Spring has sprung up here in the Switzerland and it does feel refreshing and cheerful to hear those birds chirping and bees buzzing again! Today, I want to share one of my all time favorite springtime flowers that grows in my garden in Switzerland. It is found in several countries around the world, although it is native to Eurasia and North America which I believe we take for granted. It contains highly medicinal qualities, but is often considered a "weed."
Ever wondered why certain plants are called weeds?
Having a scientic background and studies in organic product formulation and herbalism (I have worked with and used all my life), I would like to tell you there's no such thing as a "weed," and that oftentimes the wild plants that sprout up in our garden and our lives are there for a purpose because we need them.
The bright "superherb" that I'll be blogging on has been beneficial to humans for thousands of years. My kids and I have always been so enchanted by these beautiful and yet common flowers that we have named them -- "universe blessings."
You might know them as dandelions.
From the spring through early summer and again in the fall, dandelions pop up all over my garden -- to many people they are considered weedy pests. Not only are they nutritious and edible, but they play an important role ecosystems as well. In your lawn, they nourish ladybugs, which in turn eat aphids, and they aereate and add nutrients to the soil.
What many don't realize is that when they whack away the dandelions they're destroying a medicinal powerhouse that their bodies often need.
Always check with your doctor before using herbal or natural medicine. In this article I will share 3 of my favorite recipes that you can make with this often overlooked flower.
But first here are some benefits:
1.) Liver Health: the dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, is an incredible detoxifier. It contains potent oils and bitter resins that folk healers and doctors have prescribed for liver health for centuries. It also helps to maintain the proper flow of bile while stimulating the liver -- this is the beginning of a positive feedback loop or upward spiral, which promotes proper digestion. This in turn decreases the chance of constipation, thus leading to a lower chance of developing more serious gastrointestinal problems.
2.) Anti-Aging Powerful Antioxidants : Antioxidants are a class of compounds that help to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals in the human body. Free radicals are produced in the body naturally, and the accumulation of these free radicals can cause accelerated aging or predisposition to certain conditions. This is due to the presence of a compound called beta-carotene in the dandelion plant. Dandelion flowers also contain polyphenols, which are also antioxidants.
3.) Good for Bones: Dandelions are a good source of calcium, and probably the richest herbal source of vitamin K, both of which are great for bone health.
4.) Reduces Inflammation: dandelions contain phytonutrients and essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body.
5.) Potential Anti-Cancer Effects: dandelions contain active chemical constituents that are currently being studied for their ability to act against cancer cells. Luteolin, mentioned above, "sterilizes" cancer cells and prevents them from reproducing by deactivating key components of the cells when it binds to them.
6.) Memory Function: the leaves are rich in choline which is proven to aid in restoring memory.
7.) Weight Loss and Blood Pressure: For people looking to lose weight, you might want to consider the inclusion of dandelion in your diet. This benefit has been attributed to the ability of the plant to help improve the metabolism of carbohydrates and reduce the rate of absorption of fat. Also, dandelions are diuretic in nature and by promoting urination, "water weight" can be shed and blood pressure can be lowered.
Here are 2 of my favorite Dandelion Recipes just for you:
Recipe 1: Dandelion Sprout Salad
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 handful of mung bean sprout
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced red onion
- 3 tablespoons hemp oil
- 1 bunch of dandelion greens
- 2 tablespoons raw pumpkin seed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 tbsp feta cheese
- In a blender, mix the shallot, mustard, vinegar. Add salt and pepper. Pour into a small bowl and whisk in the oil.
- Rinse / dry the dandelion greens and toss them in a large salad bowl with the dressing. Add feta cheese, pumpkin seeds.
- Optional, top with either the parmesan or sauerkraut or tomatoes.
Makes 4 Servings
Recipe 2: Dandelion Greens Garlic Mushroom
- 2 bunches of dandelion greens, lightly chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup red cooking wine
- 4 tbsp hemp oil
- 1 carrot sliced
- 1 cucumber sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent and lightly brown.
- Add the shiitake or regular mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until they have reduced and softened.
- Rinse / dry greens dandelion greens, red wine, salt and pepper.
Serves 4 to 6 people
Like my mother always used to say, “Be curious...be your own doctor...we can heal our bodies in nature.” The dandelion is a great example of the gems of mother nature.
P.S: Like what you read? Be sure to share it on your social media platforms so that others can learn about the natural healing benefits of dandelion to improve their well-being.
Love and light,