You might think dandelions are just an annoyance, but it’s time to change that belief. Don’t let them go to waste, as they offer a free source of an incredible range of benefits that can be used to benefit the body inside and out.
Dandelions may better be known as a weed to be stomped or sprayed out, but they’ve actually been used medicinally for centuries. The first reference of dandelions being used as a medicine was written back in the 10th and 11th centuries by Middle Eastern. In Wales, by the 13th century, many people were using the roots and leaves to treat a variety of ailments. Traditional cultures have used dandelion greens to support digestive and hormone health, and they were often consumed to support lactation and to help cure problems like urinary tract infections.
All parts of the dandelion are edible, offering medicinal and culinary uses. They can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten steamed, roasted, dried or even raw. Dandelions are loaded with antioxidants. They’re high in vitamin A in the form of the antioxidant carotenoid, otherwise known as beta-carotene, as well as vitamin C. They’re an especially good source of calcium and iron, along with a host of other minerals like copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. They contain more protein per serving them spinach, with the greens themselves providing all essential amino acids. Plus, the roots contain inulin and luteolin, which are known to help regulate blood sugar as well as taraxacin which aids in stimulating digestion.
So beyond that, why should you start picking dandelion greens and saving them, rather than tossing them out?
1. It’s free food
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but in this case, you can easily get dandelion greens to enjoy for free. In fact, there’s a good chance you have them in your own yard, or at least in public areas around you. They’re best in the spring, before the plants begin to flower. If you’re one of the few that don’t have them, plant the seeds so you can cultivate them and enjoy a steady supply.
One important thing to keep in mind is that you should never harvest your dandelions from areas that have been treated with pesticides, or from industrial lots that could be contaminated with heavy metals or other pollutants.
2. Improving your complexion
Thanks to its magnesium and zinc content as well as its potential ability to support detoxification, dandelion greens are great for improving your complexion and supporting healthier skin. If you suffer from acne, applying the juice of dandelion greens to affected areas can help to inhibit microbial infections and reduce pimples and other acne-related issues. As it contains a high amount of vitamin C, it can also help speed healing while reducing inflammation.
As dandelion greens are considered a diuretic, they encourage a higher amount of urine to be passed to help cleanse the body of toxins, which also supports a more beautiful complexion.
3. Fighting skin infections
In addition to clearing acne and supporting a more beautiful complexion, that milky white substance that you see when you break a dandelion stem can also help to fight a skin infection. That’s because it’s not only highly alkaline, it offers fungicidal and germicidal properties. You can use it to help relieve the symptoms of a number of skin conditions, including the irritation and itching of eczema, psoriasis, and ringworm.
4. Relieving indigestion and bloating
Many people use dandelions to relieve digestion-related problems like bloating, upset stomach and constipation. In Native American and Chinese medicine, the greens have been used for this purpose for thousands of years.
Certain components of dandelion, primarily its high levels of dietary fiber, make it beneficial for digestive health. Dietary fiber helps to stimulate more healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stools and also lessens chances of constipation and diarrhea. By regulating healthy bowel movements, it can also prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues. As it offers gentle soothing effects, it’s often prescribed for children who are battling constipation.
All of that fiber also brings other benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, kidney stones, and obesity.
One of the best ways to use dandelion for supporting better digestion is to make a dandelion tea. Do so by pouring one cup of boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves. Keep in mind that it can have laxative effects so it’s best to try it out while you’re at home if you haven’t had it before. It’s likely to have a number of positive effects, however, including brightening and clearing up your complexion as mentioned previously.
5. Soothing aching joints and muscles by making a dandelion bath
Using dandelions externally can not only improve the beauty and health of your skin, but it can soothe aching joints and muscles by turning them into a bath oil.
To make a dandelion bath oil, you’ll need to pick enough dandelion blossoms to fill one glass container. Once it’s full, pour some extra-virgin olive oil over them until they’re completely covered. If you’d like, you can also add dried lavender flowers which offers a lovely and relaxing lavender scent. Carefully poke the mixture to remove air bubbles using a wooden handle of a utensil or a chopstick. Cover the container with a breathable lid such as a coffee filter or woven cloth, and use a rubber band to secure it. Place the container in the sun and allow it to steep for at least two weeks. Strain and store in a cool, dark place.
6. Lowering blood pressure
If you tend to have high blood pressure, dandelions can help get it back on track. Its diuretic properties which help to increase urination frequency and quantity is believed to be behind this ability, in addition to its high level of potassium, which is well-known for reducing blood pressure numbers.
7. Supporting liver health
Dandelion greens have been used for centuries by many different cultures to support healthy liver functioning as well as natural detoxification. The liver produces bile, which helps enzymes in the body break fats down into fatty acids, as well as to detoxify and filter the blood. This amazing organ can synthesize and metabolize fats and cholesterol break down and store amino acids, store glucose and regulate internal functions.
The powerful nutrients in dandelions help to cleanse the liver to keep it working like it should. Additionally, they aid the liver (and entire digestive system) by helping to maintain the proper flow of bile.
Source: Natural Living Ideas