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Dandelion is thought of as a pesky weed that you can see in our lawns, gardens, pavement etc. But have you heard about it beneficial effects on human health? Well this amazing plant is an excellent food and herbal medicine that anyone can find, grow and put to use. Its interesting name comes from French dent-de-lion, meaning ‘lion’s tooth’ – the leaves being deeply lobed with triangular teeth pointing towards the base of the leaf. Another distinguishing feature is to turn the leaf over and run your finger along the main vein of the leaf. If it is smooth with no hairs it is a true dandelion. Most other dandelion relatives have hairs on the veins and or on the leaves.

Nutritional qualities:

Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D. Dandelion contains protein too, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years and used to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.

The root, on the other hand, is rich with minerals. During the Second World War in England the roots of this plant were dug up in autumn, dry roasted and ground into a delicious coffee substitute.

Here are some recipes how to use dandelion:

Dandelion Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1-2 cups water melon
2 peaches
1 banana
12 dandelion leaves
Handful clover leaves
Handful of violet leaves
2 kale leaves
2 cups water
1 T chia seeds
1 T pumpkin seeds
2 cardamom pods

Preparation:

Grind the chia, pumpkin seeds and cardamom pods. Put the vegetables in the blender with water and blend all together. Add the fruit and the ground seeds and blend again until it reaches the desired texture. Enjoy the drink!

Dandelion Coffee – make it at home!

Find unpolluted dandelion, organic if possible. For this recipe you will only need the roots of the plant. Wash the roots and cut them into small pieces. Let them dry naturally or in a dehydrator. If they have a lot of water, you may put them directly into a very low oven and lightly roast them in 1 to 1 ½ hours. When they are completely dry you can ground them in a coffee grinder. Store them in a jar with closed lid.

To make a cup of dandelion coffee take 2 heaped dessertspoons of the roots, grind them and then put in a saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Strain into a cup.  You can drink it black or add milk and honey.

Make Dandelion Pesto

You will need:

Leaves of dandelion, chickweed & parsley
2 cloves garlic
salt
2 T oil
1/2 cup macadamia nuts/peanuts
Process garlic, salt, add the nuts process again. Then add the leaves and oil. Process until the desired consistency, adding more oil if necessary. Decorate with dandelion flowers.

Enjoy it!