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LET IT GROW - Part 3: Dandelion

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LET IT GROW - Part 3: Dandelion

 

Parts used: young leaves, petals.

Dandelion greens may seem like little more than a common weed, sprouting up on lawns as one of the first sign of spring. Many people try to get rid of dandelions as they grow in your yards like uninvited guess, but the dandelion plant is actually a beneficial weed because it brings nutrients to the top of the soil, adding minerals and nitrogen to the soil.

Dandelion is an herb that is native to Europe. It is also found throughout mild climates of the northern hemisphere. The name dandelion comes from the French word dent-de-lion meaning “lion’s tooth”. The leaves of a dandelion flower are typically 5-25 centimeters long. The flower heads are a yellow to orange color. Same as daisy flower, they open in the daytime and stay closed at night. The leaves of dandelion are nutrient-rich, edible, and tasty. It is good source of minerals and vitamins, iron and magnesium, you can simply use their leaves and flower petals in salad.

Nutrition facts

Dandelion is rich in many nutrients yet low in calories.  It contains a good amount of fiber as well as vitamin K, vitamin A and C.

According to FoodData Central from USDA, one cup of chopped dandelion greens (55 grams) contains approximately:

  • 24.7 calories
  • 5.1 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.5 grams protein
  • 0.4 gram fat
  • 1.9 grams fiber
  • 428 micrograms vitamin K
  • 5,588 international units vitamin A
  • 19.3 milligrams vitamin C
  • 103 milligrams calcium
  • 1.7 milligrams iron
  • 1.9 milligrams vitamin E
  • 0.2 milligrams manganese
  • 0.41 milligrams Zinc
  • 0.171 milligrams copper

(Source from : https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-pp.html#/?query=ndbNumber:11207)

People use dandelion for conditions such as swelling (inflammation) of the tonsils (tonsillitis), infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs), and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

 

Benefit of Dandelion greens

Promote eye health: The vitamin A in the greens can fight against macular degeneration and support healthy eyes. (1)

Decrease water weight: Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production, prevent crystals from forming in the urine, and decrease swelling (inflammation) and help to drop water weight. (2)

Aid in weight loss: Dandelion greens are extremely low in calories, with just 25 calories in each cup. They also contain a good amount of fiber, which can help keep you feeling full. In addition to water weight, the greens are low in calories and have even been shown to inhibit fat absorption. One study also found that dandelion greens could inhibit fat absorption in a similar way to some weight loss drugs. It works by blocking the activity of pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat molecules in the body. (3)

Help to protect the liver: Like the root, the greens can prevent oxidative stress, inflammation and damage to the liver. A study in 2010 animal model showed that administering dandelion green extract can prevented oxidative damage and reduced inflammation and liver damage. (4)

Low triglycerides: triglycerides are a type of fat found in your bloodstream. Having high triglycerides in your blood is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

Boosts Skin Health: The milky white substance that you get on your fingers when you break a dandelion stem is actually great for your skin! The sap can be used to relieve itching or irritation from eczema, ringworm, psoriasis and other skin infections. In 2015, one research shows that dandelion leaf and flower extracts have been found to serve as potent protective agents against UVB damage and absorption. (5)

  

How to use dandelions green:

Dandelion greens and cilantro pesto.

 

Both ingredients are high in antioxidants, support detoxification and possess powerful antimicrobial properties. You can use this pesto as salad dressing or mix with pasta, potato and seafood. Remember to wash dandelion greens well with salt water and get rid of all dirt. Pick only the young, fresh, light green leaves, as more mature the leaves, the bitter it is.

  • 2 cups of cilantro including stems
  • ½ cup of dandelion green mix with roots
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 ½ lemon juice
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  1. Combine all ingredient in the bowl of a food processor
  2. Blend until smooth, adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

 

Dandelion green salad

 

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 300-400g dandelion greens, large leaves, roughly chopped

Combine garlic, lemon juice, salt and sugar well, drizzle in oil slowing while whisking until emulsified.

Place dandelion green in a salad plate, drizzle dressing over greens and toss well. Serve immediately.

 

Dandelion and burdock tonic

 

A tasty tradition sprint tonic to stimulate digestion

  • 150g fresh burdock root
  • 50g fresh dandelion root
  • 25g fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 liters spring water
  • 1.5-2kg unrefined sugar

Put the roots, ginger and water into a saucepan bring to boil, then reduce the heat, and cover to simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain the liquid and measure it into clean saucepan, measure every 1ml of liquid add 1g of sugar (for example, for 100ml of liquid add 100g of sugar)

Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickens.

Pour into sterilized bottle and label the dated.

Dilute with cold water to taste

Shelf life: one year for unopened bottle keep, once opened, store in the gridge and use within 2 months. If the liquid become moldy, discard immediately.

 

Side effects:

Dandelion greens could trigger an allergic reaction, causing serious side effects like redness, itching, swelling or digestive issues. If you experience these side effects after consumption, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.

Those who are taking blood thinners may also want to moderate their intake of green., as it is high in vitamin K that can impact blood clotting.

If your are taking lithium, be sure to talk to your doctor before intake this green as part of your diet.

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16380590

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19678785

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2788186/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20812277

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4630464/

 

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