Spring has finally sprung, and brings with it the stirring of growing things all around us. One of my favorite memories from childhood was seeing the big field across the street from our house transform from muddy, snow blotched thatch to lush green grass, suitable for barefoot games of tag and running bases with my friends. I also welcomed the appearance of the abundant yellow dandelions that seemed to shoot up overnight, and could never understand why the fathers in our neighborhood did battle to eradicate them in our lawns. Once again, it turns out that children's instincts can have a lot of merit—the dandelion that we were taught to consider a pesky weed is not only abundant and cheerfully bright, but (like many under-appreciated plant species) can be very good for us, too! As Europeans (and many southern American cooks) have long known, its flowers or greens can liven up a salad, be sauteed with garlic and savory spices, or simmered into a delectable soup.
Many healthful benefits are commonly attributed to the dandelion as well. Available in bulk as a dried root, in capsule form or as a tea, dandelion is rich in calcium and anti-oxidants, and its strong diuretic properties can help cleanse the kidneys and urinary system of toxins. Its disinfectant properties can also assist in deterring microbial growth.
Please note, if you are considering using dandelion or its extracts for medicinal purposes, make sure to inform your healthcare practitioner before doing so, to ensure there are no potential side effects or negative interactions with current medications or conditions.
The same holds true for any other plant-based or "natural" herbs, supplements, powders or pills. Many people mistakenly assume, because the majority of organic, non-manufactured, or homegrown remedies do not require a prescription, that they are harmless and can have no ill effects. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that many of these alternative, plant-based medicinals can be so effective in helping us to heal from a variety of ills is reason enough to learn and understand their properties and power. Any medicine, natural or manufactured, can have serious negative reactions or side effects if misused.
Some Dandelion Resource Links
- Health Benefits of Dandelion
- Mother Nature Network: Cream of Dandelion Soup
- Epicurious: Sauteed Dandelion Greens
“Speaking of Healthcare” is the official blog of Assured Healthcare Staffing. Please LIKE us on Facebook to receive health and wellness tips and more! Article by Kim Washetas, contributing writer and enthusiastic whole health advocate. Thank you to Mark Polson of Polson Natural Foods in Antioch, IL for his input on the forms in which dandelion is available for purchase.