Why are weeds weeds?
One herb I am surrounded by half of the year is the beautiful and alluring Dandelion. When I was younger, I remember picking dandelions and eating them even though they tasted bitter and weird (for a child). Fortunately for me, Dandelions are not poisonous. In fact, they are regarded as one of the most powerful herbs in North America. Originally from Europe, Dandelion was brought over to North America by early settlers who valued their beauty and medicinal properties. Dandelion now grows as a wild flower all over the United States and is often viewed as a nuisance.
Gigi Berardi, one of my favorite Huxley professors at Western required her classes have weekly potlucks every Friday. They needed to be "FLOSY" - fresh, local, organic, sustainable and yummy. It was even better if your dish was homemade and foraged. After one potluck she offered us a taste of her famous Dandelion wine. She had talked about it all quarter and we were finally getting a sample! It tasted sweet and unique and was a beautiful golden color. This is when I decided that Dandelion had much more potential that I had initially though. Throughout last Winter I purchased Dandelion roots for tea and decided that in the spring, I would forage my own Dandelions. My goal this year is to dry Dandelion roots, harvest leaves for salad greens, and even though it takes a lot of time and patience, I would like to make Dandelion wine. When I noticed how expensive the roots were at Radiance as well as the greens as the coop, I knew I needed to take advantage of this abundant herb!
Dandelion is specifically renowned for it's ability to store the kidneys and liver. It is also well known and effective for menstrual bloating, PMS, and breast tenderness that is associated with water retention. Dandelion offers a rich source of Vitamins A & C, iron, potassium, calcium and trace minerals. The leaves are considered one of the safest diuretics and are often used to support the kidneys and urinary tract. The root is specifically used for the liver, digestive upsets, and gallbladder issues. It has also been used to regulate and normalize female hormone production. Both the roots and leaves are considered restorative and adaptogenic aids to the body.
My Spring Equinox salad with freshly foraged baby dandelion greens.
Rosemary Gladstar's Liver Tonic tea, Dandelion root being the main ingredient.