The Remarkable, Unforgettable, and Overall Essential Dandelion
The dandelion, so loathsome to Americans invented a specially crafted hand tool to extract it, is actually a venerable flower admired since antiquity. The ancient Chinese used it for food and medicine; the Japanese cultivated 200 varieties; the Greeks used it as a celebratory gift in their mythology; and was one of the medicinal herbs planted in the psychic garden at monasteries of the Middle ages.
Where did dandelions originate?
The dandelion’s geographic range was vast…but not in North America. It took the Puritans to plant dandelion seeds carried from Europe; in the new land they had a ready spot in the gardens. The Dutch, Germans, French and other colonists who followed, they took brought dandelions with them. The flower eventually broke free of the garden walls and fences, traveling across North America from clearing to clearing, following lumberjacks through the mountains and running free across prairies.
How did people use dandelions? As a tea? Food?
The Apaches used dandelions as a green; the Pioneers picked it in their Westward travels; the Irish of Appalachia used them as a jam; soldiers and Southerners during the Civil War used it as a medicine and beverage; and the health department touted the health value of dandelions to the folks at home, during World War I.
Even more, the dandelion is the perfect food for bees and other insects with its bountiful pollen and long flowering season. Every part is useful from petal to root and is so rich in deep soil nutrients, it’s the perfect addition to the compost heap.
Today, dandelions are gradually regaining their status as the remarkable flower that they are, making an appearance in health food store grocery departments, teas, and holistic medicines. Soon, who knows, they may gain stature in backyard gardens where they started.
What are some of the health values of dandelions?
Some of the health values of dandelions:
- Contains iron, calcium, potassium plus vitamins A, B complex, C, and D.
- Trying to lose weight? Try dandelions: they’re a diuretic
- Detoxifies the liver, relieves stomachaches,
- Helps prevent urinary tract infections
- Can lower blood pressure, build up blood, & reduce problems from anemia
Then there’s gout, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Seems dandelions can help with all of them.
So, are dandelions truly a panacea for all that ails you? We’re not doctors and we recommend things only because they taste good and have historic value. But with all these proclaimed benefits, plus their environmental upsides, why not indulge?