Useful Weeds: Dandelions

Updated: Apr 15

Every season brings new life and growth here on the farm, and we suspect it is the same where you live. Even if you only have a small front yard you will likely find different growth of various plants and "weeds". When we lived in the city, we are now ashamed to admit that we spent time spraying many "weeds" in our yard with toxic chemicals in order to make it acceptable to neighbors and our home owner's association.



Now that we are on a farm, we look at these so-called weeds very differently. And now we have even more opportunity to USE all that is on the land. So each season, we will be presenting information on some of our local growing "weeds" and how you can make use of them in your area.


“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the month of April, we start seeing the dandelions bloom at a rapid pace. Where we used to dig, pull and spray them, now we love to see as many as possible so we can HARVEST them!



Here is why....


BENEFITS OF DANDELIONS

The benefits of dandelions extend from its roots to its flower! The whole thing can be safely consumed, providing an abundance of nutrients our bodies need.


Dandelions...

  • are high in vitamin A, K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6

  • contain a lot of iron which helps support healthy red blood cells.

  • also contain potassium, which helps regulate our heartbeat and blood pressure, as well as other essential minerals like folate, magnesium, and copper

  • are immune system boosters

  • can help balance our blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn, and soothe common digestive issues

  • can be eaten raw, and, unlike most foods, they don’t lose their nutrients when you cook them!

Sources: A Better Way To Thrive, USDA


CREATIVE USES FOR DANDELIONS

Dandelions can be used to make:

  • tea

  • salads

  • soup broths

  • jelly

  • bread

  • fritters

  • and even cookies!

A quick online search will find you a whole list of amazing recipes for dandelions, from teas to bread!


Check out our Sunny Dandelion Botanical soap and try it for yourself!


Loaded with vitamins and minerals, dandelions can be used in skin care products to help infuse your body’s largest organ with nutrients through topical application.

You can use them to make:

  • hair rinses

  • facial steams

  • acne treatments

  • lotion bars

  • salves

  • soap



HARVESTING DANDELIONS FOR OPTIMUM FLAVOR

Dandelions are naturally bitter, but there are two things you can do to ensure a tasty harvest.

  1. Harvest dandelions from plants that have not yet bloomed. The leaves are at their tenderest before the weed begins to flower.

  2. Dandelion leaves from plants that have grown in the shade are naturally blanched, and less bitter.

  3. Always be sure to leave SOME dandelions remaining because the bees rely on it. It is the early springtime food supply for bees!





DANDELION PRECAUTIONS





Before taking or applying dandelions medicinally, internally, or topically, there are a few things to take into consideration.

Dandelions should only be harvested from lawns or fields that have not been sprayed with chemicals or fertilizer.

Also, avoid harvesting dandelions from the side of the road, dog parks, or any other public place where they may have undesirable “flavorings!”


Likewise, dandelions should only be consumed after a Doctor’s approval if you are:

  • on blood thinners (Dandelions contain Vitamin K, which can interfere with blood thinning medication)

  • pregnant or trying to conceive (although unconfirmed, some studies suggest dandelion root may be a natural contraceptive)

  • have latex allergies

  • have pollen or ragweed allergies

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