. that I cleaned and saved). I’ll label the jars with a permanent marker with what it is and the date, for reference later.
The leaves and roots are bitter tasting. When I make tea, I’ll add other herbs like mint or thyme to improve the flavor (these other herbs also have their own vitamins and minerals so the tea is extremely healthful). To make tea, I’ll add a handful of the washed fresh leaves of the herbs I use to my ceramic teapot, boil water in a pan, then fill the teapot up with boiling water, put the lid on and let sit for at least 10 minutes. The same method can be used with dried herbs but you only need to use 1/3 the amount of fresh because flavors are concentrated in dried herbs.
Making herbal tea has become a daily health ritual for me and I’m loving it. Sometimes I’ll drink it 2-3 times per day. I love knowing I’m getting all those vitamins and minerals in a healthier more natural way than taking supplements and because I’m growing them, it’s free!
If you decide to use dandelion be sure to identify the plant you are using. There is another weed that looks very similar to dandelion called Cat’s Ear. The way that I can tell the difference is that the Cat’s Ear leaves have small hairs on them and Dandelion leaves do not. It’s always a good idea to positively identify any plant before using because there are some plants that are poisonous.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments. Have you used dandelion in a different way? Do you have other immune system boosting tips? Please share below.