There's this funny thing about plants that grow wild in our city (or any city for that matter). Despite many of these plants endless culinary and medicinal uses, there is no market for them because they grow for free. If there's no money in selling them, you will not find them in your local grocery stores or promoted for being healthy. Food is a business afterall. Because there is no promotion of these plants, most people assume they are nothing more than a weed and so we kill them.
Ironcially, many "weeds" pack more nutrients than spinach AND taste delicious! I have done write-ups of several plants that grow wild in San Diego that you can read up further under the plant category. I plan to post many more in the future.
Today I want to talk about dandelion. This "weed" is probably in everyone's yard and is known as a complete and utter nuisance. Upon my research I found out that there is an AMAZING list of health benefits that come from consuming this plant. Let's read:
- Prevents or cures liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice;
- Acts as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood
- Cleanses your system
- Dissolve kidney stones while improving gastro-intestinal health
- Assists in weight reduction
- Cleanses your skin and eliminates acne
- Improves your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea
- Prevents or lowers high blood pressure
- Prevents or cures anemia
- Lowers your serum cholesterol by as much as half
- Eliminates or drastically reduces acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods
- Prevents or cures various forms of cancer
- Prevents or controls diabetes mellitus
- Has no negative side effects
WOW! Let's say you're skeptical that it's a miracle plant. All that really matters is it is edible, tasty and free, right? Nothing else to lose so why not do your own research with your body through time. I recently harvested some of it in my backyard and added it to my grilled cheese. It was delicious!
In the holistic world, dandelion is very well-respected. It's botanical name is Taraxacum Officinale, which means "The Official Remedy for Disorder". In Chinese herbal medicine, it is one of the top herbs used to treat all ailments.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of spinach vs. dandelion. As you can see, dandelion wins by a long-shot in nutrition! So why is spinach known as the super food and dandelion a weed? Oh I know, because there is no financial gain off a plant that grows wild. Instead let's market how to kill it and make money off of pesticides!
- Young leaves can be used as a unique, local alternative to spinach or salad greens and are rich in vitamin A.
- Flowers can be a colorful addition to a fresh salad, cooked in fritters, or made into a summery dandelion wine.
- Roots are most commonly used for medicinal purposes but can also be used for making a caffeine-free alternative to coffee.