Energetics of Dandelion: Yes, It’s Edible!

It’s that time of the year when dandelions begin sprouting, destroying your yards! You’ll find these sunny yellow flowering plants dotting lawns almost year round, but they come back with a notorious vengeance each spring. You won’t typically find them in groceries, but did you know they are edible?They are also tortoises’ favorite snacks!

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They are chock full of vitamins A (more than in carrots)  B-complex, C,  and D, as well as minerals including iron, potassium sodium, calcium phosphorus and zinc. The often detested lawn blight seems to cure just about everything that ails you.  The genus name, taraxacum, is derived from the Greek taraxos, meaning “disorder,” and akos, meaning “remedy”.  This plant is used by many cultures, from Native Americans to Europeans and the Chinese.  Traditional Chinese Medicine uses dandelion as one of the top six herbs in its medicine chest.  Dandelion appears in the U.S. National Formulator and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union.

Dandelion is touted to purify the blood, detoxify the liver and gallbladder, dissolve kidney stones, improve gastro-intestinal health, assist in weight loss, clear acne, relieve both constipation and diarrhea, ease rheumatism, prevent high blood pressure and anemia, lower cholesterol and reduce gas.

The entire plant is edible. The root is a caffeine-free coffee substitute, similar to chicory, and also an ingredient in root beer. Dandelion leaves, which are deeply notched, flat and dark green in color, funnel water to the roots.  The leaves are used as a diuretic, helpful for liver problems, gall bladder function and high blood pressure.  The leaves may also normalize blood sugar levels along with lowering total cholesterol and triglycerides and raising HDL (good cholesterol), as proven in diabetic mice.  Tossed into salads and sandwiches, they boost flavor and reduce heartburn.  The flowers have antioxidant properties, helpful in preventing cancer. The petals, pulled from their green base can be used in numerous recipes like risotto, salads and cookies. Yum! You may have also heard of the the classic dandelion wine.

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Avoid dandelion if you’re allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies or iodine.

Oddly, high quality studies of dandelion are lacking.

Dandelion is one of the Five Flavors. Dandelion is a bitter (yin) flavor, reducing both heat and damp conditions in general, particularly in those area affected by the liver, spleen-pancreas, lungs, and heart.  Dandelion and other bitter foods also tend to direct energy inward and toward the lower part of the body.

Gluten-Free Dandelion Flower Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups gluten free baking flour
1 cup dry gluten free oatmeal
1/2 cup dandelion flowers*
1/2 cup ground macadamia nuts or pistachios (optional)
1/2 cup butter or vegetable oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Blend oil and honey and beat in the two eggs, sugar, nuts and vanilla. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda and dandelion flowers. Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 12-13 minutes at sea level.  Add 2 tsp flour and adjust cooking time (check at 13 minutes and add 2-3 minutes if necessary) for high altitude.

*Use pesticide-free flowers, wash well in clear water; measure 1/2 cup flowers with green base then twist petals off green part; use only petals since the green is bitter.

Recipe courtesy of Vitesis.

  • Deborah Dorris

    I found this interesting but I was wondering if could store and use dandelions later or if they had to be used fresh. There are many things they help with that I have problems with.

    • http://wellitude.com/ Donna Sigmond

      Great question Deborah. I have only stored dandelions in a moist paper towel in a plastic bag to use within a couple of weeks. I have never tried to dry or freeze them. Let us know if you find a great way to store long term.

      Please let me know an easy way to do this myself.