Common Name: Dandelion
Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Taraxacum is derived from the Greek taraxos (disorder) and akos (remedy).
If you live in an area where dandelions grow, chances are as a kid you blew the fluffy white bulb and made a wish in hopes of it coming true.
As a kid you loved them. While they may now seem to be pesky weeds, dandelion is actually a powerful healer.
Dandelion greens are loaded with vitamins A, C, E & K and calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Dandelion purifies the blood, detoxifies the liver (which can reduce the side effects of prescription medications) and promotes bile production.
Dandelion is also a bitter. Bitter foods stimulate the digestive tract and metabolism. In the United States we do not consume enough bitter foods and this can lead to imbalances such as migraines, diabetes, indigestion and hormone imbalances.
To work properly, bitters must be tasted. This taste stimulates the secretion of digestive juices and signals the body to start the digestion process.
How do you incorporate dandelion into your daily life? EAT THE WEEDS
Make sure you do not use dandelion that has been sprayed with pesticides. Dandelion greens are sold in most grocery and natural food stores.
You can add dandelion greens to salads, smoothies and you can juice them.
You can also steam dandelion greens like you would spinach and add butter and lemon for more flavor.
Try this easy recipe below.
Sauteed Dandelion Greens
- 1 large bunch of dandelion greens cut into 2 inch pieces
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 – 5 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dried hot red-pepper flakes (optional)
- In a large pot, boil dandelion greens in salted water until the stems are soft.
- Saute garlic and onions in olive oil until they are soft and translucent (do not brown).
- Add cooked dandelion greens, salt, and pepper to the onion and garlic mixture and sautee for 3 – 5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and toss with red pepper flakes if you like a little spice.
Unless you are avoiding greens because of health issues or are taking blood thinning medication, eating a cup of greens daily is essential to good nutrition especially if you have sluggish digestion.
* It is recommended that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
Some digestive bitters are contraindicated when pregnant or nursing.