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Many Uses For The Humble Dandelion

Many people think of Dandelions as a nuisance. This time of year, I often hear people sharing ideas on how to get rid of darn dandelions and poisons that work well. At the other end of the spectrum, there are people all over the world who welcome and embrace dandelions as food and medicine. Dandelion is a rich wild vegetable, very nutritious and still free. Most commonly used parts are leaves and roots. They are high in vitamins A, B, C, beta carotene, minerals and fiber. Dandelions act as a natural diuretic and are a popular blood and heart cleanser. They are also considered a common tonic to help nourish and strengthen the liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, stomach and intestines. Dandelions have been known to help with anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, hepatitis, and yellow fever, reducing serum cholesterol and uric acid levels. Dandelions have already relieved menopausal symptoms for some. Hot flashes have been associated with congestion in certain individuals. When there is congestion, previously used hormones that are ready to be removed become trapped in the liver, recycled and used repeatedly, eventually causing poisoning.

Then there are people who like to play with dandelions. Dr Peter Gail, founder and president of The Defenders of Dandelions, has researched folk recipes and stories about the use of wild plants by people around the world. He has collected over 3000 recipes for 105 plants, including over 600 for dandelions. He started eating weeds as a young man in need of survival after a friend introduced him to Gail's family. In 1994, to promote the use of dandelions, Dr. Gail's company, Goosefoot Acres, decided to sponsor a national dandelion at Cook Dover in Ohio. It is held on the first weekend of May every year and attracts people from all over the country eager to enter their favorite dandelion dish in this contest.

If you are ready to go out and pick some dandelion vegetables, it is best to pick the leaves when they are young and tender, especially if you are going to eat them raw. It's before the flowers. After the flower, simply cut the plants back to the roots and in about 2 weeks or so you will have softer leaves. This can be done all summer long. It may not be healthy to pick and eat dandelions from soil that have been exposed to repeated herbicides. Chris Atzberger of Columbus Ohio has a recipe for Classic Dandelion Salad that works at 4. Half lb. fresh dandelion leaves, chopped, 1 chopped onion, 8 oz. chopped fresh mushrooms, 2 T. balsamic vinegar, 3 T. olive oil, half t. salt, 0ne eighth t. black pepper. Push and serve. I also love mixing dandelion greens with my other salad greens. They can also be cooked just like any green. I will not waste water after watering, as it is most of the nutrients. My wife prefers steaming vegetables in a little water or touching them in a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Here's a refreshing dandelion and tomato recipe offered by Gail Harshbarger of Akron Ohio that will complement any summer picnic. 15 tomatoes or 8 other tomatoes, half c. onion, finely chopped, 1 garlic finely chopped, one fourth c. sweet yellow pepper diced, one fourth c. sweet red pepper diced, 2 c. leaves dandelion, chopped, 1 c. feta cheese is broken. One and a half to three cups c. red wine or Italian dressing, half a teaspoon of your favorite herbal mix, 1 t. Worcestershire wings, One fourth c. Parmesan cheese. Mix all ingredients in a bowl except tomatoes. Chill for 1 hour. Cut tomatoes in half and cover inside. Mix the dandelion mixture into the tomatoes and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. My wife used to add what she brought from the tomato to the dandelion mixture before cooling. It can also burn.

Dandelion root is a part used mostly for medical purposes. It can be dug, dried, cut into tea. It should boil for 30 minutes or more. If you want to enjoy some of the health benefits of dandelion but not adventure, dandelion tea can be purchased as well as capsules.

Dandelion root is also used to make delicious and nutritious coffee substitutes called, the perfect blend. The Dandy mix has a delicious coffee-like taste that can also be used in baking or adding vanilla ice cream to give it a delicious coffee taste.

When I see dandelions, I admire their beauty and thank them for all their medical gifts ... so please be kind to your dandelions.

This article is provided by Michael Comeau and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose or cure any disease. Always consult your doctor when seeking medical advice.


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