"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
History: The dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, actually has occupants on all continents, even the Antarctica. However, they were introduced to North America by colonists and explorers from Europe. Dandelion seeds are able to spread over large distances and grow in even the harshest terrains. This means that this little flower will grow almost anywhere!
The healing benefits of dandelions have been marked by generations across the globe. Arabian philosophers, Welsh doctors and Roman healers all have documented the use of the dandelion. In fact, the dandelion was used in traditional Egyptian and Chinese medicines for thousands of years. Some believe that dandelions were brought over to the United States on the Mayflower for their medicinal benefits (and to fight scurvy).
Here are some of the dandelions benefits!
- Excellent source of vitamins A, C and K
- Good sources of calcium, potassium and iron (even more than spinach!)
- treats liver and kidney problems
- fights jaundice, scurvy, arthritis, diabetes and gallstones
- possibly assists in helping to fight cancer
- helps menstrating women by controlling hormones and water buildup
- Fights acne and helps with skin care
Interestingly enough, the United States FDA still states that Dandelions are a weed and that there are no proven health benefits...
It's all about disguising or manipulating flavours to make dandelion greens tastier. They are naturally bitter, so it's all about finding sweet flavours to go along with them. Overtime, you may actually come to crave and enjoy the bitterness (sort of like arugula or kale). With all the healthy benefits though, a healthy dandelion salad once in awhile would be extremely good for you!
Have you ever cooked with dandelions? Would you? How would you serve them?