I have always adored dandelions. No matter how bad my day is, seeing those little unexpected pops of sunshine always brightens my day. To my chagrin, most people still look at these adorable and helpful little plants as weeds and, instead of taking advantage of all of the dandelion’s uses and symbolism, harmful chemicals are sprayed everywhere.
Well, today, I am going to defend the humble dandelion by proving that it is far more useful than all that grass you’re protecting.
What I think most people don’t realize is that the humble dandelion is actually an extremely useful plant. Provided that you don’t actually spray pesticides on it, you can eat the flowers, leaves and roots of this little plant. It’s great in salads and has plenty of good vitamins and medicinal uses. You can dry the leaves and use them in tea or tinctures, make lotions or salves… the possibilities are endless!
Here are just a few recipes I found around the internet:
And here are some things you can make with Dandelion:
If you really want to get technical, dandelions aren’t really flowers–they’re herbs. Most of the plant is edible, as mentioned before, and can provide several health benefits. Dandelions have been used in several cultures as part of traditional herbal medicine. For example, when used in the form of tea or tinctures, dandelions can help with digestion, liver function, detoxification and can work as a diuretic to remove excess water. Some say that the roots can help stabilize blood sugar levels as well.
I must caution however that as with all herbal medicine, be sure to do your research and talk to your doctor before taking it regularly, as some herbs may interact with medications or medical conditions.
Of course, all of that aside, I have always found something cheerful about dandelions. And I’m fairly certain that most people have at least some fond memories of blowing those little white parachute fluffs off of the stems and watching them float away into the breeze. Some people even believe that dandelions symbolize wishes, and that if you make a wish and blow all the seeds off in one breath, it will come true.
So the next time that you see a little yellow poof on the side of the road, or growing through a crack in the sidewalk, just remember: Dandelions are only weeds if you decide they are. To someone, that little flower might be just the sunshine they need to get through the day!