Most people think of dandelion as an invasive weed that creeps into their yard during the summertime. But if people knew the medicinal and culinary uses of dandelion, they might think again! Here are a few of the surprising benefits that dandelions offer.
Before digging into the uses and benefits of dandelions, you need to understand their structure, varieties and composition. Dandelions are a common, wildly grown flowering plant in the Midwest with a bright yellow color and a watery stem. You have probably played with them as a child; when they die, they turn into a sphere of seeds that you can scatter with one breath. They are one of the most well-known members of the Taraxacum genus.
Throughout history, people of different cultures have used dandelions as a remedy. In fact, over the course of history, dandelions have been used to cure just about every illness. It started with the Ancient Chinese, who used it to treat upset stomachs and appendicitis. The Native Americans also utilized these flowers for stomach problems, as well as boiling them to treat kidney diseases and reduce the swelling of injuries.
Using dandelions as medicine did not die away in the Western world. Today, many medical professionals recommend this wholesome plant when dealing with liver and gull bladder infirmities. Although this usage of dandelions has not been widely studied, the plants' high content of many essential vitamins and minerals is a clue to why it has been so successful.
During the Great Depression, a popular urban legend was that many people who couldn't afford food would cook and eat the dandelions in their yard. Whether or not this is true, it still provides a glimpse into how our society views dandelions--weeds, not food. But there are actually a lot of recipes that include dandelions, if you know where to look.
Certain types are found in a coffee replacement beverage and some teas. They also pair greatly with sandwiches, since their flavor blends well and their nutritional benefits are incredible. All in all, you can mix dandelions into almost any dish for enhanced nutrients and vitamins. Some of the most popular ways are through salads and stir-frys.
Even if you don't want to eat dandelions as human food, they are still great for your pets. Some of the animals that make best use of these flowering plants are birds and rabbits. If you have one of these animals as a pet, dandelions are a great, cost-effective way to feed them naturally.
Whitetail deer and other large herbivores also frequently feed on these plants, so including them in your yard can attract some beautiful creatures who stay and graze. They are also commonly cultivated as tortoise food and rabbits also enjoy munching them as well.
Teenage acne (acne vulgaris) is caused by a flow of toxins into the body. When your hormones are constantly changing during difficult teen years, your body is thrown off-balance and releases an excess of toxins. This causes your skin to become clogged and acne proliferates as a result.
Because of its nutritional value, dandelion is a great at detoxification. If you have acne, a good detox might be exactly what you need to clear your skin up. You could try consuming a dandelion in one of the aforementioned recipes, or you could directly apply the herb to your face via a face mask or oil.
With all of these incredible benefits and uses, it's clear that dandelion is more than just a weed in your yard. It's actually a beautiful plant with a long history of traditional medicine, delicious recipes, and detoxification. So next time you go to spray away the dandelions in your yard, think about other ways you could use this incredible plant.