Dandelions Aren’t Weeds! The Healing Properties of Dandelions

Dandelions Aren't Weeds

Why does everyone hate dandelions? I’ve always wondered that, ever since I was a little kid. I’ve always thought of them as flowers – cheery yellow ones or white puffy ones you can make a wish on as you blow their fluff away. 

I’ve never thought of them as weeds, even though I’ve seen countless TV commercials for weed-killing sprays promising immaculate lawns – all with big, bright pictures of poor little dandelions on the bottle.

So many people view dandelions as a nuisance that ruins the appearance of their lawns when they could really be viewed as powerful medicinal herbs. I’ll admit, dandelions might not be quite as beautiful as some other flowers are, but it’s such a waste to kill them. They’re pretty in their own simple way, but, more than that, they’re valuable for their healing properties too. 

Dandelions Weren’t Always Considered Weeds

Before dandelions were vilified and labeled as weeds, they were considered healing herbs and were included in many historical books on herbal medicine, including books written for home and family use such as The Family Nurse.
This book, written by Lydia Marie Child in 1837, is a family manual for home health care and includes a large chapter on common herbs and their medicinal uses. In its description of the dandelion, the book states that the herb is:

“Slightly tonic, diuretic, and aperient. The leaves eaten as greens are excellent for the blood. The milky juice is good for stranguary, dropsy, and inflammation of the liver; two or three table-spoonfuls several times a day. A strong decoction of the roots and leaves is good for the same purpose; a gill may be drunk frequently” (pg 110).

Benefits of Dandelion Roots and Leaves

A modern-day herbal book, The Herbal Kitchen, by Kami McBride calls the dandelion a “nutritive tonic that enhances overall wellness.” The inulin in dandelion root also “nourishes the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and enhances digestion” (pg. 59).

Dandelions are pretty amazing. This is a list of just some of the healing properties of dandelions:

  • Bitter flavor stimulates healthy digestion
  • Contains minerals and vitamins A, C, and E
  • Supports liver function
  • Supports urinary tract function
  • Helps with skin complaints
  • Useful for detoxification

(Note: Those with gallstones or bile duct problems should avoid dandelion.)

Harvesting Dandelions

Dandelions are special because every part of them is useful. The roots can be dried and made into a tea, the leaves can be eaten fresh in salads, and the flowers are pretty to look at (in my opinion anyways.) Not every plant is so multi-purpose as the humble dandelion.

Dandelions grow pretty much everywhere, but I never harvest any dandelions unless they are in my own yard where I know they haven’t been sprayed by any chemical weed-killers or pesticides. (I also mainly harvest the ones that grow inside my garden fence so I know my dog hasn’t done her business on them.) For people who don’t have a dog, this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’d rather not have my dandelions watered that way!

If you have a chemical-free, non-toxic lawn, you can harvest your own dandelions for free. If not, though, or if it’s winter and your yard is covered with snow, you can find dandelion teas in most health food stores, and you can sometimes find the leaves in the produce section too when they are in season.

I’ve always liked dandelions as a flower, but now I appreciate them so much more as an herb. I’m never spraying toxic weed-killer on my precious dandelions. I’m going to harvest them and enjoy them, and, whenever I see one with a puffy white ball, I’m going to make a wish and blow those shimmering seeds all over the lawn for next year!

 

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Dandelions aren't weeds! The healing properties of dandelions | Our Heritage of Health

 

Further Information About Dandelions:

Dandelions Are No Lawn Menace

The Almighty Dandelion: Not Your Average Weed and 7 Reasons to Pick and Eat Them Today

 

 

This post is linke to Sunday School at Butter Believer, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday at Granny’s Vital Vittles, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Natural Living Link-Up  at Jill’s Home Remedies, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Wednesday at Frugally Sustainable, Simple Lives Thursday at GNOWFGLINS, Thank Your Body Thursday at Thank Your Body, Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, and Fresh Bites Friday a Real Food Whole Health.

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14 Responses to Dandelions Aren’t Weeds! The Healing Properties of Dandelions

  1. Hi Lori just found your blog.

    Spooky, i’ve been writing about weeds this week on my blog and the dandelion was one of them. They really are amazing plants but spread so quickly, which is why gardeners do not like them. Some people leave a patch in their gardens just for eating.

  2. We love dandelions!! My girls pick the ones in our yard and eat them all the time! :)

  3. Robin says:

    I love this! It’s funny how differently I see the world now vs. when I was growing up. Makes me look forward to the day when I have my own land and I can harvest my own “weeds.” :)

    Thanks for linking up to Thank Your Body Thursday. I hope you’ll come back and add more great posts. http://www.thankyourbody.com

    • Lori says:

      I know, when I was younger, I never would have thought of dandelions as something I could eat, but, like you said, I see the world differently now :)

  4. great post! we might make dandelion wine this spring! I also want to roast the roots to make dandelion ‘coffee’

  5. Ambert says:

    You can also use the flowers in a tea or the petals in pancakes, cakes, cookies, and fritters! We just made dandelion cookies this morning!
    The lovely sunny heads can be helpful for headaches, depression or belly aches!

  6. Kris says:

    Ya! A kindred spirit! I also love dandelions, and lately I have been trying all sorts of recipes with them to try and promote them. I’ve made: Dandelion syrup, muffins, cookies, wine, and salve from the blossoms and pesto from the leaves. I’m always on the lookout for more recipes. And I really do think they look beautiful and add such a nice splash of colour in otherwise boring lawns. Here is one of the posts I did about dandelion wine making http://400squareftliving.blogspot.ca/2013/02/dandelion-wine-part-4.html

  7. Plain Graces says:

    Glad to find a dandelion positive article! I am the only person on our street that doesn’t spray for weeds! Thank you for the reminder of why.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I dig the dandelions out of my front yard by hand every spring…though I let them live in the side yard. Honestly, the main reason is that my kids run around barefoot and get stung otherwise. Dandelions are wonderful, though. The make good medicine and good wine too! I had a very nice Dandelion wine in Vermont a few years ago. Even my husband liked it. I am not anti-bee, I just don’t like them under my feet. I love bees, and even let the carpenter bees live on my roof. We have large flower beds with diverse plant species including indigenous. This morning I saw a poor hummingbird braving the rain to get to my foxgloves.

  9. Great post, Lori! Thanks so much for linking to my dandelion post! :)

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