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Thursday, April 3, 2014

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5 Ways to Enjoy Dandelions

Team - 3:57 AM

Dandelions have a lot more to offer other than just being an annoyance to those who strive to have a perfect lawn. Most yards have them, providing a free source for a wide range of health benefits, inside and out.

All parts of the dandelion are edible, offering medicinal and culinary uses. They can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten steamed, roasted, dried or even raw.

Dandelions are packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and beta carotene, and the roots contain inulin and levulin, which are known to help regulate blood sugar. They also contain taraxacin, which aids in stimulating digestion.

Dandelion tea

Dandelions are known as a great liver detoxifier and can also help ease bloating to cure that puffy, over-full feeling. Many people use dandelion root to detoxify, relieve constipation, soothe an upset stomach, and to help reduce water weight.

Dandelion tea made from the roots or leaves has been used in Native American and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Even Dr. Oz has recommended it as part of his 48-hour cleanse. Studies have revealed that dandelions contain diuretic and liver-detoxifying properties.

Make dandelion tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves. Keep in mind that it can have laxative effects, so it’s best to try it out while you’re at home if you haven’t had it before. As dandelions are known to help detox the body, in addition to easing digestive problems, you may find that you have a brighter, clearer complexion.

Dandelion smoothie

Although dandelions are bitter, by adding them to a smoothie you can get all of their benefits while enjoying a sweet, delicious taste minus the bitterness. Add them to your own recipe, or just throw in 1-2 cups chopped dandelion greens, 1 banana, ½ cup frozen strawberries, ½ cup frozen pineapple chunks, a couple of thinly sliced pieces of ginger root and 1 ½ cups coconut water to your blender. Blend until smooth.

Dandelion salad

One of the easiest and tastiest ways to derive dandelions’ wonderful health benefits is to eat the wilted leaves with extra-virgin, organic olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Of course, you can also add them to any of your favorite salads, or toss together dandelion greens, red onion and tomatoes in a medium-sized bowl; season with basil, salt and pepper.

Dandelion with warm balsamic vinaigrette

Adding vinegar or another potent flavor to a dandelion salad can help make the bitter flavor less prominent.

This recipe is a great one for dandelion newbies to try.
  • 2 ½ pounds dandelion greens
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin, organic olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts or pine nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions: Trim off the thickest part of the stems and discard along with any tough leaves. Chop the remaining greens and place into a large salad bowl. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat; add garlic and nuts, stirring frequently until garlic turns golden brown. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Pour mixture over greens.

Dandelion bath oil

You can also use dandelions externally to help tone and firm skin, reduce inflammation due to eczema or acne or even to sooth aching joints and muscles.

To make dandelion bath oil, pick enough dandelion blossoms to fill one glass container and pour olive oil over the blossoms until they’re completely covered. If you’d like, you can also add dried lavender flowers for a nice lavender scent.

Carefully poke the mixture to remove air bubbles using a wooden handle of a utensil or a chopstick. Cover the container with a breathable lid like a coffee filter or woven cloth, and use a rubber band to secure it. Place the container in the sun and allow it to steep for at least two weeks. Strain and store in a cool, dark place.

Did you have any idea those pesky dandelions could actually be quite useful?

The Alternative Daily



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