If you haven’t already sprayed the dandelions growing in your yard – and you’d like to rid your lawn from unwanted vegetation – why not dig them up and make medicinal tea or eat them in salads, stews or a green smoothie?
The common dandelion proliferating summer lawns is often unwanted by many homeowners looking for a velvety green lawn. Dandelions were brought to the United States from Europe and Asia and introduced for its myriad health benefits, which have been utilized by Eastern cultures for centuries. Dandelion is a bitter herb and all parts of the plant are used medicinally in herbal preparations, teas and as foods.
Preparing dandelions for consumption
Make dandelion tea by brewing 1 ounce of dandelion root or leaves in 1 pint of water for 15 minutes. Roast dandelion root like you would carrots or potatoes. Dandelion greens and flowers are delicious raw in salads or cooked like you would spinach.
The bitter properties in dandelion aid digestion, stimulating the production of digestive juices, which begin in the mouth with saliva. The stomach responds to stimulus from bitter foods by increasing the production of all natural digestive juices including acids and bicarbonate.
Tonifies the liver
Dandelion tea supports the liver in its production of bile, reducing inflammation, jaundice, hepatitis and gall bladder disease, according to Columbia University.
Effects on blood sugar and diabetes
Dandelion affects blood sugar levels, acting as a stabilizing agent and buffering against extreme highs and lows. Drinking dandelion tea three times a day provides support for diabetics.
Prevention of kidney stones
The University of Maryland Medical Center notes the combination of foods high in oxalates and calcium may lower the incidence of kidney stones. Dandelion is high in oxalates and when consumed at the same time as high-calcium foods, they bind in the intestine creating protection for the kidneys.
Weight loss and swelling
Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic and can be made into tea, which reduces swelling and fluid retention as well as promoting weight loss, according to Columbia University. It’s believed that dandelion tea may have other properties that aid with weight loss in addition to its diuretic affect.
Cancer fighting properties
According to Columbia University, antibodies to various types of cancers have been detected in individuals after consuming dandelion, including the leaves, flowers and roots.