Feeling Just Dandy

Celebrating the humble dandelion, a wonder food not a weed

While those who yearn for pristine green lawns may beg to differ, the dandelion is one of nature’s finest designs. From top to bottom, this hearty plant offers up plenty of delicious and healthy benefits.

The cheery yellow tops can be collected when in full flower and turned into a tasty homemade summer wine.

The bitter green leaves are packed with vitamin K and A, good for bone health and skin, mucus membranes and vision, respectively. In addition to these, the dandelion green contains a wealth of other vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium and potassium.

Abundant chlorophyll can help to purify and stop the spread of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, while promoting the growth of beneficial intestinal flora.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dandelion greens are used to detox the liver, preserve prostate health, and reduce heat symptoms like skin eruptions, high blood pressure, and constipation.

The high-fibre greens are best collected from a pesticide-free environment when the leaves are young and can be steamed or sautéed. To reduce their bitterness, the beloved, late Abla Bassett described a Lebanese specialty that slow-fries garlic, onions, and olive oil with chopped greens in a covered pot. Once fully softened, fresh lemon juice is added and the result is scrumptious.
Dandelion roots, once dried and roasted, make a healthy coffee substitute, with a powerful, detoxing action on the liver. People making a transition away from unhealthy diets and/or intoxicants can kick-start and support the process with dandelion root tea, which is also available in prepared tea bags in the organic section of most grocery stores.

So feast your eyes on the hearty cheer of the dandelion and consider a new relationship with this misunderstood flower. Instead of trying to poison them out of existence, let’s start harvesting them! Resilient plants have a way of passing their vitality on to us if we are willing to receive it.

About Harmony Wagner

Harmony Wagner began training with the North American Tang Shou Tao Association and her teacher Vince Black in 1996. She underwent a formal apprenticeship with the Four Winds Health Center and was licensed as a Registered Acupuncturist through the CTCMA of British Columbia in 2001. She practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and teaches NATSTA gongfu and qigong in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

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