A World Full of Dandelions
~ By Kirsten Antony R.N. ~
Curious are the little yellow flowers popping up in lawns everywhere known as dandelions. For some, they are a nasty invasive weed. For others, they are a valuable medicinal herb. To many children of the world, they hold the power of granting wishes when the seeds are blown into the wind. As I wish upon a dandelion, I hope to open your eyes to a new perspective on this wonderful little plant.
In the world of herbal medicine, some healing remedies are hidden in plain sight. These plentiful plants can be found in lawns, fields, and even sidewalk cracks. They have been used as medicine throughout history and all over the world. The entire plant can be used which includes the flowers, leaves and roots. The different parts of the dandelion can be used to create a variety of medicinal actions on the body such as diuretic, tonic, digestive aid, detoxifier and hepatonic.
Dandelion flowers can be an addition to salads. The flowers can also be used in beverages such as dandelion wine and dandelion beer. There are even recipes for dandelion cookies. The leaves have bitter properties that are a wonderful digestive aid. Many people enjoy the young leaves in a salad. The leaves also have a diuretic quality when consumed as well as being known as a blood purifier. Dandelion has an alkalinizing effect and neutralizes acids.
The roots of dandelion can be made into a tea when roasted. Roasted dandelion tea can be purchased already prepared in tea bags. Many enjoy this beverage as an alternative to coffee. The roots are a wonderful tonic for the liver.
Dandelions are so wonderful that there are festivals around the country celebrating them. Durango and Boulder Colorado have had dandelion festivals. Breitenbach Wine Cellars in Dover, Ohio has an annual Dandelion festival which features their dandelion wine. It is surprisingly delicious!
Before you go harvesting dandelions from your yard, there are a few things to consider. Collecting herbal medicine next to a busy road or highway is not advised. The plants may absorb the pollutants from vehicles. The same is true for lawns treated with pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides. Also note that plants may be contaminated by animals as well. Dandelions are usually a safe herb for many to consume, but be aware that allergies may occur. As always, check with your physician if you are thinking about adding herbs to your diet as some may interfere with other medications you may be taking.
For those of you not willing to take the leap and forage from your yard and enjoy a dandelion free lawn, please know that spraying the lawn with chemicals is not the only way to rid the yard of dandelions. Dandelions can always be manually dug up or straight vinegar may be applied directly to the plant and it will die. Just please be careful pouring the vinegar – if it gets on the grass, it will kill the grass as well. There are many organic products available to use that will create a weed free yard full of green grass. Forgoing chemical products are not only better for the earth, but for all living creatures that inhabit it as well.
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Certified Reflexologist. Kirsten is a holistic health care practitioner and specializes in foot and nail care. She provides care in the Denver area at a variety of facilities as well as making house calls. For more information visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992.