- is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
- The dandelion flower opens to greet the morning and closes in the evening to go to sleep.
- Every part of the dandelion is useful: root, leaves, flower. It can be used for food, medicine and dye for coloring.
- Up until the 1800s people would pull grass out of their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful “weeds” like chickweed, malva, and chamomile.
- The average American recognizes thousands of logos for commercial products, yet recognizes fewer than five plants that grow in his/her area. Dandelions are most likely one of those familiar plants.
- The name dandelion is taken from the French word “dent de lion” meaning lion’s tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.
- Dandelions have one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant.
- Seeds are often carried as many as 5 miles from their origin!
- A not so fun fact: Every year Americans spend millions on lawn pesticides to have uniform lawns of non-native grasses, and we use 30% of the country’s water supply to keep them green.
Dandelion herb health benefits
- Certain chemical compounds in fresh dandelion greens, flower tops, and roots are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
- Fresh leaves are very low in calories; providing just 45 calories per 100 g. The herb is also a good source of dietary fiber (provide about 9% of RDA per 100 g). In addition, its latex is a good laxative. These active principles in the herb help reduce weight and control cholesterol levels in the blood.
- Dandelion root as well as other plant parts contains bitter crystalline compounds Taraxacin, and an acrid resin, Taraxacerin. Further, the root also contains inulin (not insulin) and levulin. Together, these compounds are responsible for various therapeutic properties of the herb.
- Fresh dandelion leaves carry 10,161 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g (about 338% of daily-recommended intake), one of the highest source of vitamin-A among culinary herbs. Vitamin A is an important fat-soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and vision.
- Its leaves packed with numerous health benefiting flavonoids such as carotene-ß, carotene-a, lutein, crypto-xanthin and zea-xanthn. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) help human body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Zeaxanthin supposed to possess photo-filtering functions and therfore, may help protect retina from harmful UV rays.
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- It is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, vitamin-E and vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Dandelion greens provide 58% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin-C.
- Dandelion is probably the richest herbal sources of vitamin K; provides about 650% of DRI. Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone strengthening by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
This humble backyard herb provides (%of RDA/100g)-
9% of dietary fiber,
19% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
20% of Riboflavin,
58% of vitamin C,
338% of vitamin A,
649% of vitamin K,
39% of iron and
19% of calcium.
(Note: RDA-Recommended daily allowance)
Preparation and serving methods
Fresh greens and flower tops have been in use in cooking since ancient times. Generally, pre-washed greens blanched in boiling water for a minute or so and cooled immediately by plunging into ice-cold water. Blanching reduces bitterness.
Here are some serving tips:
- Young tender shoots, raw or blanched, used in salads and sandwiches either alone or in combination with other greens like lettuce, kale, cabbage, chives, etc.
- Fresh greens may also used in soups, stews, juices, and as cooked leafy-vegetable.
- Dried leaves as well as flower parts used to make tonic drinks and herbal dandelion tea.
- Dandelion flowers can be used in the preparation of wines, schnapps, pancakes; and favored in Arab baking.
- Gently roasted and ground root can be used to make wonderfully flavorful dandelion coffee.
- Dandelion root is also used in Japanese cooking.
Almost all the parts of the dandelion herb found place in various traditional as well in modern medicine.
- Certain principle compounds in the herb have laxative and diuretic functions.
- The plant parts have been used as herbal remedy for liver and gall bladder complaints.
- Dandelion herb is also a good tonic, appetite stimulant and is a good remedy for dyspeptic complaints.
- Traditionally, flower stems used as soothening agent for burns and stings (for example in stinging nettle allergy).
Although dandelion herb contains some bitter principles, it can be safely used in healthy individuals without any reservations. However, in patients on potassium sparing diuretic therapy, it may aggravate potassium toxicity. Dandelion herb can also induce allergic contact dermatitis in some sensitive individuals. (Medical disclaimer).