Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Other common names (Where you usually find it

Category:

Description

Dandelion is considered an herb. The entire plant is beneficial and edible. People use the leaves in salad all over the world, the stem as an edible (for those with the palate for it), the flower for tinctures, wine and fritters, and the root of the dandelion for a coffee substitute. All these parts are also valuable for medicinal purposes. The dandelion plant is actually very nutritious.

Uses:

Dandelion is both a nutritious food and a powerful medicine for the body.

Greens -Salad and sandwiches, potherb and side dish additive.

Flowers -Make tinctures for medicine and fritters for a treat or create dandelion wine.

Crown -Add to salads and soup dishes (add to the dish when serving).

Roots -Roast them and use as a coffee substitute or additive.

Medicinal uses include: diuretic, antioxidant, help with vision, blood sugar, wound healing, heart health, cancer prevention, liver health, helps with inflammation, lower blood pressure, helps with weight loss, skin care, bone health, protects the gall bladder and more.

Identification:

For most of us, it is not hard to ID the dandelion plant. Knowing the uses on the other hand requires a little more research. The dandelion does have many look alike and look similar plants but no known poisonous look-a-likes so that’s a plus! The dandelion can be recognized by its leaves and flower and especially the flower stem. Leaves fo a healthy young plant will look rounded at the tip with a long slender petiole (You might think of it as the stem) at the base. In plants that are struggling or toward the end of the plant’s life the leaves will have the more familiar “toothed” look. This is where the dandelion gets its name, dent de lion, literally “lion’s tooth” in French.

The stem of the flower is a hollow straw and extends from the base fo the plant upward. The straw is often colored with green, yellow and red tones. The flower itself is distinguished with many bright yellow petals and of course, when it goes to seed, you see the often very round, white puffball seed head.

History:

Likely used for both food and medicine throughout history with recorded data as far back as the 10th century.

Nutritional information (1 cup greens):

Dandelion greens are high in many vitamins including A, C, E, and K. Dandelions also provide some calcium, potassium, iron, folate, and magnesium (something that most people are deficient in). While dandelion greens do have iron, it is non-heme, which is less absorbable to the human body, so while it is not the best option for iron, it is still a powerful detox plant to include in your diet.

Dandelion greens are an exceptional source of vitamin K with one cup providing 357% of a 2,000 calorie daily recommended diet. Vitamin K is a powerful player in preventing osteoporosis and heart disease so it really should be a part of your diet.

Dandelion does not offer a lot of calories so it is a great cleanser and protector for you but not a primary food source.

  • Calories: 25
  • Fat: 0.4g
  • Sodium: 42mg
  • Carbohydrates: 5.1g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Sugars: 0.4g
  • Protein: 1.5g
  • Vitamin K: 428.1mcg
  • Iron: 1.7mg
  • Vitamin A: 279.4mcg

Sources:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324083

https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169226/nutrients

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2441/2

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dandelion-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_11

https://sunwarrior.com/blogs/health-hub/11-health-benefits-of-dandelion-leaves-and-dandelion-root

https://www.etymonline.com/word/dandelion

Dandelion History

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